Jeffrey A. Becker deposited Rome’s Augustan “rebirth”: from bricks to marble on Humanities Commons 2 months, 1 week ago
This course provides a detailed examination of the life and administration of the Roman emperor Augustus (reigned 31 B.C. to A.D. 14), a time of pivotal social and economic change that forever altered the trajectory of Roman history. Augustus and his administration will be examined from a variety of viewpoints, drawing on a rich dataset that includes literature, art, architecture, epigraphy, and ritual practice. The course will seek to understand how the relatively obscure young man who succeeded Julius Caesar aimed to repair and stabilize a society wracked by civil war and, in so doing, redirect the nature of the Roman state and of Roman citizenship. Detailed examination of programs of art, architecture, and urbanism will reveal the part played by material culture in crafting and maintaining an “Augustan program”, while close reading of poetry and prose sources produced with patronage from the emperor will allow a consideration of culture identity as constructed under Augustus. The success of the Augustan program exerted a strong influence on other imperial programs in antiquity, as well as influencing modern and postmodern ideas about leadership, authority, and the state. To that end, the course will conclude by considering the reception of the Augustan program in antiquity and beyond, including the co-option of Augustan themes in the twentieth century.