Augustus of Primaporta: Propaganda for Ancient Rome’s First Emperor

Augustus invoked the power of imagery to communicate his ideology. Heading Today, politicians think very carefully about how they will be photographed. Think about all the campaign commercials and print ads we are bombarded with every election season. These images tell us a lot about the candidate, including what they stand for and what agendas[…]

The Ara Pacis Augustae: State Religious Ritual in Ancient Rome

The Ara Pacis is, at its simplest, an open-air altar for blood sacrifice associated with the Roman state religion. The Roman State Religion in a Microcosm The festivities of the Roman state religion were steeped in tradition and ritual symbolism. Sacred offerings to the gods, consultations with priests and diviners, ritual formulae, communal feasting—were all[…]

From Octavian to Augustus: A Republic Ends Itself in a Power-Grab

Octavian decided he could not simply give up his authority without risking further civil wars amongst the Roman generals. Introduction Augustus (Latin: IMPERATOR CAESAR DIVI FILIVS AVGVSTVS) (September 23, 63 B.C.E. – 14 C.E.), known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, for the period of his life prior to 27 B.C.E., was the first and among[…]

The End of the Roman Republic: Yielding Freedom to Autocracy

Augustus framed his autocratic takeover and control of the Roman state as a sort of democratic act. In 22 BC a series of political and economic crises buffeted the regime of Augustus, Rome’s first emperor. Augustus had won control of Rome’s Mediterranean empire in 30 BC after nearly two decades of civil conflicts, but his[…]

Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’ as Augustan Totalitarian Propaganda in Ancient Rome

The Aeneid was written to praise Augustus by drawing parallels between him and the protagonist, Aeneas. Introduction The Aeneid has been analyzed by scholars of several different generations and schools of thought to try to determine the political commentary that Virgil had hoped to portray. The major schools of thought include the overarching idea that[…]

Marcus Agrippa: Number Two to Augustus in Ancient Imperial Rome

Because is inseparably linked with Augustus with little known about him, Agrippa’s story will always be told side-by-side with Augustus. By Jesse SifuentesHistorian Introduction Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (l. 64/62 – 12 BCE) was Augustus’ (r. 27 BCE – 14 CE) most trusted and unshakably loyal general and his right-hand man in the administration of the city[…]

The ‘Aeneid’ as a Commentary on Augustus

An analysis of the Aeneid and the extent to which it can be taken as a commentary on Augustus’ reign. By Maddy V-T The Aeneid is the major work attributed to the poet Virgil, and is widely considered as a valuable source to people wanting to study the Romans and their literature. Personally, I find[…]

The Propaganda of Octavian and Mark Antony’s Civil War

Their shaky alliance would steadily deteriorate, each of them waging a war of pernicious propaganda. By Jesse SifuentesHistorian Introduction Propaganda played an important role in Octavian (l. 63 BCE – 14 CE) and Mark Antony’s (l. 83 – 30 BCE) civil war, and once victorious at the Battle of Actium (31 BCE), Octavian returned home[…]

The Battle of Actium: Birth of an Empire after Octavian’s Defeat of Antony

The came about, at least in part, due to the dynamics in the relationship between three forceful personalities: Octavian, Antony, and Cleopatra. Introduction The battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BCE concluded the Second Macedonian War (200-197 BCE) and consolidated Rome’s power in the Mediterranean, finally resulting in Greece becoming a province of Rome in 146[…]

‘Res Gestae Divi Augusti’: The Narcissism and Propaganda of Augustus, Rome’s First Emperor

The Res Gestae was a unique public relations move for the first emperor of the Roman Empire, whose political career was in many ways experimental. Introduction Res Gestae Divi Augusti (Eng. The Deeds of the Divine Augustus) is the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, giving a first-person record of his life and accomplishments.[1] The Res Gestae is especially significant because it[…]

Augustus: An Unmatched Grip on Power in the History of Rome

Forty-five years of unopposed rule seems an unlikely feat for any ruler in Roman history. By Edelia Corona After a civil war that lasted thirteen years, treachery, and chaos, Rome finally had an emperor it could count on. Rome’s first emperor was born as Gaius Octavius in 63 B.C.E. His family was unlike any other[…]

Pietas Religio: Augustus and Religion

Something very important to note about Augustus and his political, societal and religious views is the significant amount of propaganda in his work. Introduction One way that Augustus showed Pietas religio, is through the building program. This is done in a fashion that ended up paying off brilliantly for Augustus, securing his name in the history[…]