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Imperium and Cosmos

Augustus and the Northern Campus Martius

Paul Rehak; Edited by John G. Younger

Publication Year: 2006

Caesar Augustus promoted a modest image of himself as the first among equals (princeps), a characterization that was as popular with the ancient Romans as it is with many scholars today. Paul Rehak argues against this impression of humility and suggests that, like the monarchs of the Hellenistic age, Augustus sought immortality—an eternal glory gained through deliberate planning for his niche in history while flexing his existing power. Imperium and Cosmos focuses on Augustus’s Mausoleum and Ustrinum (site of his cremation), the Horologium-Solarium (a colossal sundial), and the Ara Pacis (Altar to Augustan Peace), all of which transformed the northern Campus Martius into a tribute to his major achievements in life and a vast memorial for his deification after death.

Rehak closely examines the artistic imagery on these monuments, providing numerous illustrations, tables, and charts. In an analysis firmly contextualized by a thorough discussion of the earlier models and motifs that inspired these Augustan monuments, Rehak shows how the princeps used these on such an unprecedented scale as to truly elevate himself above the common citizen.       

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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pp. vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xv

Every generation finds its own Augustus. On the eve of World War II, Sir Ronald Syme reinvigorated the field of Augustan studies with his groundbreaking work The Roman Revolution (1939), which contextualized the first emperor against the fascist and totalitarian regimes that were coming to dominate Europe....


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pp. xvii-xxiv

Genealogical Charts

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pp. xxvi-xxvii

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1.Brick into Marble Metaphor and Reality

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pp. 3-8

In a well-known and frequently quoted encomium on the achievements of Augustus, the imperial biographer Suetonius recorded that the first princeps had transformed Rome from a city of brick to one of marble: “Since the city...

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2.Field of Dreams The Campus Martius

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pp. 9-30

The Augustan building projects in the northern Campus Martius took place against a complex background of architectural, political, and social developments in this area of Rome (Castagnoli 1948; Gros...

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3.Last Things First Ustrinum and Mausoleum

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pp. 31-61

In the decade and a half between the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 and his own triple triumph of 29, Octavian undertook relatively little public building in Rome of an official nature: the final phases of the Civil Wars, punctuated by short,...

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4.Visualizing the Invisible The Horologium-Solarium

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pp. 62-95

Nearly twenty years after construction of the Mausoleum had begun, a new structure was laid out in the northern Campus Martius between the Mausoleum and the Ustrinum: the Horologium-Solarium, a giant sundial that used a red granite obelisk imported from Egypt as its...

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5.Gateway to History The Ara Pacis Augustae

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pp. 96-137

Shortly after the celebration of the Secular Games in 17 and the adoption of Gaius and Lucius Caesar, Augustus and Agrippa both left Rome for an extended period. Between 16 and 13, the princeps was occupied in settling affairs...

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6.Imperium and Cosmos

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pp. 138-146

In 2 BCE Augustus turned sixty and embarked on his final consulship. That age was another climacteric in the ancient world (Pompey had died at sixty; Plutarch Pomp. 79.4). A number of important events took place in that...

Works Cited

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pp. 149-193

Index of Ancient Sources

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pp. 195-202

General Index

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pp. 203-222

E-ISBN-13: 9780299220136
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299220143

Publication Year: 2006