This paper argues that the Augustan period witnessed a dramatic reconception of Roman religion—a reconception that played a vital role in the emperor's efforts to create a unified sense of identity that included both Romans and Italians. Instead of a religion of place tied to specific historical developments, both Virgil in the Aeneid and Augustus in his rebuilding of the eighty-two temples emphasized religious practices ordained by a single authoritative figure and connected to pre-Roman Italy. The reconstruction program reshaped Roman memory as well as the physical city, because Roman temples served not only as religious sites, but also as monuments in which Roman memories and Roman history resided. This reordering of Roman topographical and chronological space thus linked Roman identity not to the history of expansionist Rome over the previous 500 years, but rather to Augustan Rome and its fuller inclusiveness of Italy.


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pp. 73-92
Launched on MUSE
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