- Purchase/rental options available:
Romans experience a dramatic shift in awareness about the physical space of their empire in the age of Augustus. More than simply apprehending the extent of the world that was theirs, Romans under Augustus exhibit a "mapping impulse," an urge for ordering space, demarcating empire, counting people and resources. The propensity for controlling space reverberates in all contexts of public life—political, social, cultural, economic. This paper explores a literary context of the Augustan cultural preoccupation with space, taking the story of Vertumnus and Pomona in Metamorphoses 14, together with the (connected) story of Iphis and Ianthe in Metamorphoses 9, as a case-study. I argue that these narratives too participate in the "mapping impulse," revealing in their fantasies about firmly delineated gender categories one literary instance of the concern with space, the desire for wholeness, order and fixed boundaries so pervasive under Augustus.