Propaganda in Death: The Long Lasting Effects of Augustus...
PLUS the Classical Wisdom Litterae Magazine - Age of Augustus
Dear Classical Wisdom Member,
Right now in Tbilisi, Georgia, there is no one in the restaurants. Cool, highly rated spots are everywhere… and yet… empty? No matter what time of day we go, we’ve yet to need a reservation.
I kept thinking to myself, how could there be so many cool wine bars - featuring the local 500+ varieties they have in this country - if there are no patrons?
My mystery was solved when we went to rent a car.
“Everyone is in the mountains” our friendly mate explained while giving our daughter an empty bottle of wine dressed up in a Chokha, a traditional Georgian medieval outfit:
“After all, it’s August! Everyone takes off.”
Sometimes the best way to appreciate the full extent of the Roman Empire is to travel in August. If no one is working, if the cities are empty, then there’s a good chance the Romans once ruled those lands.
Taking the month off is surely one of the best holdovers from the ancient world, one that still seems somehow… sacred. Perhaps that’s because it’s so practical, so humane, and so popular!
Perhaps then it comes as no surprise that the two ancient kingdoms of Georgia – Colchis and Iberia – were under Roman control between the 1st century BC and the 7th century AD. The Roman campaigns of Pompey and Lucullus in 65 BC destroyed the Kingdom of Pontus (which included ancient Colchis), while Iberia was invaded and became a vassal state of the empire.
But let’s get back to the reason for the season… Augustus himself. Today we’ll look at Augustus’ brilliant move to cement his legacy (beyond just taking August off)…in his death.
Please enjoy this in-depth article by Ben Potter (who we recently ran into here in Tbilisi) on the Mausoleum of Augustus, below.
Please note! This article comes from the just released Classical Wisdom Litterae Magazine on the Age of Augustus. Also included are:
The First Emperor's selected holiday spot,
The triumphant battle that determined history: Actium,
His Morality laws that came back to bite him,
How Rome went from a Republic to an Empire,
And much more...
Classical Wisdom Members, you can find this magazine at the end of this article.. or access it directly here.
All the best,
Founder and Director
The Mausoleum of Augustus: Propaganda in Death
By Ben Potter
The story of Augustus (née Octavian) is one of those tales from the classical world familiar even to those whom do not routinely ‘leave the phenomenal world, and enter into the sublime’.
Though we’re all well aware of the impressive résumé of the protagonist of HBO’s Rome, let’s quickly recap a few of his highlights:
– Claims descent from the Trojan prince Aeneas and the goddess Venus
– Adopted son and heir of the murdered then deified Julius Caesar
– Avenged said father with the help of swaggering ladies’ man Marc Antony
– Defeated said philanderer and his Egyptian girlfriend, Cleopatra, for control of The Greatest Empire the World has Ever Known (TM)
Pretty impressive stuff. But what then? Prosperity, expansion, peace, stability, wealth, high morality, art, literature, incredible public services and, perhaps most importantly, a constant supply of food are but some of the boasts the princeps could make from his tenure as emperor.
But this is small fry… it seems clear that Augustus had big plans for himself, and indeed for Rome’s future. Plans that would only truly take seed on 19th August 14 AD – the date on which Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus’ long and illustrious life finally came to an end.
What came next was Augustus’ crowning glory; deification and a hand-picked succession.
In the first part, deification cemented the emperor’s position as not merely one of the greatest men to have ever lived, but as something more: something eternal, ethereal, indissoluble and, literally, supernatural.
The second part gave Augustus what had been denied to that Macedonian meteorite, Alexander the Great:
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