- Series: The Centers of Civilization Series ; V. 5
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (May 15, 1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806109564
- ISBN-13: 978-0806109565
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,635,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rome in the Augustan Age (The Centers of Civilization Series ; V. 5)
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About the Author
Henry Thompson Rowell is professor of Latin and chairman of the Department of Classics in Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, A native of Stamford, Connecticut, he took his degrees, including the PhD., at Yale University, He is the editor and reviser of Carcopino's Daily Life in Ancient Rome, and on four occasions has directed the summer session of the American Academy in Rome.
Top customer reviews
The chapter on Religion, Morals, and Ideas is worth the price alone. My estimation of Augustus has risen immeasurably as you we see when you finish this clear, concise, and easy to read historical textbook. Three thumbs up!
Like most successful leaders, Augustus was able to achieve political success by convincing most of the Roman polity that he was restoring institutions of the past. In reality what he had restored monarchical government, a system as odious to the Romans as it would be to 21st century Americans. One of the great moments of early Roman history as described by Livy was the exile of the Tarquin kings and the establishment of a republic. While the Romans wallowed in the civic virtues of "republican government" modern societies would not recognize it as anything of the sort. It was, and remained, an oligarchy in which the aristocratic element managed to fool the lower orders into believing they had more of a role to play in the government than they did. Voting was done by assemblies of Roman citizens and carried out by tribes. The older and more established the tribe, regardless of the numbers in them, got to vote first. The head count, the last and largest of the tribes in terms of numbers of members, voted last if it voted at all under Roman rules. The only time ordinary people had a voice in the political life was when it rioted.
What Augustus did was to revitalize tradition institutions, like the senate, to restore temples and religious practices that had fallen into obscurity, as well as bringing former anti-Caesarians into the government. He was the restorer of the past and the promoter of stability. All the while he ruled while observing the forms of the republic while inventing the imperial tradition. It is noteworthy that the members of the old senate class who wrote the histories that dismissed most of the emperors as tyrants, generally portray Augustus in positive terms.
The book is very strong on a number of points. First and foremost are the ways in which the various classes interacted with each other, these were the aristocratic class, the knights, ordinary people (to include former slaves) and slaves themselves. The economic dynamic is also examined, urban land speculation and money lending were the basis of more than a few fortunes during the Augustine age.
The Augustine age was also a highly cultured one. The theater had reached its pinnacle during the second century BC with the comedies of Plautus, but Virgil, Horace and Ovid were very much a part of the scene. Augustus knew each of them. Virgil was very much a respected figure and Horace a friend. Ovid was banished because of his involvement with the sexual intrigues of Julia, the daughter of Augustus. Augustus was a great builder who supposedly found Rome a city of brick and left it one of marble.
This is an excellent history and well worth reading if one wishes to see why the Augustan age is so fondly recalled to this day.