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znra251

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  1. znra251

    Augustus Ideaology

    whilst this is certainly true one should not overlook the monastic and indeed dynastic elements to augustus' physical propaganda. Within the Forum Augusti for example whilst the imagery of aeneas and romulus does, to an extent convey a basis of Augustus' auctoritas it is far an open signal of power, like these two former kings augustus possesses great virtues to rule. also, the mausoleum ot tummulus julium was quite simply a massive display of power desinged to eclipse all other monuments. so whilst augustan ideology on physical monuments is in part a reflection of the auctoritas basis which so many scholars emphasise one should overemphasise this. After all, while auctoritas is mentioned in the Res Gestae at the expense of imperium (in general) Augustus actully celebrated 29 months worth of victory games and celebration for victories won by his imperium. thus, the monuments are part of a living environment, which the observer effectively interacts with and whilst to use these images might convey auctoritas to a roman particpant the other themese of personal power, imperium and personal glory might come through much more than we would think. (cf. Elsner Cult and sculpture in the Ara Pacis JRS 81 1991
  2. znra251

    Levying Legions

    i think the answer lies in the fact that there is a common misconception that the senate had powers in this area which it simply did not. the senate's only power, outside that of a consultative body, was in relation to religion. The ability to levy troops was intrinsicly linked in the republic and empire to the possession of Imperium. cf Jones Imperium of Augustus in JRS some time ago. The only people at rome who possessed imperium were the elected magistrates, the consuls and perhaps the praetors. These were the only two people who were legally allowed to levy troops. cf Linnot The Constitution of the Roman Republic Thus ceasar was able to levy legions as dictator which carried imperium (normally 24 lictors, symbolising the imperium of both consuls) and the senate, without imperium was not able to. i think there is something about the number of such legions in Keppie's Making of the Roman Army, which is well worth a read
  3. znra251

    The Arval Brethren

    i would be inclined to suggest that Augustus revives the Arval brethren for slightly different reasons. Obviously it does fit in with his general claims to be a pious restorer of roman religion, but one does wonder why the Fratres Arvales? they were an obscure cult (only recored once by varro in a treatise on literature, from what i remember) surely many far more important revivals were carried out, and some far more important in roman terms, like the bizare flamen dialis the fratre arvales were essentially turned into a college of very high status under Augustus, and allowed honours to be given out to his supporters who might not otherwise be 'socially eligible' for a higher priesthood. in essence they serve the same purpose as the augustales in the provinces and the vicimagistri at Rome, they allow for social inclussion of groups who would otherwise be slightly outside the new order and aim to create a network of loyal and eligbible subjects to help in the running of the empire. Also worth noting is how under Augustus they fratres arvales take on a number of new roles celebrating festivals related to the imperial family. cf Price CAH X 2nd ed.
  4. znra251

    Would Augustus Have Persecuted Christians?

    yes, but it was only an issue in the sense that it allowed suspected christians to prove they were a 'good pious roman.' It was never required of the ordinary citizens en mass until Decius, so it is only really an issue to those denounced as christians. At this point one needs to consider far more the reasons why someone would be locally denounced. the swearing of oaths to the emperor was something which many christians could do, and did. it really depends on what the oath in itself was, a simple oath to the emperor's genius under augustus should have posed no problems, as well into late antiquity christians still percieved a variety of intermediate figures between man and god, genius being one of the. cf. P.Brown- cult of saints Thus the oath would only be a problem if it was to the emperor's personal divinity, something which was never asserted during the Augustan period (in public/state religion anyway, although some private religious imagery does assert this link, eg Gemmae Augustae. Also, the ability to swear an oath to the emperor was a way of avoiding the charges brought, just as demonstrating that your accuser was lying or it wasn't true for many other reasons. If one accepts the flagitia accusations as the basis for persecution then simply disprove the existance of flagitia and no oath would need to be taken. A.N. Sherwin-White is in part responsible for this idea of the oath and the rejection of imperial/magisterial power leading to persecutions, but i personally feel his theory based on the contumacia of the christians fails to account for the initial act of denouncement. After all, if the christians were not to be hunted out as Trajan replies to Pliny then why would they be infront of the provincial governor? it required an accusation, which can not be because they wouldn't swear the oath, because they were only asked once accused. Interestingly, given the provincia assinged to Augustus in 27BC he might have avoided most of the ares where christian persecution generally occured, although it does crop up in most places at one point or another. It seems unlikely he would have excercised his maius imperium proconsularae to intervene in 'senatorial' provinces on this topic.
  5. znra251

    Augustus's Later Years

    the image of augustus was fairly static from around the 20's BC because it was not meant to be a physical representation of Octavian/Augustus. It is an idealised face which represents virtues and divine destiny to rule. compare the earlier sculptures of Augustus in the Alexander pose with those of him later and the decline of physical realism can be noted
  6. znra251

    Would Augustus Have Persecuted Christians?

    i would disagree with this, because although augustus was certainly not have persecuted christians. Imperial led persecutions are a product of a particular set of circumstances in the mid 3rd century, which lead under the emperor Decius to organised persecutions (cf. J.Rives, The Decree of Decius and the Religion of Empire JRS 1999). Thus, their inability to swear an oath to the emperor would not have been a problem as this was not required until this point. (Augustus' oath prior to actium lacks religious content) and at no point during his reign were any religious activities required towards the emperor, although many were offered. As for this issue of christianity being a threat because it was an exclusive religion this has some truth but one must then ask why the jews escaped persecution on the same scale. Also, this is really a point about personal feeling, refered to in latin as pietas. This inward feeling towards religions is replaced in the middle of the third century by a different idea of religion, focused on outward conformity, in latin religio as a result of this shift their is a perceptable fear that the failure to properly observe cult practice could lead to harm which was not present in the Augustan period. (really a development from caracalla's grant of citizenship.) Under Augustus, with the prevailing attitude of pietas the comunity would not have become so likely to play ball with persecutions and as such they would have to be directed for a more personal reason, note nero and the fire! i would say that under augustus the idea of persecuting christians would appear irrelevant, after all, these people were not citizens, they could not harm the pax deorum and as such were surely pointless (from a Roman perspective) An interesting question would be whether Augustus in Decius' shoes would have launched persecutions? would he have seen more subtle ways to break a potential Persian 3rd column with the christians
  7. znra251

    Constantine and Christianity

    Guys that was BEFORE he became Christianized. God came to him in a dream to tell him to make his nation Christian. If God came to him to spread the word, why would he in turn spread paganism. Remember he was Orthodox not Catholic. He was strict and before a battle prayed to God to give him a victory, and he did. I'm pretty sure after that he destroyed pagan temples, not created them. on this topic what one really must remember is that when constantine was founding his great 'christian' city of Constantinople he had a parade of pagan imagery carried through the town and distributed in its temples, and he also had a pagan philosopher/priest mark the outline of the city before constuction began. As for the idea often expressed that these pagan statues were simply to be mocked, as Eusebius suggests, this really is a poor explanation, after all, it seems illogical that all those who planned to inhabit the new great city would be christians. After all, the major period of christian growth occurs in the mid to late 4th century. cf Stark, Rise of Christianity for numerical estimates. Also, Constantine continued to use pagan imagery well after his conversion and this would suggest that his conversion is best considered in a Roman context and not in the context of more modern christian conversion. note the pagan imagery on the arch of constantine and continuing use of solar imagery on imperial coinage. cf. R.MacMullen, Christianising the Roman Empire and Christianity and paganism in the fourth to eighth centuries and Jones in Constantine and the conversion of Europe puts forwards a good case for constantine converting in a way which we often take out of context. essentially suggesting constantine converted to christianity within a pagan framework of religion
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