History – Rome under Augustus

History – Rome under Augustus

Rome under Augustus

In this article we will see: “Rome under Augustus”, history, the chronicle of human civilization, serves as a window to the past, illuminating the triumphs, struggles, and evolution of societies over millennia. Through the study of historical events, we unravel the complexities of our collective heritage and gain insight into the forces shaping our present and future.

Summary : History – Rome under Augustus

In the era of Augustus, Rome experienced a cultural renaissance amidst social and moral contradictions. This period saw the rise of literary giants like Virgil and Ovid, whose works shaped the fabric of Western literature. However, alongside artistic brilliance, societal decadence flourished, as evidenced by the frivolous pursuits of the elite and the erosion of traditional values.

Augustus, navigating the complexities of power, sought to uphold Roman virtues while grappling with the realities of a changing society. Through the lens of literature and societal norms, this essay delves into the multifaceted dynamics of Roman life during the Augustan age.

History – Rome under Augustus

Augustus had personal reasons for promoting Virgil’s work. He hoped that the Aeneid would remind people that courage, not ease, had earned them their fortune. He was dismayed to see how short their memory was. He chuckled a bit when Livy tried to revive dormant patriotism by writing a truthful history of Rome from Romulus to Augustus. This humble account spanned no fewer than one hundred and forty-two volumes! Romans greatly enjoyed the Aeneid, and some took their love of history so far as to read Livy’s work. Yet, they did not forsake their comfortable lifestyle.

Indeed, Augustus had to face the sad truth: parents were no longer teaching their children strict Roman discipline. They mocked traditions, forgot their ancestors, and neglected the gods. For most people, the ancient idea of the family with the pater familias at the helm seemed utterly ridiculous. It even became a subject of mockery.

Flirtatious women collected lovers like parvenus collected statues. They turned love into a sort of competition. Catullus, a young man who arrived in Rome during Caesar’s time, didn’t quite understand the rules of this game at first. Apparently, his heart was capable of loving only once. When he met Clodia, one of Rome’s most magnificent women, he was breathless and decided it was a sign of a great and eternal passion.

Unfortunately, Catullus was very young and not well-known. Conversely, Clodia was ten years older and counted among her friends the most important figures in the city. Despite this awful handicap, Catullus found the courage to send a poem to Clodia, who read the poetry and didn’t get angry. She even fell in love with him in return. Catullus was on cloud nine. Alas! After some time, Clodia fell in love with someone else. Catullus fell from his rosy clouds.

So, to ease his heart a little and vent his bile, he started writing poems again, sad and bitter this time, though still full of love. Only the Greek poet Sappho, before him, had been able to craft such moving poetry. In Augustus’s time, however, the young men arriving from the provinces were a bit more astute than those in Caesar’s time. Almost all of them knew the rules of the game of love very well.

And those lacking in practice could learn by reading the verses of Ovid, who was unparalleled in giving good advice in an eminently poetic form. If he had lived in our time, there’s no doubt this rascal would have published a remarkable “Manual for the Perfect Seducer”. Ovid’s book (in three volumes) titled “The Art of Love” consisted of a series of small erotic poems, elegantly crafted.

The first volume indicates “How to find her”, the second “How to get her”, and the third “How to keep her”. Some chapters were reserved for women: “How to conquer him”. Later, Ovid published a sequel “How to get rid of her!”, Where “her” could mean both “her” and “him”. In short, his work was highly instructive and addressed to all. Romans, men and women, relished it to the fullest. They read Ovid’s verses giggling, nudging each other, exchanging knowing winks.

Outraged, Augustus exiled the poet far from Rome for having the audacity to write such lewd things. All embarrassed, poor Ovid sailed off to a small town on the shores of the Black Sea. This sea was exactly the color of his thoughts. He felt lonely and a little lost. Wisely, he decided to never write a word about love again and worked to finish a big book full of stories: “The Metamorphoses”.

He brought old myths back to life, including that of Narcissus (who spent so many hours admiring his face in the mirror of a pond that the gods turned him into a flower) and that of King Midas who turned everything he touched into gold.

Meanwhile, Augustus enacted new laws to limit citizens’ expenses and preserve good morals. It can’t be said he was inspired by doing so. He didn’t teach the Romans to behave better or save their money. He simply taught them to conceal: the inhabitants of Rome, without changing their way of life, just took great care not to get caught!

Last word about : History – Rome under Augustus

The Augustan age stands as a testament to the intricate interplay between cultural vibrancy and societal challenges in ancient Rome. Despite the brilliance of literary luminaries like Virgil and Ovid, the era was marked by moral ambiguity and societal decay. Augustus’s attempts to navigate these complexities reflect the enduring struggle to reconcile tradition with change.

As Rome entered a new chapter of its history, the legacy of the Augustan age remained indelibly etched in the annals of Western civilization, serving as a poignant reminder of the complexities inherent in the pursuit of cultural and societal renewal.

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