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Augustus in der Hirtenwelt

Die Darstellung des idealen Herrschers in der neulateinischen Bukolik

Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Author: Lajos Zoltán Simon

In the early modern age, pastoral poetry became a current genre of the praise of rulers, kings and emperors. In spite of its overwhelming richness and contemporaneous importance, this branch of the bucolic genre has received relatively little attention from researchers. Even in comprehensive works on the history of the genre, one often finds hasty remarks, e.g. that these panegyric poems were foremost influenced by Vergil’s Eclogue 4.

The present paper offers a short overview of the immense diversity of the genre, paying great attention not only to Vergil, but also to the decisive influence of Calpurnius Siculus, Sannazaro and Baptista Mantuanus, as well as to the techniques of the Kreuzung der Gattungen, mainly to the interaction between pastoral and epic poetry. The analysis shows that, in spite of the huge variety of forms and the large distances in time and space, the image of the ideal emperor is surprisingly constant, and that the picture of the mythical Golden Age is almost completely drawn with the motives of the idealized reign of Augustus taken from epic poetry.

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It is widely agreed that Augustus dealt with the festival Lupercalia. However, the evidence about his intervention is scanty and discussable; in addition, both the reconstruction of the celebration and an outline of its historical development are almost impossible tasks. Nevertheless, ancient authors agree on placing the origins of the Lupercalia in the furthest antiquity, at the beginning of the town or at the beginning of mankind. Coherently, the descriptions which they provide suggest that the festival aimed at a temporary and ritually controlled regress to the primeval savagery. Therefore, the involvement of Augustus in the (re-)organization of the Lupercalia results to be consistent with his programmatic connection to Romulus, the founder. In fact, the representations of the pre-civic world at the festival and in the Augustan poetry (especially by Virgil) are consonant. It is worth noting that Lupercalia were celebrated for centuries after Augustus. It is possible to infer that the regress into the wild primeval world was essential to Roman identity, just like the stories about the founder. Since a festival Louperkalion was held in Constantinople, it can be supposed that Lupercalia were one of the identitary symbols that the second Rome chose as heritage from the first one.

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We found in the work in prose and verse of Sidonius Apollinaris (5th century) a few number of brief allusions to Augustus, and it comes to him in detail in the preface of Majorien’s Panegyric (Poems IV) and, indirectly, in the dedicatory poem of the same Panegyric (Poems III). We here consider for what purpose Sidonius refers to Augustus, how he is presented, and what are the qualities that are highlighted. It appears that his relations with Virgil and Horace represent an ideal relationship between the poets and the power that Sidonius wants to give as an example.

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The campaigns of Augustus in the Carpathian basin, connected with the occupation of Pannonia (Illyricum) have been discussed in many papers. The general was Tiberius, but also a Vinicius and Cornelius Lentulus are mentioned in the sources. Many different and controversial solutions have been proposed for the chronology, the extension and the process of the wars. After having summarized the different proposals again this paper returns to one of them which has on the basis of the newer observations the highest probability.

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In 13 BC, Augustus returned to Rome from a lengthy tour of the western provinces, just as Agrippa returned from the East. All conditions had been readied to present to the Roman people the establishment of Agrippa as the new partner of Augustus’ labours after a multi-year build up, culminating in the Ara Pacis ceremony at which Agrippa co-presided. However, to those watching the political slogans and headlines of the Roman mint, the Ara Pacis ceremony and Agrippa’s prominent role therein did not bring news, for the coinage of 13 boldly proclaims Agrippa as if he were second princeps by advertizing his enhanced status and by highlighting his accomplishments beyond the level ever provided for any of Augustus’ other colleagues, including his eventual successor, Tiberius (whose own enhancement of powers after AD 4 was modeled upon the precedent of Agrippa).

The coinage of 13 BC represents a break from the recent general pattern in that it broke up Augustus’ quasi-regal domination of the mint, and it sent out two simultaneous and compatible messages. Firstly, and more specifically, the imagery informed the Roman public as do newspaper headlines today of the elevation of Agrippa as Augustus’ legal equal, showing that Rome was no monarchy. The Roman mint alternated between standard issues for certain messages and new images for others, including escalation of the status of Agrippa.

The year 13 provided several occasions to raise the status of Agrippa, a novus homo. Agrippa was offered a third triumph, which he again refused. He received a new priesthood(s). His tribunician power was renewed for five years, as was that of Augustus. And at the Ara Pacis ceremony, Agrippa shared equal credit for pacifying the Empire in a ceremony that may have included closing the Gates of Janus. Much of this information comes to us not just from textual evidence, but also the archeological record. The coinage of 13 informs us of the regime’s official statements and the Ara Pacis itself shows the veiled Augustus at the head of the Pontifical College and the veiled Agrippa completing the Pontifical College and starting the imperial family as a demonstration of his integral role in the state, although tragically his life would end before the Ara Pacis was completed, leaving it to be a monument of a vision of the future Augustus was never able to achieve.

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Four bronze cows by Myron, the Athenian sculptor, stood in front of Apollo’s temple on the Palatine hill, which Octavian dedicated in 28 BCE. They were placed close to the altar and the statue of this god, in the courtyard of the temple, whose portico was decorated with statues of the 50 daughters of Danaus. The meaning of those statues is clarified by a passage from Pausanias, who tells the story of Danaus coming to Argos and claiming kingship for himself, even if in competition with Gelanor. Suddendly a herd of cows appeared in front of the city, led by a bull. A wolf challenged him, fought, won, and became the leader of the herd. This omen pointed at Danaus as the chosen one for kingship, and he had thus a temple to Apollo built as a thanksgiving to the author of the prodigy. This was an evident comparison to the story of Octavian himself, who won the competition for political leadership in Rome thanks to Apollo.

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1 Paper given on the Symposium Veronense, “The Age of Augustus” , on the 21st June, 2014, Gazzo Veronese. Special acknowledgement to Prof. Patricia Johnston, whose comments and suggestions have improved this piece immeasurably. Any errors

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The concise history of Rome, covering the 700 years from Romulus until Augustus and composed by an author with the cognomen Florus, is ranked since the Renaissance among the most often printed and most widely read ancient Latin prose works. But whereas this small work was until now commonly supposed to have been written by a “L. Annaeus” oder “P. Annius” Florus during the age of the emperor Trajan (or even later), the present article — based on four essays I have published already more than 20 years ago — demonstrates that almost the entire work was originally composed by a contemporary of Augustus, most likely by the same Iulius Florus to whom Horace addressed two famous letters (I 3 and II 2). We must, indeed, distinguish between two different versions of this work, namely on the one hand the genuine text edited by Iulius Florus, whose name appears as the author in the very important Codex Bambergensis (9th century), immediately after the consecration of the deceased Augustus (17 Sept. 14), and on the other hand a second edition prepared by an anonymous redactor in the era of Trajan (98–117), which was considered a revival of the Golden Age of Augustus; in addition, some further editions appeared later in the second century. All these new editions of Iulius Florus’s work contain just two crucial differences from his original text, namely two short interpolations in Iulius Florus’s preface: the short colon ut postea velut consenuerit, inserted into § 4, and the last sentence (§ 8), added to the original preface. Both interpolations, however, stand in marked contrast to the entire context of Florus’s composition. The main purpose of my article is, therefore, a reconstruction of the original form of Iulius Florus’s historical work, which contained not four or two books (as it is now generally assumed), but only one book, presented as a brevis tabella or breviarium of Roman history.

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Suetonius describes the lives of Caesars according to categories such as antecedents, birth, career, achievements, morals, religion, appareance, and death. In my paper I examine the function of religion in The Deified Augustus of Suetonius. Firstly I list the places where phenomena concerning religion appear. Then I analyse the attitude of Augustus towards religions; e.g. he took dreams very seriously, and regarded certain auspices and omens as infallible. Suetonius treats the religious beliefs of Augustus long because he regards them as very important. Augustus wanted to enhance the sacred character of his principate, therefore he acquired membership in several priesthoods.

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1 I would like to thank the organizers (Patricia Johnston, Attilio Mastrocinque, and Sophia Papaioannou) of the Symposium Veronese on the Age of Augustus held on June 18–20, 2014 for the opportunity to participate and to thank all those

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