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Classics Notes Nov. 14th

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University of Toronto St. George
Adriana Brook

Augusts’ Official Powers: -Consul annually from 31 BCE onwards -Comes to power in 31 BCE. Also in 31 BCE is battle of Actium -27 BCE renounces all official powers to the senate -23 BCE renounces official powers again, the senate grants “maius imperium”, consular and tribuncian powers -12 BCE Pontifex Maximus -Decides to market himself as “restoring the Republic” -First thing he does is get elected as consul. Holds consulship every year for several years. At the same time he’s building up his reputation with the people and the Senate. -In 27 BCE he renounces all powers to the Senate. They go “oh no no, please continue” and they give him consulship again, and legions to go deal with regions threatening civil war. -In 23 BCE does the same thing, and this time the people are opposed to this, so he no longer takes one of the consul positions, but is given all the powers of a tribune of the plebs, complete military power, and he eventually has more power than even the consuls. Since the Senate appears to have done this willingly, it doesn’t look bad for Augustus. -In 12 PCE he is granted the priesthood the Pontifex Maximus, which is a lifelong position. But that is the ONLY lifetime position he claims, so he avoids the whole “dictator for life” thing that Caeser did. The Reign of Augustus: In Rome -Disbanded the legions and settled veterans -Provincial tax reform -Urban administration and policing (Praetorian Guard) -Introduces a fire brigade -Sewer system -Reorganizes the grain system, fixing prices, making sure its distributed fairly -naumachia, spectacles, games -Marriage and child legislation -Sumptuary laws -Religious revival -Maintaining and expanding Imperial borders -Was involved in “prescriptions”, meaning he would single out people he didn’t like, kill them, and then seize their land Literature in the Age of Augustus: -Four “buzzwords”: evolution, complexity, experimentation, and transcendence -Horace  initially fought against Octavian, but won back favor  Commissioned to write the “Carmen Saeculare” for the Secular Games of 17 BCE  The “Carpe Diem” poet (Odes 1.11)  Odes 4.7: Snow follows frost hard on the heel of spring/ Comes summer sure to die, for hard on hers/ Comes autumn with its apples scattering,/ Then back to wintertide when nothing stirs. -Propertius:  Largely uni
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