Jan 24, 2022  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog

CLA 336 - Augustus and the Roman Republic


After several decades of civil war, Augustus set out to “restore the republic.” Yet when he died 45 years later, his political position was inherited by his stepson, Tiberius. Republican governance by Roman senate and people had morphed into a form of hereditary monarchy that would last for centuries. Nor was change limited to the political sphere. This period witnessed profound transformations to Roman society, religion, literature, art, and even the physical fabric of the city of Rome. 

This course explores all of these aspects of the dynamic period corresponding to Augustus’ lifespan (63 BC - AD 14). We will examine the breakdown of the Roman republican system, which resulted in the outbreak of a series of civil wars. Then we will investigate the various ways that Augustus sought to repair and renew a society that had been fractured by the wars from which he emerged victorious. We will also consider the responses to these reforms by inhabitants of Rome and the provinces. While the figure of Augustus looms large during this period, he was by no means the only agent of change, and the transformations he spearheaded were not always uncontested.

The readings will be drawn largely from primary texts, including Augustus’ own account of his deeds (the Res Gestae); selections from the works of Vergil, Horace, Ovid, and other contemporary authors; and Suetonius’ Life of Augustus. We will also pay close attention to the rich body of material evidence from the period, including sculptures, paintings, architecture, coins, and inscriptions.

Satisfies the Historical Thought requirement.
Counts toward the major in Classical Languages and Literature, the major in Classical Studies, and the minor in Classical Studies.
Counts as a 300-level course and fulfills the pre-modern course requirement in the History major and minor.

Prerequisites & Notes
Students at all levels welcome. (Not offered in 2021-2022)