iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for The Augustan Age

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

The Augustan Age

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 11 June 2009

Melvyn Bragg and guests Mary Beard, Catharine Edwards and Duncan Kennedy discuss the political regime and cultural influence of the Roman Emperor Augustus.

Called the Augustan Age, it was a golden age of literature with Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphosis among its treasures. But they were forged amidst creeping tyranny and the demands of literary propaganda. Augustus tightened public morals, funded architectural renewal and prosecuted adultery. Ovid was exiled for his saucy love poems but Virgil's Aeneid, a celebration of Rome's grand purpose, was supported by the regime.

Indeed, Augustus saw literature, architecture, culture and morality as vehicles for his values. He presented his regime as a return to old Roman virtues of forbearance, valour and moral rectitude, but he created a very new form of power. He was the first Roman Emperor and, above all, he established the idea that Rome would be an empire without end.

Catharine Edwards is Professor of Classics and Ancient History at Birkbeck College, University of London; Duncan Kennedy is Professor of Latin Literature and the Theory of Criticism at the University of Bristol; Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Cambridge University.

  • Further Reading

    Galinsky, Karl, Augustan Culture (Princeton University Press, 1996)

    Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew, Augustan Rome (Bristol Classical Press, 1993)

    Syme, Ronald, The Roman Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1939)

    Martindale, Charles ed, The Cambridge Companion to Virgil (Cambridge University Press, 1997)

    Hardie, Philip ed, The Cambridge Companion to Ovid (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

    Harrison, Stephen ed, The Cambridge Companion to Horace (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

    Beard, Mary, The Roman Triumph (Cambridge, Ma., 2007)

    Kennedy, Duncan, ‘The “Presence” of Roman Satire: Modern Receptions and Their Interpretative Implications’ in The Cambridge Companion to Roman Satire (Cambridge, 2005)

    Edwards, Catharine, Writing Rome: textual approaches to the city (1996)

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • History archive

    Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.

  • Ancient Rome

    Browse the Ancient Rome era within the In Our Time archive.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Free downloads

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss