Synopses & Reviews
Throughout a long and spectacularly successful political life, the Emperor Augustus (63BC-AD14) was a master of spin. Barbara Levick exposes the techniques which he used to disguise the ruthlessness of his rise to power and to enhance his successes once power was achieved.
There was, she argues, less difference than might appear between the ambitious youth who overthrew Anthony and Cleopatra and the admired Emperor of later years. However seemingly benevolent his autocracy and substantial his achievements, Augustus overriding purpose was always to keep himself and his dynasty in power. Similar techniques were practised against surviving and fresh opponents, but with increasing skill and duplicity, and in the end the exhausted members of the political classes were content to accept their new ruler. This book charts the stages of Augustus rise, the evolution of his power and his methods of sustaining it, and finally the ways in which he used artists and literary men to glorify his image for his own time and times to come.
This fascinating story of the realities of power in ancient Rome has inescapable contemporary resonance and will appeal equally to students of the Ancient World and to the general reader.
Barbara Levick is Emeritus Fellow and Tutor in Literae Humaniores at St. Hildas College, Oxford and the author of numerous works on the history of Ancient Rome.
Augustus Caesar was a fascinating and controversial man arguably the most important figure in Roman history. A shrewd politician, he was able to achieve ultimate power in Rome. His political life (44 BC AD 14) was dedicated to convert the failing Republic to a successful Principate which lasted for centuries, and his political legacy lives on today.
This biographical study of Augustus seeks to expose the calculating methods used throughout his political life, arguing that they disguised the ruthlessness of his climb to the top and his subsequent hold on it, while enhancing his successes. Focusing on Augustus as the first spin doctor, Barbara Levicks polemic interpretation emphasises the methods of his acquisition and maintenance of power and gives central importance to the deviousness and manipulation at the heart of his success.
Augustus Caesar is arguably the most important figure in Roman history. Barbara Levick provides a brilliant new re-appraisal of the life and personality of one of Rome's greatest and best known emperors.
- Barbara Levick is an experienced author and expert on Roman history
- Fully illustrated
- Rare polemical interpretation of Augustian politics, with a clear focus on the techniques used to acquire and sustain power
- Examination of Augustian Spin, draws parallels between ancient and modern politicians and autocrats
About the Author
Barbara Levick is a fellow of St.Hilda's College, Oxford. Her previous books include biographies of Tiberius, Claudius and Vespasian and she is currently working on a biography of Julia Domna.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: The Enigma
1. Octavian: Octavian: Heir of an Autocrat
2. Augustus: Political Evolution
3. Techniques of Management and the Feel-Good Factor
4. Opposition and Discontent
5. The Self-presentation of a Monarch
6. Art and Literature
7. Unmasking a God