• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent and for what reasons did Augustus resist the creation of an imperial cult during his lifetime?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent and for what reasons did Augustus resist the creation of an imperial cult during his lifetime? (45)- For Romans, religion and politics were inseparable, for example, priests were always senators. Augustus needed to be seen as an emperor if he wanted to be one, he used religion to do this; a religious figure would never have been challenged, they were respected and obeyed. When Augustus became pontifex maximus in 12 BC he became, not only the saecular head of the Roman Empire, but the religious leader as well. Augustus used religion to reorganise the state, establish his own legislations and revive old festivals and ceremonies. However, although the advantages to himself were clear, he needed to be aware of Caesar?s fate and not offend tradition. Augustus knew that he had to be very careful about how he went about things in Rome but, in the East, it was a lot more acceptable as the people were already used to worshipping their leaders. If he could be worshipped in the East first, it may make it easier to be worshipped in Rome itself later on. In private it suited Augustus to be integrated with state religion, as demonstrated in the Res Gestae; ?I was pontifex maximus, augur, quindecemviri sacris faciundis??. ...read more.

Middle

As previously noted, in the Res Gestae, Augustus lists his religious powers and titles; considering that the Res Gestae was effectively an autobiography, it can be inferred that this was received positively as he was satisfied to publish this on stele, it is also evident that the Res Gestae was propaganda designed to influence and so can not be deemed as a reliable, nor objective source. Prompting the creation of an imperial cult would have enshrined Augustus as a deity, given him infinite power to develop his empire and secured his legacy forever. However, it was vital that he treaded the delicate line between paying lip service to Roman conservatism whilst at the same time, attempting to set himself above, and apart from, the average Roman politician. Associating himself with Roman deities was an ideal way of achieving this goal and there is a huge range of evidence that he did very little to resist this. Indeed, it is quite possible that he actually endorsed it. Suetonius describes how he renamed the month Sextilis, to August and therefore ?put? straight? the calendar. Equally, the Horologium Augusti in the Campus Martius, an immense sundial drew attention to Augustus in a manner unavailable to other Romans. ...read more.

Conclusion

Temple to Mars Ultor in the forum of Augustus both underline his connection to the semi-deity Caesar through his completion of filial duty. Horace?s Odes 1.2 similarly shows Augutus as the gods? ?right hand man?. Horace describes the moral decline and religious neglect of the period of civil war and strife and Augustus is called forth to atone for previous sins and to ?aid the crumbling Empire?. Such glowing accounts of Augutus can be explained as many of the poets were convalescing from lost estates from civil war times and, through indirect sponsorship from Augustus, were expected to translate underlying messages of the regime into poetry. Naturally, this kind of blatant worshiping was only acceptable in the abstract medium of poetry, as poetry was known to exaggerate reality and stretch any possible truth. Overall, the weight of evidence tends to suggest that Augustus did not try particularly hard to resist the creation of an imperial cult during his lifetime. Although he showed piety and respect to tradition throughout his reign, his sanctioning and, often encouragement, of provincials worshipping him demonstrated that he wished to be classed as a divine being as it meant that he would have gained all possible power. The creation of an imperial cult resulted in an almost tyrannical rule, where Augustus could not be questioned. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. To what extent did the Roman emperor Augustus restore the republic?

    as they effectively decided who was a Senator and citizen so it was no surprise that Augustus effectively destroyed the position to ensure it was never used against him. The position of censor was a traditional Republican position so by destroying it, Augustus was chipping away at the Republic and therefore not restoring it.

  2. To what extent did Augustus use the building programme to beautify Rome.

    As shown in the Prima Porta, the concept of piety and divinity is one frequently reinforced. Augustus' own divinity is alluded to through the inclusion of Cupid which gives Augustus ties with Venus the ancestor of the Julii family which are built upon due to her inclusion on the breastplate;

  1. Describe the main temples on the Altis. Which in your opinion is the most ...

    The sculptures on these pediments are best preserved of this era and all the figures on the pediments are 1.5 m x life size. There are twelve metopes, six over the pronaos and six over the opisthodomos. These metopes show the twelve labour of Hercules, the west pediment has the battle between the centaurs and the lapiths.

  2. Compare and contrast the portrayal of the Gods in Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's metamorphoses.

    Lyne neatly summarises this aspect of the gods, when he states: 'For man, life is earnest, moral, desperately serious, beset by consequences. A god-perhaps especially Jupiter, may permit himself immorality and frivolity.'15 Despite this similarity between the Virgilian and Ovidian gods, it should be noted that the gods in the

  1. According to the Res Gestae and Suetonius' Life of Augustus, how effective were Augustus' ...

    Life of Augustus, 24, p57). Augustus was visibly a strict leader who did not tolerate unsatisfactory service in the army. This meant that having a lower number of troops did not necessarily mean that the army was any weaker. This particular reform was quite clearly very effective as now the

  2. Were coins used in the Roman Empire more for propaganda purposes or as a ...

    It was the palace that Nero erected after the notorious great fire, and he came under great suspicion amongst the people of Rome, as many thought that he had burnt down part of the city in order to make room for the palace to be built.

  1. Iliad - In the modern world, people, as a society, have always given themselves ...

    �(Then sighing heavily)� my dear companion has perished, Patroklos, whom I loved beyond all other companions, as well as my own life�Thetis spoke to him, letting tears fall� (377, Iliad, 18.78). It can be sensed that, although in deep mourning for his lost friend, Achilles is just as well upset because he sensed a slight degree of failure.

  2. To what extent does the evidence support the view that Roman emperors paid very ...

    Suetonius writes in Claudius 15-20 ?Claudius always interested himself in the proper upkeep of the city and the regular arrival of grain supplies? adding that when the supply was scarce ?a mob stopped Claudius in the Forum and pelted him so hard with curses and stale crusts?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work