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Writing, Performance, and Authority in Augustan Rome$
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Michele Lowrie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545674

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545674.001.0001

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Auctoritas and Representation: Augustus' Res gestae

Auctoritas and Representation: Augustus' Res gestae

(p.279) 12 Auctoritas and Representation: Augustus' Res gestae
Writing, Performance, and Authority in Augustan Rome

Michèle Lowrie (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This is one of two chapters to analyze actual monuments at Rome. Augustus' Res gestae was an inscription erected on pillars outside his Mausoleum on the Campus Martius but also copied and disseminated across the empire. As such, it is a document with a strong affiliation with writing, iteration, and death. Nevertheless, Augustus describes his own power in this document as auctoritas, a word with a strong performative dimension. The performative discourse theory of Pierre Bourdieu, Jacques, Derrida, and Judith Butler helps analyze authority's need for representation and how a productive interrelation between the media helped Augustus articulate his consolidation of power. The exemplum emerges as a figure of thought that brings together ideology, representation, pragmatics, and transmission.

Keywords:   Augustus, Res gestae, Mausoleum, Campus Martius, auctoritas, authority, performative, Pierre Bourdieu, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler

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