Qualitative Periodization in First-Century-BCE Rome
Even during Augustus’ own lifetime, it was possible to speak of an “Age of Augustus.” This concept emerged from an earlier tradition of qualitative periodization, the applications of which already extended beyond political promotion. Beginning during Sulla’s ascendancy, and continuing throughout the first century BCE, Roman intellectuals divided time into discrete units marked by characteristic qualities, a form of periodization that inherently narrativized history. The potential of this “saecular discourse” for sophisticated thought and description contributed to its growing importance throughout the century, linking disparate intellectual fields during this period of Roman cultural “revolution.” This chapter examines how the concept of the “Augustan saeculum” and the rhetoric of an Augustus-led return to the aurea saecula appeared alongside unrelated saecular discourse on medicine and literature, thus competing with (rather than dominating) these alternative saecular histories.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.