The Augustan Political Myth: Visual Rhetoric in the Roman Principate (31 BCE-14 CE)
by Kathleen Lamp
Arizona State University
Department of English
Friday, Apr. 8, 3:30 p.m.
Stauffer A, Room 440 (STAUF 440) ASU, Tempe campus
The Hugh Downs School of Communication presents this colloquium with ASU English Assistant Professor Kathleen Lamp. :: When Octavian gained sole power in 31 BCE, he was little more than the next man to rise to power through military might in a string of men who had done so throughout the last half-century of civil war. What made his reign different than that of Marius, Sulla, Pompey, or Julius Caesar was his ability to win the hearts and minds of the Roman people. This was not the result of military strength, but of a far reaching rhetorical campaign that touched every aspect of Roman life, especially art and architecture, forever changing the appearance of the city of Rome. This talk explores how non-traditional rhetorical media such as art, architecture, coins, and city planning constructed the “Augustan Political Myth,” which ultimately promoted dynastic rule and influenced practices of citizenship transforming Octavian to the Emperor Augustus, and the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire (31 BCE-14CE). Traditionally this period in rhetorical history is considered one of decline. Lamp's findings challenge this long-standing narrative that rhetoric faded away after the Roman Republic, waning into schools of declamation, becoming detached from practice, and focused on style by considering the rhetorical media that impacted the Roman people most--visual and material rhetorical artifacts.