Saturday, April 24, 2010

let's do this!

augustus of prima porta

as i rewrite my roman history paper on augustus (tacitus v. suetonius v. augustus himself) i will think of the authoritative stance of rome's first unofficial emperor.

augustus was a smart cookie by pretending to be a republican ruler (he wisely learned from the mistakes of his great-uncle, julius caesar) and this statue is exactly the kind of image of himself that he would have wanted to project.  his stance and expression underscore his authority, but his clothes are plain - with the title "princeps" rather than "emperor," he is "first among equals."  sure, he's got a fancy breastplate on, but that's just there for more propaganda; it depicts a scene emphasizing augustus' diplomacy.

there's also the clever insertion of cupid riding a dolphin at the bottom.  it asserts his family's claim as descendants of venus...and also serves to support the statue!  the romans had to put supports in the statues, or else they would be unbalanced and collapse (i am supposing this is because the stances they often assumed? the greek kouros statues didn't need supports, but then again, they were just boys standing with one foot forward, completely in balance).

anyway, point being, i need to take charge of my studies as augustus took charge of rome.

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