The 45-year reign of Caesar Augustus (31 BCE to 14 CE) marked the creation of the Roman Empire, which would survive in the West for another five centuries. Unlike the rulers who came before him— Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony—Augustus maintained nearly absolute power as he established the ideology and institutions of the Pax Romana, which gave the citizens of Rome two centuries of peace and social stability. This collection of primary sources offers multiple viewpoints of the rise, achievements, and legacy of Augustus and his empire. Ronald Mellor’s fluid introduction parallels the organization of the documents that follow to provide students with the historical context necessary for exploring these translations of ancient texts. Document headnotes, a list of literary sources for the Age of Augustus, a glossary of Greek and Latin terms, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography offer additional pedagogical support and encourage students to analyze the reign that transformed the history of Europe and the Mediterranean basin.
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Ronald Mellor is Professor of Ancient History at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he served as Chair of the History Department from 1992 to 1997. Centering his research on ancient religion and Roman historiography, Professor Mellor has written seven books: QEA RWMH: The Goddess Roma in the Greek World; From Augustus to Nero: The First Dynasty of Imperial Rome; Tacitus; Tacitus: The Classical Heritage; The Historians of Ancient Rome; The Roman Historians; and Text and Tradition: Studies in Greek History and Historiography in Honor of Mortimer Chambers. Professor Mellor is the statewide Principal Investigator of the California History–Social Science Project, which brings university faculty together with K-12 teachers.Review:
“Mellor’s historical narrative is a masterpiece, a lucid page-turner that covers the most important aspects of Augustus and his principate. . . . Because it employs the actual words of participants and writers closer to the events and personalities reported, this book is an essential foundation for the study of the Augustan principate.”--Daniel H. Garrison, Northwestern University
"The choice of readings is judicious and creative, combining traditional literary texts with a representative selection of legal and inscriptional documents. These provide opportunity to investigate not only the information conveyed but the different character of our various written sources for the period. Indeed, one of the book's chief virtues is the way it opens issues for productive classroom discussion."--John Bodel, Brown University
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