The Religious Reforms of Augustus: Innovation & Opportunism

Reeves, Mark (2023) The Religious Reforms of Augustus: Innovation & Opportunism. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Reeves, Mark (2023) M.A The Religious Reforms of Augustus thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
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This dissertation will consider the alleged parlous circumstance of state cult and the religious fabric at Rome at the end of the Republic. It will analyse the religious policies and reforms of Augustus and seek to evaluate how, through a process of innovation and opportunism, the Princeps successfully appropriated the institutions and offices of the religious estate for the benefit of himself and his family. Augustus states he restored 82 temples in his sixth consulship alone. Such claims imply a wholesale dereliction of the religious fabric in late Republican Rome, and give credence to the proposition, established from the 19th century, of a general decline in religious observance. Yet does the evidence support such a hypothesis? Ergo, it will be necessary to explore the condition of the sacra publica in the late Republic. We shall seek to establish whether the purported revival of state cults under Augustus were in fact a restoration, or whether the Augustan interventions were essentially reformative, innovative and politically motivated. We shall evaluate how the power and status - so lauded in the Res Gestae Divi Augusti - were made manifest in the religious sphere; how the Princeps modified the sacra publica to suit the new political realities, and how he appropriated state cults to promote his dynastic agenda. We shall examine Augustus’ promotion of the abstract, and how such initiatives led to the veneration of the genius of the Princeps and the genii of the imperial family. Some collegiate religious practices will be examined in order to assess the reach of the Augustan reforms e.g., the Lares Compitales and Fratres Arvales. Particular consideration will be given to the pivotal role of the Ludi Saeculares in consolidating the position of Augustus. For brevity, our enquiries will focus on the sacra publica at Rome only, and this dissertation will not consider magic or imported cults (except where the same were incorporated into state cult), nor the detailed impact of philosophy.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Victoria Hankinson
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2023 11:44
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2023 11:44

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