Welcome back. Here we are at Lecture Seven already. And we're gonna talk a little bit today about the age of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. As the Roman Republic came to an end, the Roman Empire was just beginning. Although it may not have seemed so to the average Roman of the time, Octavian had conquered Antony and Cleopatra, his greatest rivals, and went on with his trusted personal naval commander, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, to pacify and quiet down a vast area that had been filled with unrest for decades. The pax Augusta, the Augustan peace, was a major accomplishment of this skilled administrator. And he did it all by projecting the illusion that he was saving the Republic. For you see, Octavian was a master of propaganda. Oh, you can see this by simply viewing a remarkable statue of him that was found at Prima Porta just north of Rome, where Octavian's wife Livia had a villa, the villa of the hens. It contained the laurel grove where Roman emperors later on would get the plants for their official garland. Here was found the famous Prima Porta Augustus, which is really based on an even more famous Greek work of art, the Doryphoros, or Spear-Bearer, of Polykleitos, that sculpture from Argos, who in the mid-5th century BCE set a standard for Greek athletic statuary. This original figure, this original sculpture, it's lost to us, although copies survived, because it was the sort of thing that athletically-minded Romans would want in their homes or their baths or their gymnasium. The original figure began to show a knowledge of weight shift and to introduce this increased tension and relaxation of muscles and sinews in the vocabulary of Greek sculpture. It seemed to be striding forward, and to rest on one leg while tensing the other. Its body was powerful, and it had a slight twist to it, liberating it from the block. The Prima Porta Augustus is modeled after this figure, with the same stride, the same weight shift and tensions, the same clear strands of hair and smooth wrinkle-free face of the athlete. But something is new here. The Roman sculptor has fused the Greek sculpture with a portrait of Augustus. The emaciated, gaunt Augustus is gone, as if he has been bicycle pumped into a more powerful version of himself. The big ears and the long aquiline nose are still there, and the special parting of the bangs, and the narrow chin, but it is Augustus all the same. It's just that it's Augustus Superman. Augustus also developed the theme of his time as the Golden Age, the Aetas Aureus. Drawing on the idea that the Etruscans, the predecessors of the Romans, were simply running out their time as masters of Italy, they themselves had predicted their own demise and the taking over of Italy by new forces. And Rome now sees this prophecy now, sees this opportunity, and sought to fulfill what the Etruscans had predicted. The heavens, Earth, water, and air all now blessed Rome. This was a message that was depicted throughout Augustus' reign. He was no longer just Octavian. The senate had conferred upon him the title of Augustus, the sacred and revered one, the restorer of traditional values, the city’s new religious leader, the restorer of temples. But this was just one of Augustus’s themes. He also sought to beautify Rome and make it into a new Athens, and to dispel frequent criticism of Rome by visitors, that it was disorganized, and ugly. The Prima Porta Augustus contains imagery of the sky, Kylos, of Mother Earth, Telos, of Lucky Twins, Gemelli, and of pacified provinces, now blissfully under Roman rule. It is a golden age Augustus seeks to impart here, an age of milk and honey. A new dawn, Aurora, who comes to sprinkle dew to this new world order. Augustus is the new Apollo, and it is Apollo with sister Artemis who also appear on the Prima Porta Augustus. One of the greatest military triumphs of Augustus' reign was the return of the military standards that had been lost, way back in 54 BCE, by Crassus, when he was campaigning east against the Parthians, and he had gotten himself killed, too. Although no battle was fought, the Parthians agreed to return the standards during the reign of Augustus, and he celebrated this on the Prima Porta Augustus, on the chest plate in the center, and he also celebrated it as if he were a triumphator, a triumphant general or leader. Augustus had also another agenda, perhaps his most important, self-promotion and self-perpetuation, while giving the illusion of modesty and pretending to rule in a diarchy, or two- part rule between himself and the Roman government, the Senate, the Comitia. But he was really pulling the strings and packing the government with his own supporters. He was a great communicator, manipulator, propaganda master, and this is particularly evident in his forum, where we see again this combination of the Greek and the Roman. His forum took some 35 years to complete, and it was placed at right angles to the forum of his predecessor Julius Caesar, his assassinated great-uncle. By finishing Caesar's forum, he provided a link to himself, and also to the divine, for the main temple of the forum of Caesar was dedicated to nurturing Venus, the patron goddess of the gens, or family line of the Julio-Claudians, the family life of Augustus. Augustus then made his own forum in close proximity to that of Caesar. Caesar's forum became a supplemental government center for the curio, or Senate house, in the northwest corner of the old forum. Augustus made his own forum a center for trials and special events. And it was also the place where you could get a major history lesson given to young people and designed for them to experience. There they could see, for example, statues and niches of the porticos of the forums which celebrated the great ancestors of the Julio-Claudian gens, as well as the great heroes of ancient Rome, real and maybe even imagined. In one niche, major niche, was Aeneas, the founder figure of the Roman city-state, who first arrived, allegedly, in Italy and started his dynamic succession, leading all the way down through time to Caesar and Augustus. In the central niche across the courtyard area from it was an image of Romulus, the believed founder of the city of Rome. In the upper or attic stories of the porticos of the forum were images of the Caryatids, who appeared to be supporting the architrave, but were there to give the feeling of the Acropolis of Athens, for there on the south porch of the most sacred monument of the Acropolis, or high city of Athens, were the original Caryatids, or women of Carya. The female supports for the structure known as the Erectheum, the most sacred monument on the Acropolis of Athens. Augustus was quoting then this famous example of Greek architecture of Athens, showing that he was bringing Greece, bringing Athens, to Rome. Between the Caryatids, he displayed what looked like Greek military shields, and on these shields were images of Zeus Ammon, who was a popular god with the Roman troops. The temple itself honored Mars and Venus, the patron god of the Roman war machine, and the particular goddess and alleged ancestor of the Julio-Claudian gens. Lest you missed the main point of all this careful planning, one would find at the end of the left side portico, a colossal statue of Augustus himself, perhaps some 30 feet high. We have surviving, a little bit of the toe of it. Well, for the wealthy in Rome, this was a time of great prosperity. Romans of merit might have villas in the countryside, such as Horace had, the famous Roman poet of the Augustan period. One villa, recently studied, was built in Umbria, a little more than a day's journey north of Rome and right on the Tiber river. Such villas could be used to generate crops to sell and ship downriver to Rome, or to other areas along this great waterway, the Tiber, which was bustling with ports and barges, stevedores and large rafts. The villa, near Lugnano in Teverina, featured all of the essentials for comfortable living. It had slave quarters, run by a vilicus, V-I-L-I-C-U-S, or freed man, foreman. The dominus, or master, D-O-M-I-N-U-S, dominus, lived in the elegant part of the villa. Men and women entertained in the villa in elegant rooms, usually separately. In this particular villa, there were the typical wall paintings of the Third style found in many upper class, and even middle class homes as well. The popular Augustan style has come to be known as Third style and often featured lacy, frilly, reedy patterns of vegetal ornament, large flat surfaces of wall, and fantastic arrangements of architecture. It reached a crescendo of elegance around the end of the first century BCE, the time of this villa. Also popular were mosaic decorations for the floors, and sometimes even for basins or walls. These were made by laying down a statumen, or base of stones. Then, about a six-inch layer of sandy mortar, which was leveled off and knows as a rudus. And then above that came a hard firm layer of lime and sand that was usually cream colored. Sometimes it contained crushed-up pottery or tile bits. This was called the nucleus, and on top of this one could sketch out the decorative design of the floor to be laid out in little cubes or tesserae, T-E-S-S-E-R-A-E, of cut stones, limestone or marble, or even occasionally glass. These patterns were drawn out in red ochre, and then the cubes began to be placed in a very thin layer of lime and perhaps marble dust, which held them firmly to the carefully flattened, tamped, and leveled nucleus. And then a grout was applied and the floor was ready to use. Black and white would remain popular in Rome for floor decoration up until late antiquity, while in other areas under Roman control, but outside of Italy, more colorful floors in a variety of polychromy were popular by the later first century CE. The Lugnano villa featured a showcase room to entertain visitors to the villa. Most villas had a special area to delight and astonish guests. Here, the owner decided to shoot the works and create a triclinium or dining room that was also a colonnaded hall, known as a Corinthian oecus, O-E-C-U-S. In the center was a rare collared floor made up of pieces of leftover marble and limestone from the various cut pieces used in the making of mosaics and stone wall paneling, which had been know as crustae, C-R-U-S-T-A-E. These pieces of cut stone junk were beautiful and attractive and comprised a floor known as Opus Scutulatum, S-C-U-T-U-L-A-T-U-M. Or little shields work, since the resulting flashy pieces look like little shields. But the owner wasn't done yet. The room was fitted out with side carters that were barrel vaulted and painted with coffers where little panels that appeared to be recessed. It was all done illusionistically, only with paint. In the center of the room, the central ceiling was in the form of a pyramid, with the whole central part of it not coming up to a point, but rather flattened out to make the central ceiling of the room. When I excavated this site back in the 1990s, I could hardly believe the splashes and flashes of color and the architectural innovation that went into this dining area. And the desire to impress others and to live in a sumptuous, eye-pleasing lifestyle was just all-consuming when you walked around this villa in antiquity. But the villa owner made a big mistake. This villa was not founded on solid stone, but actually on rather loose earth. And the architectural innovations that he put into this villa required huge concrete vaults, which had to be supported by flimsy columns. Not a good idea. Within a generation, the pressure from the slumping hillside was too much, and the villa's floors and walls began to crack. Soon it became a ruin, suitable only for squatters to build fires in. The owner had sought to do something exciting and innovative, to keep with or surpass his neighbors. But in this case, he overreached. Well, Augustus lived into his upper 70s, in fact, outliving all of his choices to succeed him in the dynasty he had been carefully setting up for rule of Rome. The Roman Empire would continue under Tiberius, the brooding, antisocial stepson of Augustus, who was his very last choice. But all others suitable for rule had died young. In his reign, Augustus established many of the formulae for rule that would keep the empire going for hundreds and hundreds of years. One of his most enduring ideas, building on older myths and stories, was the connection of his own family and of the Romans with ancient Troy and the Trojan War. He popularized that old notion that the Roman people were Trojans originally, and that after the fall of Troy, the Trojan leader Aeneas left Troy with his aged father on his shoulder and his son Iulus eventually coming to fulfill their destiny in Italy, where little Iulus would perpetuate the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Throughout the reign of Augustus, we see imagery of the Trojan War abounding, especially in the poetry of the golden age. The poets of Agustus' time, poets like Horace and Virgil, celebrated this particularly. But what was this Trojan War that was so much in the popular mind in the Augustan Period? Who fought in it? What was it about? Well, the story goes way, way back in time, maybe as far back as 1200 BC or even earlier. Some years ago, I decided to explore stories such as this, trying to find out, for example, if the Trojan War really ever happened, or if it was just an invention by later Greeks like Homer who told about it. And it got picked up and used by other Greeks and written down, maybe in the sixth century BCE, and then used by Roman,s and especially it was popular in the Augustan period. I decided to create a series called Forgotten Lives, in which I investigated stories such as this. I would offer students $1,000 each to go and find out the truth, and they could use this as coursework for themselves. They could go wherever they wanted to, so long as the money covered it. I wasn't gonna give them more than $1,000. But they had to try to find answers to questions such as this. Was the Trojan War real? And in order to find these answers out, we would send a videographer along with a student. And the videographer could also be a chaperone. But also he was someone who was documenting visually what had happened. I sent one student off to find out about the historicity of the Trojan War. Well, I thought it might be fun for you to come along with me and watch what happened when I gave him $1,000 and sent him off to solve the question, did the Trojan War really happen?