Our most recent conference

Augustus from a distance image

Augustus from a Distance

A conference in the bi-millennial year of the death of Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus Augustus
at the University of Sydney

29 September to 2 October 2014

Caesar Augustus died at Nola on 19 August, 14. On conventional dating, 2014 marks 2000 years since his death and offers a chance to reflect on the man, his history, the culture named after him and the different ways that scholarship studies and has studied him.


  • Eleanor Cowan,
  • Geraldine Herbert-Brown,
  • Andrew Pettinger and
  • Kathryn Welch.

The conference consisted of papers on a range of topics, including developments in law, religion and society; other significant individuals such as Marcus Antonius, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Livia and Octavia; the nature of Augustus’ rise to power; the question of what was to happen after his death; the presence or absence of opposition to Augustus; the nature of the Augustan res publica; the physical development of the Augustan city. We held panels which placed literature and numismatics in their contemporary contexts and, as scholars of res Romanae based in the Antipodes, on provincial responses to the social and political upheavals of Italy in the first
century BCE.

Themes included:

  • ‘Augustan culture’: how useful is the term?
  • The Hellenistic World and the coming of the Principate
  • What is ‘Augustus’? Then and Now.
  • Who fashioned the Augustus we think we know? Contemporary appraisals and their impact.
  • A long-lived family: how did Augustus, Livia and Tiberius survive for so long?
  • The Augustan elite: how they are presented and how they might have represented themselves.
  • ‘Augustan Italy’; the ‘Augustan’ empire
  • The Res Gestae. What is in it, what is not? Language, tone, genre, evasions, translation

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