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Disclosure and Discretion in Roman Astrology: Manilius and his Augustan Contemporaries

Disclosure and Discretion in Roman Astrology: Manilius and his Augustan Contemporaries (Hardback)

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Synopsis

In light of modern scepticism towards the practice, it is easy to overlook just how important a role astrology played in the career of Rome's first Emperor, Augustus. Augustus' enthusiasm for employing astrological predictions and symbols to cement his own position of power was matched by an equally forceful desire to restrict their use by his political rivals. Astrology in Rome was, then, to use Tacitus' neat formulation, both 'forbidden and maintained' (Tacitus, Histories, 1.22). This volume is the first to take seriously this imperial complex as a key to understanding the diverse ways in which contemporary commentators handle the volatile topic of astrology in their writings. It shows how Roman writers engage in elaborate discourses of discretion as they simultaneously celebrate the power of astrology and shy away from the sort of astrological revelations that might offend imperial sensibilities. With a particular focus on the key astrological poem of Manilius, this study provides a new conceptual framework in which to appreciate the complex treatments of astrology during the period of Octavian/Augustus.

Essays & WritingLiterary CriticismLiterary studies: generalLiterary studies: classical, early & medievalHistory & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalAncient history: to c 500 CEClassical history / classical civilisationHistory & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalEarly history: c 500 to c 1450/1500 Publisher: Oxford University Press Publication Date: 10/07/2014 ISBN-13: 9780199646807  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Steven J. Green is currently Honorary Research Fellow at University College London. He specializes in Roman literature and culture in first centuries BC and AD, with particular attention to the Augustan and Neronian periods. He is author of Ovid, Fasti 1: A Commentary (2004) and co-editor of The Art of Love: Bimillennial Essays on Ovid's Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris (OUP 2007) and Forgotten Stars: Rediscovering Manilius' Astronomica (OUP 2011), and has written several articles focused around Roman poetry (especially Ovid) and the interaction between Roman literature and religious experience.

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