Rome’s Golden Age: When Art Talked to Power

This seminar will examine the Augustan Age with a double lens.  For a close-up of the history and politics of the age, we will read sections of Michael Grant's History of Rome.  For the literary arts, we will read poetry by Horace, Vergil, Catullus and Ovid, as well as a section of Livy's History of Rome. We will also consider the architecture and sculpture of the age.

Augustus, known first as Octavian, "ruled" Rome from 27 B.C.E to 14 C.E. with such a patient, strategic and skillful hand that the senate gave him the honorific "Augustus" (he who increases and enriches) early in his ascent to power and "Pater Patriae" (the father of the country) later in his “reign.” 

Never was he a king, dictator or emperor--all part of his planned "authority without office."  His support of Roman arts, architecture, and literature have left a permanent monument to his age.   As Augustus himself said, "I found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble."


Group Leader: LEE BEHNKE
Venue: Chilton Club
Meets on: Fridays 10:00 am to noon
Starting: 10/7/2022
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 14
Teaching Style: Seminar
Weekly Preparation: 2 - 3 hours
Group Leader Biography:

Lee Behnke has taught classics and English at Buckingham Browne & Nichols, the University of Chicago, and more recently Phillips Exeter Academy. She received a B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College in English, an M. Ed. from Harvard in language acquisition, and an M.A. from Tufts University in classics. She has taught ancient civilization courses for the University of Chicago in Rome, Barcelona, and Athens. She coordinated the great books stream of the humanities requirement and directed the Undergraduate Latin Program. Her special interest is the classical tradition and its reception in later literature.