Massie's Augustus Chat Transcript
385 lines of discussion for August 28, 2000
20:41 Torrey Philemon enters...
20:41 Torrey Philemon: Augustus chat at 9pm!
20:54 Morgana Flavius enters...
20:56 Morgana Flavius: Already here for the chat. Being a frequent guest at this house, I feel free to help myself on Torrey's good Falernian. Warming up for our conversation on that (humph!) smart Augustus.
20:59 Mara Durotriges enters...
21:00 Mara Durotriges: Hello Ladies1
21:01 Mara Durotriges: ah, so you have to admit too that he may have been smart! And I wasn't ever going to say anything nice about him!
21:02 Morgana Flavius: LOL! Welcome Mara!
21:03 Morgana Flavius: Torrey is taking a look at he notes on Augustus. She'll be here at any minute.
21:04 Torrey Philemon: Hi Mara and Morgana. Just came back....
21:05 Morgana Flavius: Good!
21:06 Mara Durotriges: my notes are a mess - but my workspace is neat! spent today doing something about the piles
21:06 Torrey Philemon: Just grammed Lollia...... Mara, I too am intrigued by Augustus' marriage laws. And they definitely favor men.....
21:06 Mara Durotriges: Hi Torrey
21:06 Lollia Junius enters...
21:07 Lollia Junius: Ave!
21:08 Torrey Philemon: hi Lollia. How about each of us mentioning a topic or two we'd like to discuss?
21:08 Lollia Junius: The succession
21:08 Morgana Flavius: Welcome Lollia!
21:09 Lollia Junius: Hello, Morgana :)
21:09 Mara Durotriges: Hello Lollia!
21:09 Torrey Philemon: Which succession, Lollia? To Augustus or after Augustus?
21:10 Lollia Junius: To Augustus, about all his hiers in his lifetime
21:11 Mara Durotriges: I'm interested in the transition from Republic to Empire and Augustus' administrative skills and the resulting legacy for the later emperors and the governmental systems of today
21:11 Morgana Flavius: I wrote some notes, but there's not a specific subject I'd like to talk about. Actually, I read Augustus just to find out more about his relationship with Antony and Cleopatra.
21:12 Mara Durotriges: and all that moral legislation - sort of like out own "Sin Police" here in the US, saving us from ourselves
21:12 Torrey Philemon: I'm interested in the character of Livia and her relationship with Augustus...... the women's revolt against taxes led by Hortensia ...... Tiberius and his lost love Vipsania, and his character and relation to Augustus ......
21:14 Mara Durotriges enters...
21:14 Torrey Philemon: What do you think Augustus' real motive was for all that moral legislation? Some of it was to increase births of Roman citizens, and to guarantee the legitimacy of children....but there was obviously more to it than that.
21:14 Mara Durotriges: I never could find more on Hortensia - did you?
21:14 Mara Durotriges: for you Actium buffs - Southern says "The battle of Actium, so improtant in modern history as a teminus or a beginning...the birth of a new era"
21:15 Torrey Philemon: No I didn't find more on Hortensia. Don't know where to look. Intriguing early women's liberation organizing here!
21:15 Morgana Flavius: All suggestions are very interesting!
21:15 Torrey Philemon: Yay Actium! September 2nd is almost here. We ought to have a day of mourning >-:
21:16 Lollia Junius: I thought Actium was on the first of August
21:16 Mara Durotriges: There was also the reason of racial purity - Augustus did not like the people form the provinces marrying into the 'pure Roman stock' and diluting it
21:17 Lollia Junius: Not really. He was trying to resurrect the Patriciate
21:17 Torrey Philemon: Augustus conquered Alexandria on the first of August (one of the posts on A.S. about this is wrong). The previous year, Actium was in September.
21:18 Mara Durotriges: and thus creating citizens of less worth than he thought proper
21:18 Morgana Flavius: About the moral legislation... I just read in Hughes-Hallett...
21:18 Torrey Philemon: He was very class-conscious......
21:19 Torrey Philemon: Mara posted a great link about the moral legislation..... http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/wlgr/wlgr-romanlegal120.html
21:20 Morgana Flavius: "Thus sexual rapture is imagined as a kind of political contagion capable of destroying a state."
21:21 Torrey Philemon: What annoys me is that men were require to prosecute unfaithful wives but women had no such recourse against unfaithful husbands..... It seems that adultery wasn't the issue as much as establishing paternity.
21:22 Morgana Flavius: I guess many rulers, throughout times, have attempted to "moralize" their peoples based on this (true or false?) notion that too much sex makes you neglect all (allegedly more serious) duties...
21:22 Lollia Junius: Not really. At that point either the husband or the wife could initiate divorce
21:22 Mara Durotriges: oh Morgana! how puritanical - who was supposed to have come up with that one?
21:23 Lollia Junius: In fact, it could even be in a letter, the woman would just take her dowry and go home to her father if he was still alive
21:23 Morgana Flavius: Well, Torrey, all those who made the rules at Augustus' times were men. Why would they turn the rules against themselves by giving women the chance to prosecute them?
21:24 Mara Durotriges: somewhere there was a reference to the moral laws putting a stop to 'legacy hunting' What is that?
21:24 Torrey Philemon: Very true, Morgana! Those in power make laws to justify their own desires and protect their interests.
21:25 Morgana Flavius: Mara, that was Lucy Hughes-Hallett analysis on why Antony & Cleopatra were so much despised by Romans who believed in Augustan propaganda about their "sexual raptures" in Egypt. *s*
21:26 Lollia Junius: Anyone remember that Antony was cheating on his wife?
21:26 Morgana Flavius: But in my opinion, the real motive behind Augustus' moral legislation was to increase births in the Patrician families and make sure that the new babies were REALLY patrician.
21:27 Torrey Philemon: Do you think the Romans in general had a puritanical streak, Morgana? That they indulged in sex but also condemned it .......(the roots of Christianity)
21:27 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Lollia, and what's interesting is that Antony never denied he was cheating. And that's probably what p-off Augustus even more.
21:28 Torrey Philemon: I think most Roman men cheated on their wives...... it was a forgiveable sin apparently with men....... I wonder how Augustus however rationalized all his adulteries.
21:29 Lollia Junius: Augustus loved Livia though
21:29 Morgana Flavius: Yes, I'm firmly convinced that Romans (like much of the rest of peoples) said one thing and did another, regarding moral issues. The easterners seemed to have been an exception.
21:29 Lollia Junius: And as for sex
21:29 Torrey Philemon: (Southern mentioned he was known to prefer to deflower young virgins!)
21:29 Lollia Junius: To the Romans it fell outside culture
21:30 Lollia Junius: Anything was permissible for a man as long as the partner was underneath him in rank.
21:30 Torrey Philemon: Anyone have a clear sense about Livia's character? Some sources say she was accommodating and didn't surpass her role as virtuous Roman woman.....yet she sure did take a stand with Augustus in regard to his violation of the Vestal Virgins.
21:30 Lollia Junius: Unless he cheated with another man's wife
21:30 Morgana Flavius: Livia is a very interesting subject too!
21:31 Torrey Philemon: LOL, Lollia!! As long as his partner was underneath him......?? !!
21:31 Lollia Junius: Yep, in rank I mean, not literally
21:31 Torrey Philemon: Well I think it's true literally too!
21:31 Lollia Junius: Marriage was not about Monogamy for the male
21:32 Mara Durotriges: as far as Augustus loving Livia, Southern says "that he loved Livia - accepted probably because of wishful thinking and sheer felief that he was susceptible to at least one human passion" LOL!
21:32 Lollia Junius: It was a political alliance arranged for having children
21:32 Morgana Flavius: I've heard that too, Lollia. And you put it in very good words: everything is permissible as long as not with your equals.
21:33 Lollia Junius: I think he did love her, I mean she was 5 months pregnant by her husband when Augustus ordered him to divorce her
21:33 Torrey Philemon: The morality laws only applied to citizens.....
21:33 Lollia Junius: And she was on the enemy side as far as alliances, and so there was no benefit
21:33 Lollia Junius: So there was no other reason for him to marry. He had been married too and his wife had borne him a daughter
21:34 Torrey Philemon: Do you think she loved him at the time? I have the impression that it was mutual, though he was at first most enamored....
21:34 Lollia Junius: And was well-connected
21:34 Lollia Junius: Yeah, I think she did
21:34 Mara Durotriges: There is a good bit in print about how devious and scheming she was and just as much as to how wonderful and proper she was
21:34 Torrey Philemon: Somewhere I read that she was "well connected" and enabled Augustus to form more significant alliances.
21:35 Morgana Flavius: Another interesting thing I've heard about accepted sexual behavior among Roman men: homosexuality was tolerated as long as the man was not on the passive role. That's why Roman male homosexuals preferred Greek slaves (to whom it did not matter who was active or passive in the relationship).
21:35 Lollia Junius: Scribonia was better connected
21:35 Torrey Philemon: I find it hard to believe the stories that she plotted to kill Gaius and Lucius etc. so that Tiberius would be favored. Was she really known to have a scheming personality?
21:35 Lollia Junius: And she really wasnt, cause her father had never made consul and niether had her husband
21:35 Lollia Junius: And yes, she was known
21:36 Torrey Philemon: (Massie's passage on his Augustus' wedding night with Scribonia is hysterical)
21:37 Lollia Junius: Anyway, she was married into and belonged (her first husband was her first cousin) to the side that had lost the war, the enemies of Augustus. And so on his rise, her conenctions had fallen into obscurity. So she had nothing that he needed as far as that
21:37 Lollia Junius: And thats not enough for that long a marriage anyway
21:38 Morgana Flavius: I have the impression that Augustus was both enamored AND needed very urgently to make alliances with noble families in Rome. And Livia belonged to one of the most ancient Roman patrician gens: the Claudians.
21:38 Torrey Philemon: Maybe her connections to the "enemies" helped them change allegiances.....
21:39 Mara Durotriges: Livia was well connected through her family of Claudius who were powerful and influential
21:39 Lollia Junius: But the minor branch. And her father had been adopted out so officially she was a nobody plebian Livian. And making her divorce from a non-conencted Claudius Nero probably pissed the Claudians off
21:39 Lollia Junius: a non-adopted I mean
21:40 Morgana Flavius: Wow, Lollia! I just said the opposite. LOL! Well, Southern says in her book that Livia was very well connected. Her family was very important and was seen as one of the "moral pilars" in Rome.
21:41 Lollia Junius: He had been married to a Claudia anyway, who was Publius Clodius' daughter and therefore the memeber of the major pranch of Claudius Pulcher
21:41 Torrey Philemon: In all of these "forced divorces" I bet there was a lot of resentment and hurt. I most feel for Tiberius in that regard and would like to find more sources about his relationship with Vipsania.....She was also known as Agrippina, by the way..... not to be confused with later Agrippinas.
21:41 Lollia Junius: So that alliance to the Claudians was taken care of until that point
21:42 Mara Durotriges: Yes, Torrey, Tiberius did seem to have gotten a raw deal - having to trade Vipsania for Julia
21:42 Lollia Junius: Isnt it wierd how Agrippa married his sister-in-law after Marcellus' death (his first wife was Marcella. And then Tiberius' married his mother-in-law after Agrippa's death. (since Vipsania was Agrippa's daughter)
21:42 Lollia Junius: All sounds incestuous even though it isnt
21:43 Mara Durotriges: and maybe all the forced marriages contributed to Julia's behavior
21:44 Lollia Junius: Probably, although she did have 5 children by Agrippa and loved Marcellus
21:44 Lollia Junius: I think it was because Tiberius was gone so much
21:44 Torrey Philemon: I think Augustus was a controlling oppressive father....and that probably had a lot to do with Julia's wildness or rebelliousness. He didn't take into consideration the needs or desires of those closest to him. He had his own agenda.
21:45 Mara Durotriges: maybe there was close enough relations for all these marriages to have produced some of the later descendants - the crazy emperors - and was one of Augustus' grandsons somewhat of an idiot - stammered and slobbered or something? Germannicus was it?
21:45 Lollia Junius: Hey
21:45 Torrey Philemon: Agrippa Posthumus had some kind of violent personality disorder too....
21:46 Morgana Flavius: Yes, that marriage "caroussel" in Augustus' family did make my head spin. And Tiberius seemed to have rebelled against what Augustus had planned for the whole family. An interesting guy, that Tiberius. And I wonder how much about him has been "cut out" by Augustus in his "history re-writing" along his reign.
21:46 Lollia Junius: His step-grandson the emperor Claudius did stammer. But he was an extremely smart man. A very erudite historian.
21:47 Torrey Philemon: I'm fascinated by Tiberius. Actually I like him but find him a puzzle. Like was he really ambitious? And what was the purpose of his exile? To get away from Julia? To stay out of the way of Gaius or Marius? To get out of politics?
21:47 Torrey Philemon: I mean Gaius or Lucius....
21:47 Lollia Junius: I dont think anything was cut out about Tiberius becuase of Augustus. If anything was cut out it was becuase of Tiberius himself. Juts look at the Sejanus matter. All those treason trials
21:48 Morgana Flavius: Mara, Claudius, the emperor, stammered and limped. He was consider a disgrace in the family. He was Antony's grandson!
21:49 Torrey Philemon: (By the way, there doesn't seem to be any books on Livia except this one which costs $95. If anyone's rich enough to order it, please let us know about it! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521583942/windweavwebandwi/
21:49 Lollia Junius: Theres a new one coming out by Anthony Barrett
21:49 Lollia Junius: He wrote Agrippina and Caligula
21:49 Torrey Philemon: Really? A new book about Livia?
21:50 Lollia Junius: Yeah, any time now
21:51 Morgana Flavius: Oh, but I don't think Augustus would ever allow the true story behind Tiberius' exiles to come out for posterity. Once Tiberius accepted the fate Augustus had prepared for him, he may also have followed the same policy of wiping out some aspects of his life.
21:51 Lollia Junius: I'm not so sure. There is some rumour that Augustus hated him
21:51 Torrey Philemon: There's a great movie epic possible in the Tiberius story........has any movie been made about him?
21:52 Lollia Junius: "I, Claudius"
21:52 Lollia Junius: That thing is 13 hours long so its like a movie about him during the parts of his reign and before. Several in fact
21:53 Morgana Flavius: Yes, maybe Augustus hated Tiberius, but he is not the man who would let that come between his political plans and his personal feelings.
21:53 Torrey Philemon: Apparently he didn't have the charismatic political personality that smiled at everybody and played favors....... but I wondering if he was really ambitious......or just felt like he couldn't escape his duty.....
21:53 Mara Durotriges: Augustus did choose everyone else possible over Tiberius and was only stuck with him after all his other chioces died
21:54 Lollia Junius: Well, he went off to Capri and never returned to Rome, and left Rome in the hands of Sejanus who killed people left and right
21:54 Morgana Flavius: Yes, in "I Claudius", R.Graves' book, there's a lot about Tiberius.
21:54 Torrey Philemon: Augustus did eventually embrace Tiberius ......
21:54 Lollia Junius: Drusus was his favourite son-in-law not Tiberius
21:54 Torrey Philemon: Some sources I read said that scholars today are acknowledging that Tiberius has been unfairly maligned and in fact had many strengths......it's a shame he ended up so paranoid.....
21:55 Torrey Philemon: It would have been interesting to have been able to eavesdrop on the marriage of Tiberius and Julia. What a fiasco!
21:55 Morgana Flavius: It is amazing how dinastical were Augustus plans and schemes. He was always trying to prepare someone from his direct or indirect (through Livia) family to succeed him politically.
21:56 Torrey Philemon: (Not unlike Cleopatra!)
21:56 Lollia Junius: All while claiming to restore the Republic
21:56 Lollia Junius: And that he was only Princeps, the first man
21:57 Torrey Philemon: Supposedly Drusus saw through him and indeed judged Augustus as being a dictator who only pretended to favor the Republic......
21:57 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Drusus was Augustus' favorite after Gaius and Lucius died. But Drusus died too, so Augustus was left only with Tiberius. Not even a direct memeber of his family... And with Julia's exile, there was not hope for more children on her side.
21:58 Morgana Flavius: Right, Lollia.
22:00 Morgana Flavius: It's incredible how Augustus managed to get things done his own way and even get his "successors" appointed by himself and making the Senate swallow all that dinastical activity as if it was a very Republican thing to do...
22:01 Torrey Philemon: He was a master of deception....
22:01 Mara Durotriges: He did everything so slowly, always patiently working his 'heirs' into the existing system
22:02 Mara Durotriges: his maxim - festina lente - make haste slowly
22:02 Morgana Flavius: Another thing about Augustus: he had a plan and sticked to it, regardless of his personal feelings. He wanted Marcellus (Octavia's son) to be his successor. When he died, he then prepared Julia's sons: Gaius and Lucius to succeed him. When they died (and he was rather old at that time) he could have given up, as there was no one from his own family anymore. But he didn't; he then picked Tiberius.
22:03 Torrey Philemon: I'm reminded of one of my favorite films, The Shawshank Redemption, and how the main character spent 20 years secretly building a tunnel under the jail. What quiet disciplined perseverance and determination......
22:03 Mara Durotriges: and speaking of Latin - what is the translation of the title of Chapter 6 - Totus Orbis Terrarum? My Latin is long gone
22:04 Morgana Flavius: This family thing was always present in Augustus plans.
22:04 Torrey Philemon: He apparently was absolutely furius when Tiberius went into exile. He viewed it as a complete betrayal. Next to his rage over Julia, this may have been his greatest bout of anger (or maybe we should also include his tirades against Antony)
22:04 Mara Durotriges: Yes, Torrey, those words aptly describe Augustus - disciplined, determined and perservering
22:05 Morgana Flavius: Sounds like "All Around the World" to me, Mara. But it's only a guess.
22:06 Torrey Philemon: I find the Apollo/ Dionysius polarity intriguing in regard to Augustus and Antony. Apparently Augustus consciously cultivated his own association with Apollo and the "Roman virtues" of Apollo and played up Antony's Dionysian qualities as anti-Roman.
22:07 Lollia Junius: Actaully Augustus appointed Postumus as joint heir with Tiberius, so he didnt give up on a blood relative even after Gaius and Lucius
22:08 Torrey Philemon: And Posthumus was apparently a real madman.
22:08 Lollia Junius: In fact they say Livia poisoned him becuase he was about to appoint Postumus again instead of Tiberius at last minute
22:09 Lollia Junius: I dont think we really know what Postumus did to get exiled
22:09 Lollia Junius: Wasnt the reason some character flaw or something
22:10 Torrey Philemon: I think he had fits of violence....
22:11 Morgana Flavius: Southern says in her book that Augustus always had a 'pair' of successors: Gaius and Lucius... Tiberius and Postumus... (I don't remember who was paired with Marcellus).
22:11 Torrey Philemon: There's also the question of who was responsible for his death --- Augustus or Tiberius. It's believed that Augustus had it in his will that Posthumus was to be killed as soon as he died.
22:12 Morgana Flavius: Postumus was involved with his sister Julia (Julia's daughter) in the plot who got them all exiled. Including (allegedly) our beloved Ovid.
22:13 Lollia Junius: Agrippa was paired with Marcellus
22:13 Lollia Junius: Cause when he was ill he pointed to Agrippa
22:15 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Lollia, I think it was Agrippa.
22:18 Torrey Philemon: Just found: "It is certain that Julia committed adultery, and this presented Tiberius with an immense problem, not only personal but also political. A law of Augustus himself required a husband to denounce a wife who committed adultery. But Julia was the Emperor's beloved child, and, as Augustus knew nothing of her vices, to denounce her would be to wound him, and that was dangerous."
22:19 Morgana Flavius: Overall, my impression about Augustus, after reading Southern's careful biography, is that he was a man who did not have time to enjoy his own life at his won time. He was always worriying about the future, his successors, etc.
22:23 Torrey Philemon: I agree Morgana, that Augustus doesn't give the impression of a man who knew how to relax and have a good time.....he seemed singlemindedly intent on his political agenda.
22:23 Mara Durotriges: Augustus was a gifted administrator and he spent his life administrating things - personally and privately - maybe he thought he was enjoying life
22:24 Torrey Philemon: Well he was a Virgo and he enjoyed life through his "work"! At least he had Livia......imagine what he would have been without her!
22:24 Morgana Flavius: Um... that's interesting, Mara. Maybe that kind of life was what in Augustus mind was "fun"!
22:25 Torrey Philemon: What amazes me is how carefully orchestrated his every move seemed to be.......and how so very conscious he was at all times of image. In contrast to Antony.....
22:25 Torrey Philemon: (Well we think it's fun to hang out at a keyboard in the evenings talking about dead Romans! Some people would question our ideas of fun too ! <-: )
22:26 Torrey Philemon: The Inimitable Midlivers Dead Romans Society......
22:26 Morgana Flavius: Yes, Livia is the only part of Augustus life that seemed to have "feeling".
22:27 Morgana Flavius: LOL Torrey!
22:27 Mara Durotriges: Which is why, Torrey, that I've come to think that Perhaps Antony was not the right man for the job - even though we got fond of him, I don't think he would have been able to administer the Empire that Rome had become as effectively as Augustus
22:28 Mara Durotriges: LOL also, Torrey! Yes, I don't have a lot of friends that would appreciate the finer points of our evenings here!
22:28 Torrey Philemon: I agree Mara, though I do prefer Antony to Augustus. But Augustus WAS a brilliant administrator.
22:29 Morgana Flavius: Maybe he could, Mara. Don't forget that he was very good at putting the right people on the right places in the Eastern part of the Empire. So much so that when Augustus took over, he did only very few changes.
22:31 Mara Durotriges: But the day-to-day administrative, boring jobs would have never held Antony's interest for long and that is what was needed - especially after all the upheaval of so many years of Civil Wars and all the governmental money going into that
22:31 Torrey Philemon: Antony was very capable in the eastern world, and also in regard to inspiring loyalty.....at least for most of his life. He was better on a personal level I think, and Augustus on a more impersonal level. Augustus however had the overall view or plan, and wasn't as easily distracted by personal desires.
22:35 Morgana Flavius: I agree with you, Torrey. A 100%.
22:37 Torrey Philemon: By the way, has anyone read the Williams book on Augustus? It was out of print for awhile but now it's available (I haven't read it but hear that it's good)
22:39 Torrey Philemon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1557283435/windweavwebandwi/
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