Massie's Augustus Chat Transcript
385 lines of discussion for August 28, 2000

PAGE 2, CONTINUED from previous page

22:40 Mara Durotriges: So what does anyone think about his deathbed speech - "Since well I've played my part, all clap your hands and from the stage dismiss me with applause" (this version from Suetonius) - Was it all an act?  Really or metaphorically?  Was Res Gestae the script of the play?
22:41 Lollia Junius: A lot of Romans seemed to have made comparisons like that
22:41 Lollia Junius: Life as farce. Like Nero's last words
22:42 Torrey Philemon: Wasn't he acting a lot of the time? Engineering what he said for a particular effect......
22:42 Morgana Flavius: How about Augustus' memoirs? The one referred to by Appian (which Massie tried to trick us all saying it was found somewhere in Macedonia in the 13th century)?
22:42 Lollia Junius: Who can know. I think it was do long for that
22:42 Mara Durotriges: I've got the Williams book and have skimmed through it - it's all written as letters, diaries, and excerpts from documents - the parts from 'Julia's diary' are interesting and I intend to read it all through, just got into those
22:42 Lollia Junius: His autobiography was found
22:43 Lollia Junius: The Res Gestae. Its fragmentary, but mostly there
22:43 Mara Durotriges: It's a good book but I think a lot of imagination is used
22:43 Morgana Flavius: Was Augustus more personal on those memoirs?
22:44 Mara Durotriges: from what I've gotten, the elusive Memoirs are lost.  The closest we can get is Appian, who supposedly wrote his account from them
22:44 Lollia Junius: No, it was basically about his acts, but he did have some introspection
22:44 Lollia Junius: No, they arent
22:44 Lollia Junius: We have it carved on a tablet
22:44 Lollia Junius: cause it was part of his will
22:45 Mara Durotriges: The Res Gestae was how Augustus wanted posterity to remember him - quite cleaned up and orderly - for public viewing since is was carved on a pillar
22:45 Torrey Philemon: Did you read Appian, Mara? I'd like to.....
22:45 Morgana Flavius: Again: after reading Southern, I'm convinced that all we will know about Augustus is what Augustus himself allowed to come out. Nothing more, nothing less than that.
22:46 Mara Durotriges: I agree with you, Morgana
22:47 Torrey Philemon: Morgana, would you be interested in reading the Williams book or do you feel done with Augustus?
22:47 Mara Durotriges: I don't have the Appian, Torrey, but I am interested.  I do have the Dio, roman history, and there's supposed to be a lot of references in there - and especially to the ladies.  I think it is of a more anecdotal nature than some
22:49 Torrey Philemon: Just curious where you all want to go from here. More on Augustus -- Appian, Dio, Williams......or......??
22:49 Morgana Flavius: Lollia, apart from the Res Gestae, Augustus wrote an earlier account of his life. And based on that (what we called his memoirs as opposed to the Res Gestae) Appian wrote his story.
22:49 Lollia Junius: Oh, okay
22:49 Torrey Philemon: Dio is supposed to be very imaginative, to read like soap opera.......
22:50 Mara Durotriges: I did read the Suetonius though.  Lots of interesting tidbits in there - like that he was afraid of thunder and lightening, he was very superstitious, that  he regularly put on exhibitions of strange and new wonders of the empire for the public education and enjoyment - like new animals - the first zoo?! 
22:50 Torrey Philemon: I'm still most interested in Antony and Cleopatra but running out of reading material (apart from some Weigall books which I did get). I also have the book the Power of Images in the Reign of Augustus but it's very boring.
22:51 Mara Durotriges: Well, I'm going to read the Williams since I have it, and then the Dio.  I'd like to get the Appian, just to see if the Memoirs come any closer - how I'd love to did those up in dsomebody's crumbling cellar!
22:52 Mara Durotriges: But we are rapidly approaching the end of this group of guys, I think
22:52 Mara Durotriges enters...
22:52 Torrey Philemon: Sounds good, Mara. Anyone else interested in Williams or Appian or Dio? I'm ready to spring for at least one of them.....
22:53 Mara Durotriges: Soemwhere you mentioned that M. George has a new book out on Troy. That sounds interesting
22:53 Morgana Flavius: Hum... I'd rather make a pause on Augustus by now. But I intend to come back to his time in Roman history and read more about it.
22:54 Mara Durotriges: And the new Livia book Lollia mentioned that will be out soon
22:54 Torrey Philemon: Oh but there is more to dig up Mara.......oh yes I also got hold of The Battle of Actium: The Rise and Triumph of Augustus Caesar. Now that's going to be interesting for us Actiumites.....
22:54 Mara Durotriges: I've never done the Colleen McCullough Rome ones either - but then I think you all have already read those?
22:54 Torrey Philemon: Yes I'd like to know about the new Livia book. I looked it up in an hour ago and didn't find it.
22:55 Lollia Junius: We should those, talk about the inaccuracies.
22:55 Mara Durotriges: Ack!! Actium!!
22:55 Torrey Philemon: Actually the Song of Troy is by McCullough. Someone on FabBib just mentioned reading it and I indicated I'd like to have a discussion on it. You have to get it at but that's a great source for historical novels not published in the U.S. and they ship FAST.
22:55 Lollia Junius: I read it on Barrett's website but I dont remember where it is
22:55 Lollia Junius: And it would be cool to talk about Marius and Sulla
22:56 Torrey Philemon: For Mara, it's ACKium.
22:56 Mara Durotriges: LOL!!!
22:56 Mara Durotriges: Yes, I got the Massie Antony really fast through them
22:58 Torrey Philemon: I ordered McCullough's Song of Troy with Massie's Antony and they both arrived very quickly (through UK)
22:58 Mara Durotriges: I'm also reading the Aenied - I've never read it - and you have Wonderful links for this Torrye - I hope you don't mind my looking
22:58 Torrey Philemon: (I see that also lists Massie's Tiberius, though it's temporarily out of stock)
22:59 Mara Durotriges: There's another book about Cassandra I read a long time ago - hold on - I'll go look
22:59 Torrey Philemon: Oh Mara, please do enjoy the Aeneid links. We also have somewhere links to our Aeneid chats about 1 1/2 years ago. Did you find the Aeneid forum (I forget where we had it, was it on Fab Bib somewhere?)
22:59 Morgana Flavius: LOL!
23:01 Torrey Philemon: Aeneid discussion is on the Fab Bib Calliope discussion board. (but most of us did NOT like Aeneas!)
23:02 Mara Durotriges: can't lay my hands on it - I've recently rearranged the shelves
23:02 Mara Durotriges: I've read only book one of it so far and I like it
23:02 Torrey Philemon: I'm   wondering what book we can all agree on reading. I'm open to Williams but Morgana is tired of Augustus. Do you all want to switch civilizations and centuries and go back to Troy?
23:02 Morgana Flavius: I'm interested in McCullough's "The Song of Troy".
23:03 Lollia Junius: I still think we should do "Masters of Rome"
23:04 Torrey Philemon: I think the FabBib Iliad discussion is still up....and transcripts from some of the Iliad chats....which makes for an interesting background to the Song of Troy.......Another interesting novel by the way is Sarah Franklin's Daughter of Troy, the story of the Trojan War from the point of view of Briseis (though I personally don't care to read it again) .
23:04 Morgana Flavius: Mara, the book you mentioned about Cassandra, was it not "The Firebrand" by M.Bradley?
23:04 Mara Durotriges: We could switch to Troy and whoever wants to do more on Augustus can post it rather than chat
23:05 Torrey Philemon: There are so many novels in the Masters of Rome series. I'm interested too Lollia but not in all of them. Each one is about 800 pages or so.......(I have Caesar's Women and intend to read that one)
23:05 Lollia Junius: The first one then
23:05 Mara Durotriges: yes!!!! thank you Morgana!!
23:06 Lollia Junius: Or the second. Something about Marius and Sulla
23:06 Morgana Flavius: Lollia, I would like to do Masters of Rome too. I just finished the first of the series, The First Man in Rome, and I liked it a lot.
23:06 Torrey Philemon: Mara and Lollia, are you members of Fab Bib? They're asking for members to indicate books they want to discuss on the board for next season.......Song of Troy has been mentioned. But FB discussions tend to be brief, and with only one chat at most per book.
23:06 Mara Durotriges: I do so hate not finding what I'm looking for - either on my shelves or in my head!
23:07 Mara Durotriges: Yes, I'm in Fab Bib, that's where I'm doing Aeneid
23:07 Lollia Junius: I'm not
23:07 Torrey Philemon: Those of you interested in Masters of Rome could create a forum board just devoted to that series.......A lot of people here at A.S. have read those books.....
23:08 Torrey Philemon: Lollia, are you interested in joining? Can you join more groups?
23:08 Lollia Junius: Yeah
23:08 Lollia Junius: "Song of Troy" is out of print
23:09 Mara Durotriges: I want to start at the beginning of the Masters of Rome - I like reading like that - but we don't have to chat on all of them - I can always post if I have anything to say, something I seem to put off doing...
23:09 Lollia Junius: Yes, but it would be cool to do a chat. Cause then anyone can come
23:09 Morgana Flavius: Marius and Sulla story begins in the first one; they are very good friends on this book. The second one is about how they become bitter enemies.
23:10 Mara Durotriges: And where shall we put all this - in Massie's Augustus?  That's misleading if anyone else stumbles upon us and has an interest
23:10 Lollia Junius: Its innaccurate. And I love to talk about that
23:10 Lollia Junius: Cause I love the period
23:10 Mara Durotriges: out of print?  I thought Torrey just got it a month ago - but there are lots of used places - Barnes and Noble is good for out of print  and so is Alibris and Powells
23:11 Torrey Philemon: Lollia, you can get Song of Troy here.....   Also I have an extra copy which I could sell. I bought several copies from
23:12 Mara Durotriges: an entrepreneur, Torrey?  LOL!
23:12 Morgana Flavius: "Song of Troy" is out of print in Amazon UK too?
23:12 Lollia Junius: Thats wierd that its avaiilable there
23:13 Torrey Philemon: It doesn't say out of print on the site.
23:15 Morgana Flavius: What's so innacurate in McCullough's books, Lollia?
23:15 Lollia Junius: Nearly everything
23:16 Lollia Junius: That why I need a chat to explain
23:16 Mara Durotriges: we could have a grand time picking them apart then - but why on earth did she write so innacurately when there's so much fact to build on ?
23:17 Morgana Flavius: One reason why I'd like to read the Masters of Rome series is that it gives a good background info on what could have led Antony, Augustus, etc. to do what they did regarding their political moves. I find McCullough very didactic without being boring.
23:17 Mara Durotriges: and so much scandal and inuendo in the primary sources to make an interesting story?
23:18 Torrey Philemon: Are there any major women figures in the first of the Masters of Rome series? I'm most interested in the role of women at this time....which is part of why I wasn't drawn to those books.
23:18 Morgana Flavius: and my impression is that she does a lot of research. The glossary on the back of her first book is interesting enough to be read as a separate book!
23:19 Mara Durotriges: I had to read a lot of Roman history synopses to put myself in the time and place to read the Augustus - I just didn't have the background to comprehend all of it - whatever they fed us in school either wasn't much or wasn't retained
23:20 Morgana Flavius: Unfortunately, Torrey, no major women characters in the first book. There is Aurelia, the mother of Caesar, but she's still very young and recently married. Caesar had not even been born in that first book.
23:20 Mara Durotriges: Unfortunately for us, in order to get much of a picture of the women, we must fish through all the men - since men were doing the writing
23:22 Lollia Junius: What about Julia and Julilla?
23:22 Lollia Junius: They steal the book (even though Julilla isnt real)
23:22 Morgana Flavius: Mara, that's why a book like The First Man in Rome is interesting. It does give you a good background info on how Roman Republic "worked" and explains why men like Caesar, Antony, Augustus came up and did what they did.
23:26 Morgana Flavius enters...
23:27 Morgana Flavius: Sorry, my browser crashed...
23:28 Torrey Philemon: (In regard to Song of Troy, I notice that Gaia Marius is reading it now....she mentioned it on the Fab Bib board. She might be interested in joining a discussion when we do that.......)
23:29 Lollia Junius enters...
23:29 Morgana Flavius: What puzzled me in McCullough's female characters in her first book of the Masters series is that she builds up a lot on them in the beginning and then these women simply slide into the shadows. For isntance, what difference does Julia make after she marries Marius? And Aurelia, after she marries Caesar's (future) father?
23:29 Lollia Junius: A lot. She built his career by her presence
23:29 Torrey Philemon: We seem to have several possible book directions here....Williams, Dio and Appian on Augustus.......McCullough on Song of Troy......  and McCullough's Masters of Rome series......
23:29 Mara Durotriges: Well, pick one!  I'll go along!
23:30 Lollia Junius: And Aurelia figueres very prominantly in the second book. even if she didnt in history
23:30 Mara Durotriges: I'm forever reading 20 things at one time!
23:31 Morgana Flavius: I guess that Julia (who is said to have lived through a very old age) and Aurelia will get more proeminence in the later books of the series. We know, for ex., that
23:32 Torrey Philemon: I don't mind going in several simultaneous directions to please everyone but am just afraid that will dilute our discussions and we'll only end up with 2 people per chat. It's really nice to have the four of us here.
23:32 Morgana Flavius: Caesar worshiped his mother Aurelia. So maybe there's more on her in the subsequent books.
23:33 Torrey Philemon: Why don't we take a vote. What's your first choice, Williams on Augustus, Song of Troy, or a Masters of Rome book?
23:33 Morgana Flavius: Well, a lot to discuss in a chat about the Master series. *s*
23:35 Morgana Flavius: I'm selfishly trying to convince everyone to do the Master series. Appian and Dio would be a bit tiresome, I think. We read a lot of what they said in Southern's books.
23:35 Mara Durotriges: My first choice is the Williams.  I too am getting a bit tired of Augustus but I would like to 'finish' so to speak and it's short and an easy read, I think, especially while all the research is still fresh in my mind
23:36 Torrey Philemon: I think the Master series deserves its own bulletin board. Perhaps you can engineer that Morgana since I'm not really interested in it.......A lot of people are though.
23:36 Morgana Flavius: The Song of Troy would switch the subject entirely, but I would do it too, as it is one of my favorite subjects too.
23:36 Torrey Philemon: My first choice is Song of Troy but I'm also open to Williams. We're spread out in different directions here!
23:37 Mara Durotriges: I can do the Dio and Appian on my own, for my own entertainment. 
23:37 Torrey Philemon: I'm not necessarily inclined to switch the subject immediately ok  waiting a few months on Song of Troy. We could  hang loose for several months with each of us reading what interests us and sharing our perceptions.....
23:37 Morgana Flavius: I'd like to finish Augustus too, Mara, but I feel that if I go back in time, I will understand Augustus and the times after him a bit better.
23:38 Mara Durotriges: I can also read the Williams for myself  - I was always reading for myself before I found AS!  I would like the Song of Troy 9 my, I do seem to be flexible here...!)
23:38 Torrey Philemon: Frankly I'm experiencing intense separation anxiety in regard to Cleopatra and Antony.....don't want to leave them totally behind yet. <-:    Maybe I'll have an Actium party on September 2nd  !!
23:39 Morgana Flavius: Williams has a lot of letters from Julia, Octavia and other characters we did not read much about, right?
23:39 Torrey Philemon: Why don't we each pursue the readings that interest us on the background of the Caesars and/or Augustus by Williams for another six weeks or so and start the Song of Troy later in October?
23:40 Mara Durotriges: Yes, I agree with that too, Morgana.  I don't have a lot of Roman background - but my main interest is Greece and I'm jumping around in history so much - my poor little brain is challenged - ya'll pick, I'll read!
23:40 Morgana Flavius: I'll mark Sep. 2nd on my agenda. I'd like to celebrate Actium somehow. An emotional need. *s*
23:40 Mara Durotriges: And I find that once I get into the later emperors, I am not as interested, I don't know why
23:41 Torrey Philemon: Ok Morgana, we'll rendezvous by sea on Saturday night!  Don't try to escape.....
23:41 Mara Durotriges: Yes!  An Actium party!
23:42 Mara Durotriges: LOL, Torrey!
23:42 Morgana Flavius: Does Amazon UK features Williams book, Torrey? Otherwise, it would take me ages to get it from Amazon USA...
23:42 Torrey Philemon: Generally I'm not inclined toward roleplaying but an Actium roleplay could be goodness, guess what I'm doing that day? I'm taking part in schooner race in Gloucester Massachusetts and a mock battle between sailboats. Seriously. It's a once a year event, this weekend.
23:42 Mara Durotriges: Ok. We shall pursue the current topic til Oct and then do the Troy?
23:43 Torrey Philemon: An ACKTIUM party Saturday night! (Morgana, I'll look about
23:43 Morgana Flavius: LOL! (I don't remember the title of William's book)
23:43 Mara Durotriges: how appropriate, Torrey!
23:44 Mara Durotriges: Augustus.  What else?!
23:44 Mara Durotriges: That's how I came on it - looking for the Massie
23:44 Torrey Philemon: yes has it.
23:46 Morgana Flavius: Wow, Torrey! A mock naval battle on Actium anniversary day is THE celebration! Go for it!
23:46 Torrey Philemon: Morgana and Lollia, the Roman history email list at is discussing the Masters of Rome series one book at a time, I think one per month. They're on the second book now I think.
23:47 Torrey Philemon: Actually   I looked at my calendar and the event is Sunday September 3rd, but that's close enough!
23:48 Morgana Flavius: Ok, I'll order the Williams book plus the Song of Troy from Amazon UK. And that's my allowance for the following two months!
23:49 Torrey Philemon: i've got to order the williams book too. Ok, seems like we can finish Augustus with the Williams book. Lollia, are you still with us and are you interested?
23:50 Morgana Flavius: Lollia is still with us?
23:51 Morgana Flavius: I find those boards at egroups so impersonal... I'd rather discuss the Masters with people like... us! *S*
23:52 Mara Durotriges: I'm not familiar with egroups
23:52 Lollia Junius: I'm here
23:52 Lollia Junius: I stillw ant to have a chat
23:53 Morgana Flavius: Anyway, I will also continue the Masters series, eventually. And I'd like to discuss the innacuracies with Lollia and other people who read it too. Eventually. *S*
23:56 Lollia Junius: Cool :)
23:57 Morgana Flavius: Would you come to chat with us about Williams book, Lollia? And then we could do the Masters series after that?
23:57 Torrey Philemon: I think you "masters" people ought to start a discussion thread on that series somewhere in Rome since there are a lot of people who have read it........I'm sure you could get more input.
23:58 Lollia Junius: Sure :)
23:58 Mara Durotriges: You're probably right, Torrey - where would be a good place?  I have to get the books first...
23:59 Torrey Philemon: Watch out folks we're going to have the midnight switcheroo any moment now. Your screen is going to go blank.......
23:59 Mara Durotriges: Ack!


00:02 Torrey Philemon: The Encylopaedia Romana board where we have the Massie's Augustus discussion is an appropriate place for the Masters of Rome series.
00:02 Morgana Flavius: ...tium!
00:02 Torrey Philemon: tium?  
00:03 Torrey Philemon: tium tum tum tium tum tum watch me beat on my drum tium tum tum
00:03 Morgana Flavius: Same for Williams book, Torrey?
00:04 Mara Durotriges: oh dear, pandemonium...
00:04 Torrey Philemon: Discuss Williams books on the Massie's Augustus board? Yes?
00:05 Morgana Flavius: LOL! I was just following up on Mara's last sentence. When you said that at midnight the screens would turn blanck she wrote "Ack"... and I wrote "tium".
00:06 Mara Durotriges: I remember your 2 hour theory, Torrey, for the brains to revert to silliness - looks like we've overcome that and made mental acuity last for 3!!  Does that mean...what?  We're beating the race with alzheimers?!
00:06 Torrey Philemon: Your ACK and TIUM got separated on different days!  <-: 
00:06 Torrey Philemon: I think that at midnight we all turn into pumpkins!   <-:
00:06 Mara Durotriges: LOL, Morgana!
00:07 Mara Durotriges: Pumpkins can't possibly think as well as we do - even at our worst!
00:07 Torrey Philemon: Isn't it a character in the Peanuts cartoons who says ACK a lot? Charlie Brown?
00:07 Morgana Flavius: We can create a Williams thread in the Encyclopedia board. Even if it will not have many posts.
00:07 Mara Durotriges: I don't look good in orange anyway.
00:08 Mara Durotriges: no, it's Bill the Cat from Berke Breathed's whatever he called it, can't think of it now
00:09 Mara Durotriges: always acking up hairballs - remember the one with the penguin in ti too?
00:09 Morgana Flavius: LOL Torrey and Mara! I'm starting to feel like a pumpkin already! I must go to bed. Tomorrow's a working day! ACK!!!
00:09 Torrey Philemon: Yes me too, getting sleeeeeeepy
00:10 Mara Durotriges: Yes, enough for now.  We've digressed.  Goodnight then!
00:10 Torrey Philemon: Ok I'll log on sometime on the night of September 2nd and look for ACKtium celebrants. Morgana, you and I must at least honor the day!! ..........Goodnight all!
00:11 Morgana Flavius: Could make a quick recap, Torrey? About when and what we're going to reading next?
00:11 Mara Durotriges: I'll come and be the party pooper!
00:12 Torrey Philemon: oh, looks like we're all going to read what we want the next few weeks and post anything relevant....then have a discussion of Williams after we've had a chance to read it - maybe in a month.....then do Song of Troy..... while some of you might also in the meantime discuss some of the Masters of Rome books...... .
00:13 Mara Durotriges: Night Morgana and Torrey!
00:15 Morgana Flavius: Night ladies!
00:16 Torrey Philemon exits...
00:16 Morgana Flavius exits...

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