Classical Association Talk

A small group of UC5 and SFC girls, along with several of the Classics Department, attended a talk on whether Augustan statues could have been seen as propaganda.

This interesting lecture was given by Dr Peter Stewart from Oxford University, who first explained the enormous effect Emperor August had on Rome. This, as we discovered, included the restoration of temples, the building of fire and flood defences and the erection of monuments. However the most notable aspect of his reconstruction was his material of choice, marble, which allowed him to look back to the buildings of the Hellenistic period.

The three main topics that were covered were the Forum of August with a statue showing the deified Julius Caesar, the Ara Parcis Augustae and the Prima Porta statue of Augustus. All of these, at first glance, would seem to be key examples of propaganda at use in the ancient world.

However, as revealed by Dr Stewart, the 21st century idea of propaganda is extremely hard to apply to Classical civilisations. This is due to the fact that the Romans did not have a Ministry of Propaganda, mass communication or official spin doctors.

This talk was enjoyed immensely and was a promising start to this new cycle of lectures.

Isabella Green (SFC1)