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The Alternative Augustan Age$
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Josiah Osgood, Kit Morrell, and Kathryn Welch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190901400

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190901400.001.0001

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African Alternatives

African Alternatives

(p.147) 10 African Alternatives
The Alternative Augustan Age

Josiah Osgood

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores Africa, the province that Augustus never visited, and how its historical associations, as well as natural resources, empowered Augustus’ contemporaries. In the civil wars of the 40s, Africa emerged as a major base of resistance, first to Julius Caesar, then to the triumvirs. Memories of the Punic Wars, in which Africa and Italy dueled for control of the Mediterranean world, were reawakened and informed the actions of commanders. A legacy of the civil wars was the opening up of new opportunities for Romans in Africa. Governors, including T. Statilius Taurus and L. Cornelius Balbus, used it to elevate their profiles. Vergil added to the mystique of Africa, making it a uniquely dangerous rival to (Roman) Italy and closely associated with Rome’s imperial destiny. Late in Augustus’ principate, Africa supplied senators with wealth, unique chances for military honors, and opportunities to initiate their sons in traditional martial culture.

Keywords:   Africa, civil war, Punic Wars, Lucius Cornelius Balbus, Titus Statilius Taurus, Vergil, military culture, Rome

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