‘In Rome myth was primarily a public and political tool.’ Do you agree with this statement?
For this essay I wanted to first look into the political aspects of early Rome and explore whether myth was primarily a political tool for power and wealth, starting with the foundation myths of Augustus, I came across a quote “Emperors exploited myths and mythical characters to promote their images and values” (Block 2 pg. 153) and wanted to see weather myth had any involvement in how politician’s first ruled early Rome. I will also look in to Emperor Nero and see how he used myth as a tool to gain public support from his people, and explore how myth had an impact on both men to gain political power and respect. I will then look into weather myth was primarily a public tool for different social groups such as the elite and non-elite citizens of Rome and how myth was used to justify their beliefs and status, or to see if myth had a different role to play within a city which was growing at a rapid rate.
Augustus rose to power largely because of his connection with Julius Caesar, who adopted his young relative. Before the age of twenty, Augustus had been named to the position of Consul which was the most powerful office in the Roman Republic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus). Augustus wanted peace and prosperity in his political career and used his heavily embellished link to Julius Caesar’s lineage in order to build his status as a “God” figure in the Roman Empire. “Augustus himself invested very heavily in the foundation myths, and repeatedly drew on the stories of Romulus and Aeneas in his imperial imagery.”(Block 2 pg. 108). He was able to overcome a number of obstacles in his path to gain control of the most powerful empire in the world buy using the strength of his army. The myth of the infants suckled by the she wolf became dominant during the reign of Augustus who claimed ancestry from Romulus. Augustus was adept at manipulating Rome 's foundation
Bibliography: Hughes J, Hope V. (2010) in A330 Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds. Block 2, Myth in Rome: power, life and afterlife. First published, 2009. Open University. Morford, M P O, Lenardon, R J. Sham, M. (2011) Classical Mythology (International 9th edition) New York and Oxford, Oxford University press (abbreviated to M&L) Primary sources Graves. R (trans) (1979 ) Gaius Tranquillius: The Twelve Casers, revised with an intro. By M. Grant, Harmondsworth, Penguin, pp. 218-20, 222-7, 246-7) (primary source 2.5 Suetonius, Nero’s entertainments) (Source: Sullivan, J Champlin, E. (2003). Nero, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, pp. 92-111, 126-32 and 200-2009. (Secondary source 2.2) Cameron, A From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia “Augustus” 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus. (Accessed 2 January 2013). Hub pages, Roman Emperor – Augustus, 2013, http://darkside.hubpages.com/hub/augustus (Accessed 7 January 2013) James Grout 1997-2013 (Accessed 14 January 2013) The Roman Vision: Chapter 18, Greek Myths and Roman realities