Domitian’s Rome and the Augustan Legacy
Sponsored by University of Missouri, Columbia
Friday, September 1, 2017 - 5:00pm to Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 8:00pm

University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

CFP Deadline: 
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Domitian’s Rome and the Augustan Legacy

September 1-2, 2017

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Organizers: Raymond Marks (Classical Studies) & Marcello Mogetta (Art History & Archaeology)


In the wake of Nero’s fall and the civil wars of 68-69 CE, the Flavian emperors (Vespasian, Titus, Domitian) took various measures to bring stability to Rome and to legitimize their new dynasty. One such measure was to affiliate themselves with the legacy of the emperor Augustus and to suggest thereby that the new Flavian Rome marked a return to her Augustan past. The emperor Domitian (81-96 CE) was especially eager to cultivate this connection. Among his efforts to promote moral restoration, itself an “Augustan” preoccupation, he renewed Augustus’ lex Iulia and celebrated the ludi saeculares. His building program included the so-called Forum Transitorium, adjacent to the Forum Augusti, and a temple to the Gens Flavia on the Quirinal, which was to house a family mausoleum, presumably on the model of Augustus’ in the Campus Martius. Further illustrations of his “Augustanism” may be found in other media (e.g, portraiture, coinage) and in other gestures (e.g., his Egyptophilia). Domitian’s interest in the Augustan age does not stand alone, but is matched by that of the Latin literature of the period, especially its poetry. In epic, Statius’ Thebaid and Silius’ Punica owe a profound debt to Virgil’s Aeneid – the former famously acknowledges this in his epilogue, in fact – and the influence of Ovid’s Metamorphoses is not inconsiderable as well; one might think here of Statius’ Achilleid, in particular. Works such as Statius’ Silvae and Martial’s epigrams draw extensively on Horace and the elegiac poets of the Augustan age and thus bear witness to a renewed interest in “smaller genres” of that period. One might also look just beyond Domitian’s reign to authors such as Martial (in his post-Domitianic epigrams), Pliny the Younger, and Juvenal, whose assessments of the emperor testify to his emulation (failed in their view) of Augustus.


This conference seeks papers that explore the Augustan legacy in the age of Domitian in the hope of better understanding the extent and nature of that legacy, the mechanisms of its appropriation, and how it shapes Domitianic culture more broadly.


Topics might include:


- representations of the emperor/power

- politics, governance, and legislative practice

- religion, society, and morality

- art, architecture, ekphrasis

- literary and artistic patronage

- allusion and intertextuality

- interaction between texts and material culture

- reception in Nervan and Trajanic literature


We appreciate papers whose focus is on history, material culture, or literature, but would be especially grateful for papers that explore intersections between them, as our goal is to promote discussion across scholarly disciplines as much as possible. Speakers will be given a 30-minute time-slot with the expectation that presentations will be roughly 20 minutes in length; the remaining time will be given to questions. Abstracts (one page, 300-350 words) and questions should be submitted to Raymond Marks ( The deadline for the submission of abstracts is March 1, 2017.

Contact Information
Raymond Marks


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