The imperial cult and the individual : the negotiation of Augustus' private worship during his lifetime at Rome
This dissertation argues for a reevaluation of the imperial cult in Rome. It demonstrates that worship of the living Augustus began in private acts which progressed into public rituals after his senate-decreed divinity in 14 CE. Scenes of private worship, preserved in architecture, poetry, and the city's topography, as well as private images of the emperor anticipate Augustus' public cult as a divus (deified emperor). The chapters show how the climate in Rome allowed for the private articulation of Augustus' living cult, and then address specific aspects of his worship: sacrifice, cult places, and cultic statues. This argument expands our understanding of Augustus' divinity in Rome to include worship of the vivus (living emperor), and demonstrates how this worship transitioned into public cult. No less importantly, it challenges lingering modern assumptions about the boundaries between divinity and humanity as these played out around the figure of the emperor in early imperial Rome.
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