Caesar’s Comet, the Julian Star, and the Invention of Augustus

  title={Caesar’s Comet, the Julian Star, and the Invention of Augustus},
  author={Nandini B. Pandey},
  journal={Transactions of the American Philological Association},
  pages={405 - 449}
  • Nandini B. Pandey
  • Published 26 November 2013
  • History
  • Transactions of the American Philological Association
Octavian is credited with turning a comet seen in 44 b.c.e. into a symbol of Julius Caesar’s divinity and using it to advance his own political aims. Yet historical evidence argues against this account. Moreover, representations of the sidus Iulium (Julian star) on coins and in poetry adopt diverse and autonomous perspectives on the princeps. The idea that Augustus circulated the sidus as part of an image campaign seems instead to originate with Ovid, whose deification narrative at… 

Figures from this paper

Famous Last Words: Caesar’s Prophecy on the Ides of March*

Abstract Shakespeare’s Et tu, Brute has been influential in shaping a tradition that interprets Caesar’s last words as an expression of shock at Brutus’ betrayal. Yet this interpretation is not

The Poetics of Power in Augustan Rome

materiality in the Tristia to which F. draws attention; indeed, Ovid’s claim in Tr. 3.3 that his libelli will provide him with a greater memorial than the inscription he claims to want makes an

The Prodigies of 17 b.c.e. and the Ludi Saeculares

summary: Julius Obsequens, a fourth-century epitomizer of Livy, records three prodigies for the year 17 b.c.e.: a lightning strike against a tower near the Colline Gate, an earthquake at the villa of

Political Power and Victory Coins in the Visual Propaganda of the Principatus Period

Coins, which were part of daily life in Principate like during the Republic as they were used by common people in transactions or the state to pay the salaries of soldiers, were also one of the most

Divinização Heróica e Catasterismos na Poesia de Virgílio: Polissemia e Apropriações Poéticas do Cometa/Estrela de César

Resumo: O tema da divinização heroica, tanto de Hércules quanto de Enéias e Rômulo, ganhou amplo espaço na literatura augustana, em parte, graças à memória da consecratio de César, associado a um

The Transformations of the Writing Body: Rhetoric, Monumental Art, and Poetry in Ovid’s Metamorphoses

This article analyses the power dynamics that Ovid stages in the Metamorphoses as interplay of rhetoric, monumental art, and poetry. It argues that (1) the transformations of gods can be read as a



Julius Caesar in Augustan Rome

IN 1843, HORACE'S SwISS COMMENTATOR Johann Kaspar von Orelli noted in an obiter dictum that the Augustan poets made little fanfare over the name of Julius Caesar. He assumed that they had shied away

The Gods in Epic: Poets and Critics of the Classical Tradition

Abbreviations Introduction 1. The Critics: beginnings, and a synthesis 2. Apollonius' Argonautica 3. From Greece to Rome: Naevius and Ennius 4. Vergil's Aeneid 5. Ovid's Metamorphoses 6. Epic of

The Power of Image-Makers: Representation and Revenge in Ovid Metamorphoses 6 and Tristia 4

Abstract This essay focuses on the competing representational projects of poet and emperor as represented (or polemically misrepresented) in Ovid9s poetry. I begin by developing two readings of the

The lost memoirs of Augustus : and the development of Roman autobiography

Cato and the origins of the memoir (Tim Cornell) Was there a genre of the memoir? Or, Did Augustus know what he was doing? (Christopher Pelling) Octavian the runaway: defending a military reputation

The dioscuri and ruler ideology

This article discusses the ideological use of Castor and Pollux in the succession policy during the Imperial period with special reference to an evaluation of the Augustan rededication of the temple

Dirty Linen, Fabrication, and the Authorities of Livy and Augustus

At 4.20.5–11, Livy famously interrupts his narrative to report hearing that Augustus had discovered an inscribed linen corselet in the Temple of Jupiter Feretrius. The inscription, Livy tells us he

Return to Sender: the rhetoric of nomina in Ovid's tristia: the rhetoric of nomina in Ovid's tristia

As Betty Rose Nagle has remarked, Ovid's exile poetry deploys proper names within a kind of economy: ‘Ovid immortalises his own name by publicising it and exhorting his friends and readers to keep it

The imperial cult in the Latin West: Studies in the ruler cult of the western provinces of the Roman Empire

Open worship of the Roman Emperor with sacrifice, priests, altar and temple was in theory contrary to official policy in Rome. The cult of the living emperor by less direct means, however, might be

Rumour and Renown: Representations of Fama in Western Literature

1. Introduction 2. Hesiod and Homer: Virgilian beginnings 3. Virgil's Fama 4. Fame and defamation in the Aeneid 5. Ovid: Metamorphoses 6. Later epic: Lucan, Statius, Valerius Flaccus, Nonnus 7. Roman

The emperor in the Roman world: 31 BC-AD 337

This book offers a large scale reassessment of the function of Roman emperor over three centuries (from Augustus to Constantine) and of the social realities of this exercise of power. Concentrating