* Caius and Lucius presided over games including one where 260 lions were killed in the Circus Maximus which was built by the first Etruscan king of Rome Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.
* BTW if you go to Rome today, you can see The Obelisco Flaminio, now in the Piazza del Popolo, which was once part of the dividing barrier (spina) at the Circus Maximus.
* And at some stage the Circus Flaminius, ‘built,’ by Gaius Flaminius in 221 BC, was flooded and turned into a small lake where 36 crocodiles were slaughtered, maybe to commemorate the victory in Egypt.
* I bet old Perdiccas would have enjoyed that sight.
* Humans were also killed, as the gladiatorial games were again staged in the Saepta.
* Ten year old Agrippa Posthumus rode in the Trojan Games.
* BTW, when I was at the Met in NY recently with Tony and Alex, we saw the frescoes from the walls of Agrippa Posthumus’ villa in Naples.
* But when a couple of young guys were injured from falling off their horses, including the grandson of Asinius Pollio, Augustus stopped celebrating games were young guys could get hurt.
* One of the most impressive games held was the naval battle of Augustus.
* A huge artificial lake was built on the banks of the Tiber, filled with water from an aqueduct, and they recreated the Battle of Salamis from 480 BCE, when the Greeks defeated the Persians.
* Augustus later boasted that altogether ‘thirty beaked warships, triremes or biremes, and many more smaller vessels fought. Around 3,000 men fought, not including the rowers.’
* 200 years later, Dio said he could still see some of the structures built for this event.
* Dio also says the Greeks won the fight, which makes it sound like perhaps it was a real fight, not a mock one.
* By remembering the Athenians in their heyday, when they were a quasi-democracy, Aug might have been trying to present himself still has the chosen leader, reminding everyone that he wasn’t a king.
* Which of course he was.
* But he also had two famous paintings and several statues of Alexander in his Forum, so he wasn’t trying to position himself as any particular kind of great leader.
* He loves them all.
* Of course the naval battle was also a reminder of his great victory at Actium.
* Both battles could be portrayed as the the victory of the civilised west over the barbarians of the east.
* Bringing such volumes of water to the city to stage a mock naval battle was in itself a spectacular engineering triumph.
* But we should also consider the animals.
* The lions were presumably brought from Africa.
* They needed to be trapped, secured, transported to the sea, and then shipped, all without the aid of a tranquillizer dart.
* The crocodiles must have been captured on the Nile and then transported to Italy.
* These exotic creatures were symbolic of the power of an empire that could govern such distant lands and bring such creatures to be viewed by the Roman crowd: the world was plundered for entertainment.
* The crocodiles also represented Egypt, and in their hunting the Roman audience were provided with a narrative of Augustan power which ran from the conquest of Egypt to the dynastic triumph of the Augustan family.
* The audience was invited to join together in a communal celebration of empire, conquest, Rome, and the Augustan family.
* He wanted his memory to be associated with all of the greatest glories of the past.
* He even praised the memory of Cato, as someone who wanted to preserve the state.
* Forgetting that he was the mortal enemy of Julius and even ripped out his own guts so he wouldn’t have to live under Julius’ rule.
* We can just imagine what Cato would have thought about Augustus.
* But now he’s just remembered as a man of great virtue.
* In a classic move, he rehabilitated the memories of JC’s bitterest enemies, like Pompey and Cato, long dead and unable to protest, and used them to serve his own purposes.
* Like the Catholics did with St Francis of Assisi.
* If they had their flaws, well all the better for making him look good.
* Just like American politicians today use the memory of MLK.
* He was an implacable enemy of the military-industrial complex, and would have been outspoken today against both Democrats and Republicans.
* But his memory has been sanitised.
* It’s often claimed Augustus, as he got older, wanted to distance himself from JC.
* But he was always Caesar Augustus, finished JC’s projects, and celebrated his Julian ancestry.
* He’s elevating himself and his family to the center of public life, interweaving his personal achievements with the greater good of Rome.
* He may have spoken less about JC in his later years, but that’s a natural progression for any Roman aristocrat.
* At the beginning of your career, when you haven’t accomplished much, you need to talk a lot about your heritage.
* But once you’ve made your way up the cursus honorum, you don’t have to rely on that as much.
* Your own deeds speak for themselves.
* Aug’s victories and achievements now far surpassed those of JC.
* JC wasn’t forgotten or suppressed, but his deeds didn’t need to be paraded.
* JC’s statues were still everywhere.
* It was JC who had raised the Julii from obscurity to prominence.
* He was the man!
* Writing of history faded away under Augustus but it wasn’t actively suppressed.
* The men who would normally have written about recent history, the Senators, probably came from families whose actions during the civil wars they would have preferred to forget.
* And they also relied on Augustus’ favour, so they spent more time just flattering him.
* Drusus’ younger son Claudius expressed a desire to write about the civil wars, but was talked out of it by Livia and his mother Antonia.