Book reviews: (Mis)reading Augustus

Karin Boklund-Lagopoulou

Punctum, 4(2): 109-112, 2018
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2018.0022


This is rather an odd book. It is written by a classicist, but approaches its topic largely as a thematic study in comparative literature or popular culture. It begins with an examination of interpretations of Octavian Augustus, the first Roman emperor, dating from his own lifetime or shortly thereafter, then skips to mid- and late-20th-century novels in which Augustus figures directly or indirectly, and finishes with depictions of Augustus in cinema and television from the 1960s to the early 21st century. The author herself calls it a ‘study in cultural history’ (p. 25), which is accurate enough if we take it as referring to the history of western European and American culture of the late 20th century.

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