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6 Walls

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Chapter Summary

The suicide of Cleopatra soon after the battle of Actium in 31 BCE marked the end of an era, for she was the last of the Hellenistic rulers; that of Antony similarly signaled an end to the preceding decades of civil war, although this would have been less immediately apparent to contemporaries. With one higher authority established, the risks and rewards of officeholding were lower; those of attempting favor were correspondingly higher. The literature of the Augustan era teems with references to Romulus. As a new political culture emerged with Augustus, the significance and semantics of Roman mythic history underwent a shift as well. In the 'vulgate' tradition of Remus' death, one can see that Remus mocks the walls for being too weak to resist an enemy attack. The walls, rather than being strengthened by Remus' death, are proven: they can indeed resist attack.

Keywords: Augustan era; civil war; Cleopatra; Hellenistic rulers; Remus; Roman mythic history; Romulus



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