Drawing on unexpected texts both ancient and modern, Space, Geography, and Politics in the Early Roman Empire offers startling insights into the character of Rome and its princeps-turned-emperor, Augustus. Claude Nicolet documents Roman expansion at the start of the early imperial period and explores how Romans came to map the world they knew and conquered. The roles of both the agrimensores, who worked in the state’s interest observing and recording new territories, and M. Vipsanius Agrippa, the sometime son-in-law of Emperor Augustus, are considered. Nicolet also presents the integral relations between territorial expansion and political expansion, as well as between propaganda cultivated in the national interest and propaganda designed to secure the status of the princeps as primus inter pares, first among equals.
“. . . thoughtful and thought-provoking, acute in its reasoning, . . . original, and admirably erudite.”
“The reader of this detailed geographical and administrative study will gain a fuller appreciation both of Augustus’ achievement in organizing the space of Rome’s empire and of the consequent durability of the empire and its later influence.”
“It is the great merit of Nicolet’s book that it makes one see very familiar things, like Tiberius’ survey, in a new light.”
—Journal of Roman Archaeology
Cover photo: Roman coin with a profile of Augustus (private collection).