Reading After Actium

Vergil's Georgics, Octavian, and Rome
Christopher Nappa
Examines the role of one particular reader of Vergil's Georgics, Octavian, and the political questions surrounding his career


Reading after Actium is a study of Vergil's Georgics, a didactic poem ostensibly about farming but in fact a brilliant exercise challenging readers to develop a broader perspective on the basic problems and the dangers of human life. Octavian is treated as one of the poet's students and given the opportunity to learn lessons in handling power, in controlling Rome's vast resources, and in preventing the bloody cycle of civil war from beginning again. Most of all the Georgics asks Octavian to consider what is involved in assuming godlike power over his fellow citizens.

Reading after Actium provides an introduction to the history of scholarship surrounding the Georgics and the political questions surrounding Octavian and his career. Nappa gives a book by book analysis of the entire poem, and a conclusion that draws together the themes of the whole. Reading after Actium will appeal to students and critics of Vergil and other Augustan Literature as well as those of didactic poetry and its traditions. Students of Roman history and politics should read this as well.

Christopher Nappa is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Minnesota.

Praise / Awards

  • "[Reading After Actium] is extremely usable in the classroom both from the point of view of the content and as a tool to teach students how to gather, assemble, and analuze interdisciplinary sources."
    The Classical Outlook: Journal of The American Classical League

  • "There have been other good book-length treatments of the Georgics in recent years but there is certainly space for this admirable newcomer. Every discussion is sensitive, thoughtful and well-nuanced. There is a great deal of illumination here, and teachers at all stages will find it valuable and illuminating."
    —James Morwood, The Journal of Classics Teaching

Look Inside

Copyright © 2005, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted March and April 2005.

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Product Details

  • 306 pages.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02583-1

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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