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The theme of this programme is how, in the absence of modern means of communication, a Roman emperor could project an image of himself and his rule. Professor Ferguson discusses the various forms o...f imperial propaganda, which included patriotic writing, the use of inscriptions, coinage, sculpture, and public works. The nearest equivalent to the printed word in the ancient world was the coinage, which passed through the hands of everyone in the Empire. Professor Ferguson examinesd the different ways in which coinage was used by the Julio-Claudian emperors and analyses the significance of the legends and representations on the toins. He goes on to describe such well known sculptures as the statue of Augustus at Prima Porta, the Ara Pacis, and also less familiar works, such as the altar from Carthage dedicated to the family of Augustus. The founding of new cities, the building of temples, arches, roads and aqueducts, all were used for propaganda purposes Professor Ferguson ends by looking in some detail at Hadrian's use of propaganda and, in particular, at the way in which he asserted the power of Rome in the provinces, and the culture of the provinces in Rome. The programme is lavishly illustrated and examples are drawn from all over the Empire.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A291, The early Roman empire and the rise of Christianity
Item code: A291; 02
First transmission date: 20-03-1974
Published: 1974
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:25
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Producer: Mary Hoskins
Contributor: John Ferguson
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Coinage; Propaganda; Roman Empire
Footage description: Opening montage of Roman coins, buildings, theatre, aqueducts. John Ferguson states the theme: how an Emperor projected an image of Imperial Rome throughout the Empire. He mentions literature and inscriptions. Shot of inscription on Temple of Rome and Augustus. Map shows locations of copies of this inscription. Ferguson describes the images on a number of coins from the reign of Tiberius, Claudius and Nero. These are listed in the broadcast notes. He considers sculpture: first the statue of Augustus at Prima Parta. Close up and description of the breast plate imagery. Second, the Altar of Peace (Ars Pacis) at Rome. Overall view and detail shots. Finally for comparison, a much cruder altar from Carthage. Provincial cities themselves were strong propaganda. Shots of the impressive remains at Lepsis Magna, in Tripolitania. Still shots of theatres at Orange in France and Ephesus in Turkey, of columms at Baalbek in the Lebanon and the caravan serais at Jerash in Jordan. Next he considers roads: a stretch of the Appian Way; a pair of milestones on the Via Priana. Map of the empire showing the road network. Aqueducts were an impressive mark of Roman civilisation. Shots of the Aqua Claudia near Rome, and a model reconstruction of a junction of aqueducts near the city. Stills of Hadrians aqueducts to Carthage, Segorvia aquaduct and the Pont du Gard. The three triumphal arches at Bara, Titus at Rome, and at Beneventium. Detail of the last. Finally some aspects of Hadrian's propaganda. A further selection of coins, listed in the broadcast notes. Stills of work be inaugurated: Jerash Arch, a bath in North Africa, Zaghanan aqueduct, Hadrians Wall, the Temple of Zeus at Athens, the Temple of Venus and Rome at Rome, the Pantheon, and his own mausoleum: Castel Sant Angelo. Details of his private villa at Tivoli show how be brought the empire to Italy as well as vice versa. Ferguson sums up to camera. Final shot of Augustus' statue.
Master spool number: 6HT/71225
Production number: 00525_3102
Videofinder number: 2558
Available to public: no