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2017 | 20 | 5-43

Article title

Augustan Poets on the Roman-Parthian Treaty of 20 BC


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From the moment Rome established contacts with the Parthian empire in the 1st century BC, its relations with the eastern neighbour became one of the most important points of Roman foreign policy. Attempts to subjugate Parthia ended in Rome’s crushing defeat at Carrhae in 53 BC. Having taken over power in the Roman Republic, Octavian Augustus became much more active in his oriental policy, wishing to erase the shame brought upon Rome by the defeat. The peace treaty signed in 20 BC was the Emperor’s diplomatic success and was presented as a great triumph by the Roman propaganda. In this paper, I analyse several frag-ments referring to this agreement in the works of the Augustan poets Horace, Propertius and Ovid. The works, written over almost three decades, present this event from various perspectives. On the one hand, they show a strong intermixture of politics and literature, and on the other hand, great talent and artistic skill of the poets writing creatively about issues which were current in Rome at the time.






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