Describe in detail Augustus’s use of the visual arts as instruments of propaganda and list comparable examples of the arts used for political purposes in recent times.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Augustus rebuilt many temples and had many statues of himself and coinage created both in military uniform and in his role as pontifex maximus. These portraits functioned as propaganda both to emphasize his military prowess and also to show his legitimacy as a Roman magistrate and a divinely authorized head of state.

There are many similar modern examples. Mayawati, a dalit who rose to power in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh commissioned many statues of herself and monuments to assert a sort of dalit pride and emphasize their progress in society and politics. The Arc de Triomphe in Paris deliberately recalls Roman triumphal arches and was intended to serve as propaganda for Napoleon's reconfiguring France as empire and Napoleon echoing the role of the Caesars who turns a disfunctional republic into a successful imperium.


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