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Augustan Age

  The actual period of history known as the Augustan Age was the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus (27  BCE-CE 14), which was perceived both at the time and since as a Golden Age for literature, during which Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Livy and others all flourished. Somewhat self-admiringly, English writers of the 18th century described their own time as a second Augustan Age, claiming for themselves the same ‘Golden Excellences’ they recognized in the ancient Romans: stylistic elegance, trenchancy and taste. The chief writers involved were Alexander Pope (who coined the analogy with Augustan Rome), Butler, John Dryden, Samuel Johnson and Jonathan Swift, but the expressed ideals, and assumed virtues, of 18th-century Augustanism could also have been claimed by Diderot, Voltaire, or any other writers of the Enlightenment. KMcL  



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