"A city of brick": Visual rhetoric in Roman rhetorical theory and practice

Philosophy and Rhetoric 44 (2):171-193 (2011)
Perhaps none of the words Augustus, the first sole ruler of Rome who reigned from 27 BCE to 14 CE, actually said are quite as memorable as the ones Cassius Dio has attributed to him: "I found Rome built of clay and I leave it to you in marble" (1987, 56.30).1 Suetonius too discusses Augustus's building program, offering an alleged quote along with an explanation of his motivation: "Since the city was not adorned as the dignity of the empire demanded, and was exposed to flood and fire, he so beautified it that he could justly boast that he had found it built of brick and left it in marble" (1998, Aug.28.3). Though Suetonius's explanation is practical, Dio argues Augustus's "city of brick" had a more metaphoric or ..
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