In this recording of a Documentary about Dark Age

For three days, the great capital of Caesar and Augustusis ravaged by its unwelcome guests, the stunning architectural marvels that stood for centuries are buried to ground, Germanic slaves rise up to enslave their masters

I have 3 questions about it

  1. Does Caesar and Augustus refer to the same person? if so why use 'and' between the two in this recording?

  2. Does the great capital refer to the capital city or properties.

  3. Why the narration use simple and present tense to describe the things that happened in the past?

  • 2
    Please ask one question per post, not three in one.
    – simchona
    Sep 5, 2011 at 13:49

2 Answers 2

  1. The author probably intends you to understand the first two of the Julio-Claudian autocrats: Gaius Julius Caesar, who was life dictator; and his adoptive son Gaius Octavius Thurinus (who also took the name Gaius Julius Caesar at adoption, and was later known as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus), the first Emperor. (He probably picks them more because he believes his audience will have heard of them than because they coincide with the pinnacle of Roman power or the pinnacle of the city of Rome's glory, because they don't. According to the historian Suetonius, Augustus could justifiably boast that he had found Rome as a city of brick and left her as a city of marble. That rather weighs against the architectural marvel of Rome under Julius Caesar. In fact, many of the great architectural marvels were built by later Emperors).

  2. The city.

  3. Probably for two reasons. Firstly, and more importantly, the present is often used for dramatic effect; it immerses the reader in the events. Secondly, it's simpler to write in the present than in the past.

  • You might want to emphasise that the author refers to the two distinct emperors, as examples of the former glory of Rome. Sep 5, 2011 at 15:11
  • @Cerberus, emphasised, along with a suitable disclaimer. Sep 5, 2011 at 15:41
  • @Peter Taylor Great explanation Learned a lot Thnanks
    – mko
    Sep 6, 2011 at 12:11
  1. No, Cesar and Augustus were two distinct rulers of Rome
  2. The great capital should refer to Rome here
  3. The present is used to describe the state of Rome at the time of narration, the past tense is used to describe what Rome used to be before the uprise of the slaves
  • You're right. I should have chosen "ruler" instead of emperor.
    – Raku
    Sep 6, 2011 at 6:34
  • 2
    @Raku, The slave uprisings took place before Caesar and Augustus. The text is more probably referring to the sack of Rome by Alaric (a Visigoths) in 410 or by Geiseric (Geiseric) in 455. Sep 6, 2011 at 11:04
  • @Raku +1 for good explanation of the use of present tense in this context
    – mko
    Sep 6, 2011 at 12:12

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