One of the main postulates of the Christian understanding of history is denying that any historical event is accidental. Rather, history is unfolding according to the divine plan for humankind. This holds true not only for the Old Testament events, but also for secular history, which was ‘Christianised’ by Christian authors. For this reason, the New Testament’s passing reference to Emperor Octavian Augustus in the Gospel account of Christ’s birth (Luke 2:1), did not remain unnoticed by later Christian writers.

Focusing on the evidence of Byzantine chronicles, church rhetoric and hymnographic writings, the aim of my paper is to show how the Byzantine authors used references to Emperor Augustus especially in the evolving relationship between church and state from the fourth to the ninth centuries. The Byzantine treatment of the first Roman emperor will be scrutinised in relation to three critical periods of Byzantine history, namely, the formative stage of the Christian empire in the first half of the fourth century, its peak in the sixth century, and the era of the imperial revival in the ninth century.

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

Event details

  • The seminars take place at 4pm, in the Michie Building (09), Room 536
  • Seminars are also on Zoom. Send an email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( for the link.
  • Upcoming seminars can be found here.
  • Please be aware that we are still operating under Covid-19 regulations during public events. Masks are no longer required at UQ locations - however, UQ strongly encourages mask wearing when physical distancing is not possible. UQ strongly encourages all campus attendees to be up to date with vaccinations. And finally, those who are feeling unwell, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 7 days or have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 7 days, are asked not to attend this seminar.
  • For those attending in person, if you would like to join us for drinks and/or dinner afterwards at UQ’s St. Lucy's from 5:15 pm, please RSVP by email to Duncan Keenan-Jones ( by 9am on the day of the seminar.
  • Please also contact Duncan Keenan-Jones should you have questions about the event.

The Friends of Antiquity, an alumni organisation of the University, runs its own series of public lectures, which take place on Sunday afternoons. The Friends’ program for can be found at