chapter  6
25 Pages

The Roman Model

Golden Age as a Modern Disease

This chapter discusses Friedrich Schlegel's understanding of the Roman Golden Age in relation to the difficulties of making a modern nation. It focuses on modern projects at producing a national Golden Age based on the Roman model. The chapter also focuses on Schlegel's reception of the Roman claim that the reign of Augustus was an epoch of blooming in culture and literature. Schlegel's metaphor of a general store underlines the commercial connection between national poetry and the modern literature market. Schlegel not only compared the Golden Age with an epidemic, but he suggests an antidote, by means of a medical metaphor based on the model of 'inoculation'. Inoculation means that a young nation needs to be injected with a weakened version of the Golden Age fever. The Golden Age in Athens was an operative model for finding the nucleus of Greek poetry.