According to a recent study, being curious about things (even boring things) makes your brain establish more permanent connections. The parts of your brain that control pleasure and reward respond differently to the information, making it easier for you to recall it later on:
“Say you’re watching the Breaking Bad finale,” (researcher) Charan Ranganath explains. If you’re a huge fan of the show, you’re certainly really curious to know what happens to its main character, Walter White. “You’ll undoubtedly remember what happens in the finale,” he says, but you might also remember what you ate before watching the episode, and what you did right after.
So, with this in mind, let’s generate some questions that will guide your learning (and your curiosity) about Octavian. Here is what we know so far:
- He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar
- He won control of Rome at the Battle of Actium
- He may have used propaganda to alter Rome’s perception of Cleopatra, and he certainly used the rams of Marc Antony’s ships to remind everyone who won the battle (he used them as decoration around Actium)
Here are some things you don’t know. What questions do you have?
- Before the Battle of Actium, Octavian, Marc Antony, and a man named Lepidus had ruled Rome by forming the Second Triumvirate
- Octavian, renamed Augustus Caesar, ruled Rome until his death (he was 77)
- His rule coincided with the birth of Christ
- He was Rome’s first Emperor (though he went by other titles)
- The internal strife that plagued Rome in the last days of the Republic ended
- The Roman Empire expanded tremendously under Augustus’ rule
Your goal is to investigate one of these questions with your peers for the next 30 minutes or so. Please track your sources!