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date: 03 December 2020

Column of Marcus Aurelius, thelocked

  • Martin Beckmann


The Column of Marcus Aurelius is situated in Rome’s Campus Martius, on the west side of the ancient Via Flaminia and south of the Ara Pacis in the modern Piazza Colonna. It was probably begun in 175 ce as an honour to Marcus for his German and Sarmatian victories, but it was not completed until after his death. An inscription ( = ILS 5920) of 193 ce gives permission to a procurator columnae divi Marci (Procurator of the Column of the Deified Marcus) to build a house near the column, so that he may better carry out his duties (it is not known what these duties were).1 The column was close to and above the level of the Via Flaminia and also near the funerary altars of the Antonine dynasty, to which monuments it may have had a connection.2 Its primary function, however, was triumphal, as a victory monument to the emperor, and as such it was carefully sited beside the road that Marcus Aurelius would have used when departing for and returning from the theatre of war.

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