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date: 09 December 2019

Ara Pacis

Ara Pacis, a monumental altar erected in the northern Campus Martius near the via Lata (Corso), considered one of the major products of Augustan public art. It was voted in 13 bce by the senate, as Augustus records in his Testament (see res gestae), to commemorate his safe return from Gaul and Spain; and finished in 9 bce. The altar proper was surrounded by a walled precinct (11.6×10.6 m.; 38×34 ¾ ft.) with entrances to east and west, and decorated with sculptured reliefs on two tiers. Internally there were festoons slung from ox-heads above and fluting below; externally the lower frieze was filled with complex acanthus scrolls, above which on the east and west were mythological panels, on the north and south a religious procession showing the imperial family, lictors, priests, magistrates, and representations of the Roman people. Smaller reliefs on the inner altar showing Vestals (see vesta), priests, sacrificial animals, etc. , continue the procession on the outer walls. The event represented by this procession has been much disputed, a supplicatio (formal period of public rejoicing) of 13 bce being recently proposed rather than the consecration of the altar itself.

Several of the sculptured slabs were brought to light about 1568, others in 1859 and 1903. In 1937–8 the site was thoroughly explored and the monument reconstructed, with most of its surviving sculptures, between the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Tiber. See sculpture, roman.


G. Moretti, L'Ara Pacis Augustae (1938).Find this resource:

G. Koeppel, Bonner Jahrbücher 1987, 101 ff.Find this resource:

R. Billows, Journal of Roman Archaeology 1993, 80 ff.Find this resource:

D. Castriota, The Ara Pacis Augustae (1995).Find this resource:

J. Pollini, ‘Frieden-durch-Sieg’ - Ideologie und die Ara Pacis Augustae: Bildrhetorik und die Schöpfung einer dynastischen Erzählweise (2002).Find this resource:

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