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11 / The Urban Experience

Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace)
Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace)
Artist / Origin Unknown artist(s), Rome
Region: Europe
Date 13–9 BCE
Period: 500 BCE - 1 CE
Material Marble
Dimensions W: approx. 35 ft. (10.7 m.)
Location Museum of the Ara Pacis, Rome, Italy
Credit Courtesy of Scala/Art Resource, NY

expert perspective

Lisa SaltzmanProfessor of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
Lothar HaselbergerProfessor of Roman Architecture, University of Pennsylvania

Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace)

» Unknown artist(s), Rome

expert perspective

Lothar Haselberger Lothar Haselberger Professor of Roman Architecture, University of Pennsylvania

The ancient city of Rome considered itself to be the center of the civilized world. But when Rome was about to reach world power under Caesar and then his adopted son Augustus, it became perfectly clear that Republican Rome was by no means living up to its new position as the first city of the world. Augustus had to express in the city, ‘You, Romans, rule the world.’ Rome needs to get a new visual stature. And that, of course, then ties into Augustus’s famous dictum: Let’s make it a marble city, one that can compete, in fact, is even superior to Greek marble cities. A city with public amenities: baths, athletic complexes, park landscapes, monuments, glorious buildings, and especially art. Augustus’s new Rome, the new heroic Rome.” 

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