Monday, August 2, 2010

Ara Pacis

This is August, the month named after the Emperor Augustus who ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD. His reign initiated an era of relative peace, the Pax Romana, that lasted more then two centuries.

On August 1st I decided to remember this emperor and visit again the Ara Pacis. It is housed in a building designed by Richard Meier.

The Ara Pacis is said to be one of the finest examples of classical art. The Roman Senate voted for its construction in 13 BC to honor Augustus when he returned from the provinces of Spain and Gaul.
The actual altar, used in sacrifices on the Field of Mars, stands within a finely sculpted marble chamber that depicts scenes of Roman historic and religious significance, in which the Emperor and his family are featured. (I felt privileged to walk on the very steps that Augustus himself used 2,000 years ago.)

The carvings today are in white marble. In ancient times they would have been painted bright colors.

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