Recently in Reference Category

ROMA Pass COVID-19 Updates

ROMA Pass LogoVery useful and up to date PDF available from the ROMA Pass website - if you have a pass (or are planning to get one) you should refer to this to see what the current situation at each location is due to COVID-19.

It has details on mask guidelines, reservation suggestions (even with the pass), etc. Last updated on the 15th of September. For the Ara Pacis Museum the current suggestion is "Reservations highly recommended also with Roma Pass".

Ara Pacis Museum on a Map

The Ara Pacis Museum is in a kind of tucked away location, but this map should help you find it when in Rome!

Ara Pacis Museum Map

View Ara Pacis Museum in a larger map

Ara Pacis on Google Earth?

I am trying to load this Ancient Rome 3D in Google Earth -
Has anyone done this? Is the Ara Pacis included? If I can get there I will post a screen shot.

From the American Journal of Archaeology, some new Ara Pacis scholarship:

Kleiner_Fig06_small.gif"The Ara Pacis presents the most important surviving programmatic statement of the middle years of the Augustan principate. Recent scholarship has focused on the identity and significance of the altar's children, but progress has been constrained by assumptions about Augustus' dynastic ambitions. The altar reflects the political realities and ideals of the year 13 B.C.E., when adult generals were in ascendance, foreign children took center stage, and the political prospects of Gaius and Lucius Caesar were still uncertain."

There is a little more here, and it seems the full article will be posted in PDF format at some point.

Vintage Ara Pacis Museum postcard

ara-pacis-postcard.jpg Someone from the very interesting website/blog "Continuity in Architecture" has made an awesome find of this postcard of the original Ara Pacis Museum. Click on the image to see the larger version at their site.

The Ara Pacis of Augustus and Mussolini

the-ara-pacis-of-augustus.jpgNot sure how I missed this book until now:

"The Ara Pacis of Augustus, the Augustan Alter of Peace, was restored in 1938 to celebrate the bi-millennial birthday of Augustus and is now being refurbished by the American architect, Richard Meier. It is the most-revered ancient Roman monument. However, this book shows that it is not the altar that everyone thinks it is, but rather a commemorative altar erected under the reign of Tiberius."

Is this true? I don't see any reviews on Amazon for this book - does anyone know anything about it?

Roman holiday: A trip back in time

"To the north there is another grand obelisk which is in fact the pointer of a giant sundial. This too was designed by Augustus and, on his birthday, the shadow of the obelisk points directly at the Ara Pacis, Augustus' altar of peace, one of the finest examples of Roman sculpture ever created. The altar dates from 9BC. It is enclosed by walls of white marble on which are carved bas-reliefs of garlands and flowers. Above this are reliefs of the imperial family, the priests, senators and Roman people going in procession to give thanks for the blessings of the Roman peace."

From the very amusing article "Roman holiday: A trip back in time".

This looks like a good site to visit if you are into architecture:

There is a very long and detailed post up about the Ara Pacis Museum, with lots of photos and information.


Augustus and the Ara Pacis

In all, then, the succession problem was a difficult one for Augustus, and his solutions only perpetuated it for all future emperors. Despite the internal difficulties engendered by the issue, Augustus was keen to present a united image of the imperial house to the populace. This is best illustrated by the "Altar of the Augustan Peace" (Ara Pacis Augustae), dedicated in January, 9 BC, and laden with symbolic significance largely outside the purview of this biography. For our current purposes, most important is the presentation to the people, on the south frieze, of the imperial family--women and children included--as a corporate entity. The message of dynastic harmony and the promise of future stability emanating from the imperial house is palpable. The reality, as we have just seen, was rather different.

From RenegadeEvolution - an interesting blog.

The Ara Pacis Augustae

By the late first century B.C., Augustus and the ruling Roman elite were intensely conscious of Rome's position as heir and administrator of the Greek legacy in all its cultural, political, and economic ramifications. But they were also committed to the belief that the Roman state could meet the imperial challenge only by renewing and revitalizing popular belief in the national mores and institutions which had been progressively eroded by the decades of military and political strife, social unrest, and cultural confrontation endemic to the Late Republic...

This is the introduction to an excellent new paper/blog post by Brian Spenser about the Ara Pacis.

Contexts for the Ara Pacis

Here is a detailed scholarly lecture, "Contexts for the Ara Pacis", from 1997 by Minott Kerr, given at Reed College:

The Ara Pacis consists of two parts, a sacrificial altar proper, and the surrounding precinct walls. The almost square enclosure which defines an area of about 35 by 40 roman feet stood on a base and had openings on the east and west sides. The altar complex was entered by a flight of stairs leading to the western opening. The irregular topography of the original site sloped upward toward the east so the opening in the east side of the precinct wall was at the level of the adjacent via Flaminia. Within, the altar proper stood on a stepped base at the center with a second flight of steps at the west leading to the sacrificial table.

More here.

Ara Pacis Museum on Google maps

Here is the current Google maps satellite view of the Ara Pacis Museum. It looks like this shot is at least a year old - it appears that the current, new museum is under construction:


You can also plainly see the Mausoleum of Augustus and the two churches (San Girolamo degli Schiavoni and San Rocco) that are directly south of the mausoleum. Part of the criticism of the new museum is that the wall that runs along the Lungotevere (hidden by the trees - it is the road along the Tiber) cuts off the view of these churches from passing motorists and people on the sidewalk.

Ara Pacis reference websites

Here are a couple of websites with some history of the Ara Pacis:

  • Wikipedia Ara Pacis page - as too often the case with the Wikepedia, the article is a little thin and a little sketchy on the facts.
  • Ara Pacis page maintained by someone at the University of Chicago from "A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome", Oxford University Press, 1929.