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Ara Pacis - Rome, Italy
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 41° 54.322 E 012° 28.518
33T E 290593 N 4642351
Quick Description: The Ara Pacis Augustae (Latin, "Altar of Augustan Peace"; commonly shortened to Ara Pacis) is an altar in Rome dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of Peace.
Location: Lazio, Italy
Date Posted: 10/14/2015 1:09:51 PM
Waymark Code: WMPRQN
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member fi67
Views: 0

Long Description:
The monument was commissioned by the Roman Senate on July 4, 13 BC to honor the return of Augustus to Rome after three years in Hispania and Gaul, and consecrated on January 30, 9 BC. The altar reflects the Augustan vision of Roman civil religion. It consists of a traditional open-air altar at its center surrounded by precinct walls which are pierced on the eastern and western ends by openings. The Ara Pacis is perhaps best known for the decoration on the exterior of the precinct walls composed of two tiers of friezes. On the north and south, the upper register depicts the procession of members of the Imperial household and the larger regime, while on the east and west, panels depict allegorical themes of peace and Roman civic ritual. The lower register of the frieze depicts vegetal work meant to communicate the abundance and prosperity of the Roman Peace (Latin: Pax Augusta). The monument as a whole serves a civic ritual function whilst simultaneous operating as propaganda for Augustus and his regime, easing notions of autocracy and dynastic succession that might otherwise be unpalatable to traditional Roman culture.

The Altar was originally located on the northern outskirts of Rome, a Roman mile from the boundary of the pomerium on the west side of the Via Flaminia. It stood in the northeastern corner of the Campus Martius, the former flood plain of the Tiber River which was developed by Augustus into a complex of monuments. In succeeding centuries, the monument gradually became buried under four meters of silt deposits. Although parts of it were recovered and restored—with limited accuracy—as early as the Renaissance, the vast majority of the Ara Pacis was recovered in the twentieth century. It was reassembled in its current location in 1938.

The first fragmentary sculptures were rediscovered in 1568 beneath Palazzo Chigi, right next to the basilica San Lorenzo in Lucina, and have found their way to the Villa Medici, the Vatican, the Uffizi and the Louvre. In 1859 further sculptural fragments were found in the same area under Teatro Olimpia, part of the Peretti Palace in via in Lucina, close to the Italian Parliament Building and the sculptures were recognized as having belonged to the same monument.

In 1903, well after Friedrich von Duhn had recognized that the reliefs belonged to the Ara Pacis (1879–81), known from Augustus' memoir, a request was sent to the Ministry of Public Education to continue the excavations. Their success was made possible by the generosity of Edoardo Almagià, who, as well as giving his permission for the exploration, donated in advance whatever should be discovered underneath the palace and made an ongoing financial contribution to the expenses of the excavation.

By July of that year, it became clear that the conditions were extremely difficult and that the stability of Teatro Olimpia might well be compromised.

When about half the monument had been examined and 53 fragments recovered, the excavation was called to a halt. In February 1937, the Italian Cabinet decreed that for the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Augustus, the excavations should recommence, using the most advanced technology. Seventy cubic metres of ground under what was by then the Cinema Nuovo Olimpia were frozen, whilst the altar was extracted.

In 1938, Benito Mussolini built a protective building for the Altar, as it had been reconstructed by Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, near the Mausoleum of Augustus (moving the Altar in the process) as part of his attempt to create an ancient Roman "theme park" to glorify Fascist Italy.

A new cover building, designed by American architect Richard Meier, now stands on the same site as Mussolini's. The new building opened in 2006 to controversy.
Most Relevant Historical Period: Roman Empire > 27 B.C.

Admission Fee: 10€50

Opening days/times:
Opening hours Open daily, from 9.30 to 19.30 24 and 31 December: 9.30 am - 2.00 pm Last admission 1 hour before closing time


Web Site: [Web Link]

Condition: Completely intact or reconstructed

Visit Instructions:
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André de Montbard visited Ara Pacis - Rome, Italy 9/22/2016 André de Montbard visited it