Photo 1. Ara Pacis Augustae, west facade. 13 -9 BCE. Marble. Width of altar approx. 35’ (10.7 m). Museum of the Ara Pacis, Rome

Relief Sculpture

Ara Pacis Augustae, or Altar of Augustan Peace, is an altar where sacrifices would have been done. It was constructed to celebrate Augustus’ triumphant return from the wars in Spain and Gaul. It was a Republican practice to commission narrative reliefs to record specific events and continued through the Empire. Inside, a marble enclosure which was open to the sky and abundantly sculpted over its entirely surface. Allegorical figures, or personifications are represented on east and west sides. A she-wolf suckling the infants Romulus and Remus, under the eyes of the shepherd Faustulus is depicted on the west end. At the east end, a relief depicting the goddess Roma seated on her weapons composure a panel with a female figure incarnating the notion of peace. Vegetation unfolds richly supplies at the lower sides of the enclosure.

Photo 2. Ara Pacis Augustae, Imperial Procession south frieze. 13-9 BCE. Marble. Height 63" (1.6 m). Rome

A continuous procession frieze, on the upper register, portrays specific members of the imperial family. It apparently records a particular event, a sacrifice perhaps. The friezes are significant for a number of reasons. One of them is the representation of the importance of family and dynasty.


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