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The Ara Pacis Augsutae

New Topic: Religious Architecture. The Ara Pacis Augsutae. “The altar of Augustan Peace”. How we will learn about it:. Notes about the general background on powerpoint

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The Ara Pacis Augsutae

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  1. New Topic: Religious Architecture The Ara Pacis Augsutae “The altar of Augustan Peace”

  2. How we will learn about it: • Notes about the general background on powerpoint • Then, everyone in groups of 4. Split into pairs from these groups. Each pair will learn about a side of the Ara Pacis & take notes • Then, each pair will teach the other pair the information! • When you teach, you learn and remember much faster 

  3. Vocab list • Bucrania = decorative bulls skull • Palmette = leaf decoration • Precinct = stone walls • Paterae = (highlight in your glossary in workbooks) • Meander = design that is a common motif in Roman art • Door jamb = sides of a doorway • Lintel = (highlight in your glossary in workbooks) • Capital = (highlight in your glossary in workbooks) • Acanthus capital = head part of a column, decorated with Acanthus leaves • Cornice = the top, projecting section of entablature • Entablature = (highlight in your glossary in workbooks) • Pilaster =(highlight in your glossary in workbooks)

  4. background • Rome’s rulers used relief sculpture as a form of political propaganda, the message was readable at a glance • When Augustus became Emperor, and started the Roman Empire, he ruled the Roman world, it was important that his image be seen in every public place all over the Empire. • The Romans liked to see victories in warfare and other important events commemorated in stone. • The purpose of relief sculpture was to inform: it told a story to the illiterate and for the literate, used images to emphasise the imperial ideology

  5. facts • Location: Originally from the Field of Mars (Campus Martius) in the north of Rome • Architectural type: Relief Sculpture • Purpose: This piece was commissioned in honour of Augustus. It was awarded to him by the Roman Senate after he successfully pacifiied Gaul and Spain, he had been there since 16BC. (From 29BC onwards, Augustus refused to accept triumphal honours that were normally celebrated by a victorious general, so they had to find different was to celebrate his return). It is also political propaganda. The altar was also designed for annual sacrifices to the goddess peace and Roma by magistrates, priests and vestal virgins.

  6. facts • Date of construction:13-9 BC (but was restored by Mussolini in 1930 and relocated) • Dimensions:The Ara Pacis is a rectangular stone wall surrounding a stone altar. The wall is 10.5m in length, 11.6m in width and 7m in height • Materials used:Tufa, Travertine, Carrara marble (all Italian building materials) Greek Influences: • Greek Parthenon (440-430 BC) – Augustus wanted to link himself and his rule with the successes and achievements of 5th cent Athens, so he copied the style of the processional frieze. • The altar and screen wall are modelled on the Greek altar of Mercy in Athens • Greek influence in style of decoration, structure, acanthus leaf scroll work

  7. Imperial Propaganda • The purpose of the Ara Pacis is to show Augustus’ great achievements. this was started with the defeat of Mark Anthony and the Egyptian forces at the battle Actium in 31BC which ended the civil war. • Augustus has given people peace, prosperity, fertility, piety and those are all shown on the Ara Pacis. The idea is proclaimed by: • Showing Augustus’ victory over Western provinces • Its location in the Field of Mars, a military exercise area • The symbols and images used on each relief panel • The altar sits close to a sundial that symbolises defeated and pacified Egypt. The sundial worked through the power of Apollo (the sun god), the deity that Augustus favoured. The shadow aligned once a year with the door to the Ara Pacis, on Augustus’ birthday

  8. The altar itself is inside the precinct on a raised dais, facing east. The outer and interior wall is is decorated with friezes of relief sculpture. The altar on the inside: Has a small frieze, 39cm high of a sacrificial procession. Possibly shows the altar’s dedication ceremony in 9 BC. There are vestal virgins, animals and attendants.

  9. interior wall The lower half of the Interior precinct wall represents the carved Wooden palisade that was set up as a makeshift enclosure when the site was Inaugurated in 13BC • Upper part of the wall has symbols of sacrifice, these are: • elabourate garlands • patarae (libation bowls) • bucrania (bulls skulls) • Palmette decoration creates a border. • This interior decoration means the altar is permanently ready for sacrifice

  10. Exterior wall The exterior wall is decorated with two Layers also. Here the two layers are separated, By a thicker band, a meander pattern, carved In high relief. The bottom layer around the whole precinct is an intricate floral pattern.It has hundreds of swirling acanthus plants that turn into realistic flowers, each petal has intricate detail. There are birds, insects, snakes and lizards in amongst the plants, making the panel seem alive with movement. Swans, the symbol of Apollo are also there. Apollo was Augustus’ patron diety & helped him win the battle in Actium in 31BC

  11. Each door is surrounded by a stepped door jamb and lintel. Each corner of the precinct has a Corinthian Pilaster which is decorated with an elaborate foliate scroll and acanthus capital. There are 2 doors in the precinct walls (on the east and west sides) This is the west, because it is the main entrance for sacrifice and there are 9 shallow steps.

  12. What is on the walls??? • The most significant feature of the exterior decoration are the reliefs on the top layer of the precinct wall. • They are in precise pattern, mythological, and allegorial features on the east/west and historical procession on the north/south.

  13. East: Allegorical Tellus South: Procession of imperial family East: Allegorical Roma Altar West: Mythological Aeneas North Procession of senators and priests West: Mythological Romulus & Remus

  14. South frieze Procession of imperial family

  15. North frieze, procession of senators, vestal virgins, and priests

  16. Group work • Pair one: East Allegorical side: Tellus relief & Roma • Pair two: West Mythological side: Romulus and Remus & Aeneas Teacher will cover North side: Historical procession of priests South side: Historical procession of Augustus’ family

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