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Ara Pacis

The Ara Pacis Augustae (Latin, "Altar to the Peace of Augustus" or "Altar of Majestic Peace") was an altar to Peace envisioned as a Roman goddess by the Roman Emperor Augustus Cæsar in 8 A.D. The altar was meant to be a vision of the Roman civil religion. It sought to portray the peace and prosperity enjoyed as a result of the Pax Romana (Latin, "Roman peace") brought about by the military supremacy of the Roman empire.

It was elaborately and finely sculpted, depicting scenes of traditional Roman piety, in which the Emperor and his family were portrayed in the act of offering sacrifices to the gods. Various figures bring forth cattle to be sacrificed. Some have their togas drawn over their heads, like a hood; this was a traditional gesture of respect for the gods before an animal sacrifice. Others wear laurel crownss, traditional symbols of victory. Men, women, and children all approach the gods.

The Altar is considered a masterpiece of Roman sculpture; the figures in the procession are not idealised types, as are typically found in Greek sculpture; they are recognisable portraits of individuals.

The Altar was located on the Campus Martius.

See also: imperial cult

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