About the Museum Built in Honor of the Roman AltarMuseum of the Ara Pacis (Museo dell'Ara Pacis) sits on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome, and is the only modern building established in the ancient area of Rome since 1938. It was inaugurated in 2006 and marked a new landmark in the architectural history of this city. The construction of the museum lasted about 10 years and caused many disputes and arguments.
Many people were critical of the American architect Richard Meyer, whose vision was to bring a new design to the city through a building combining white brick and turpentine together with steel and glass. The claims were unequivocal: "Not everything that is good for the suburbs of Los Angeles is suitable for Rome," claims art critic Vittorio Zaghrabi.
This impressive museum serves as a residence for the peace altar of Emperor Augustus, the Roman ruler whose victories brought the Roman Empire 200 years of calm and stability. The altar was built in 13 BC by the Roman Senate and if you examine it closely you will notice that it is covered with many reliefs.
The Famous AltarThe Augustus peace altar, called "Ara Pacis Augustae," is a large altar covered with reliefs, founded by the Roman Senate in 13 BC. This large altar was meant to mark the return of peace to the Roman Empire, after Emperor Augustus was victorious in his many wars. The altar is preserved and this museum is dedicated only to him. The construction of the magnificent altar took approximately three and a half years and was finally inaugurated in 9 BCE.
The altar was built in the region of Rome, known as the "Field of Mars," on the occasion of the return of Emperor Augustus from his military expeditions in Galicia and Spain. In 17 BC Emperor Augustus embarked on a long battle outside Rome to deal with the problems of the empire with the western provinces of Galicia and Spain. The Romans suffered from the rebellions of local tribes which harmed the Roman rule and resumed the obedience and payment of taxes to the empire and inhabiting these areas by the victorious Roman soldiers.
When this journey was completed and Augustus returned to Rome, the Roman Senate decided to honor the emperor by building this peace altar in his name, near the Via Flaminia - the path on which Augustus returned to Rome. Augustus himself, describing his own activities, relates that the Senate ordered that sacrifices be served on the altar on the anniversary of the date he returned to Rome.
The significance of the establishment of the "Ara Pacis" should be understood against the background of the Augustus era and the propaganda that created it. In Augustus' time, worship was born to the Goddess Pax. It is linked to the governing ideal that developed during the Augustus period, the Pax Romana, the so-called "Roman peace." This idealist propaganda presented Augustus as Rome's savior and as the man responsible for the empire. Thus, this propaganda linked the good of the emperor to the benefit of Rome. So too did they manage to convince the people that the worship of the Altar was a way of worshipping the Caesar and wishing him well.