Who better to represent the Roman army than the very man who received the standards? The Prima Porta statue contains several clear indications that Augustus is the ruler of the Roman empire. At first sight the artist who made the statue worked along the same lines as the older statues. University of Michigan Press 1990. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. The sculpture reflects the kind of paradox Augustus created with his government because he borrows two sculptural styles that have contradictory symbolism. Marble sculpture of a youthful Octavian, ca.
This type of Roman idealist sculpture was frequently used as imperial political propaganda. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Prima Porta houses, along the Via Flaminia, Rome's biggest cemetery, Cimitero Flaminio, also known as Cimitero di Prima Porta. These symbolize Augustus' victory over Egypt, a province that provided the Roman Empire with a lot of wealth. Augustan Culture: an interpretive introduction. And this statue of Augustus is definitely a good example of a piece of material culture that was used as part of a social strategy.
This gesture is called , a raised index finger, which is a sign to greet an army. A new series of more meticulous modern excavations was initiated in 1970. It is, in fact, a boastful portrait of a man who had, in his life, been careful to show nothing but the utmost restraint and humility. Making sure that he would not be perceived as a monarch, he was presented as merely the primus inter pares, i. Janson, A Short History of Art. The location was strategically important due to the iron-rich cliffs of red that approach the river at this point, the confluence of several roads, and its function as the north entry point to Rome. London: Lawrence King Publishing, Ltd.
An interesting realization I have made in my research, as well as somewhat frustrating, is that one can read eight different books and practically find eight different interpretations concerning these two components. Augustus wanted to be seen as a restorer of the Roman Republic instead of a dictator, which is why there are surprisingly few references to war in the statue. But in private, of course, plans were already in motion for him to be elevated to godhood after death, just as Julius Caesar had been proclaimed a divinity. Augustan Culture: an interpretive introduction. In the nineteenth century the villa belonged to the convent of ; it may never have passed into private hands.
To other cities founded by the Romans, he gave as a present a statue of the Lupa Capitolina Capitolinian She-wolf with the twins Romulus and Remus. In the centre, a figure in baggy trousers is giving a standard to a Roman soldier. Examining the statue itself, its various figurative elements, and indeed the location where it was found give us a glimpse into the many possible uses and meanings of ancient Roman art. Rome, Vatican Museums, Braccio Nuovo. Photo: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Athen. This statue has been dated to the beginning of the 1 st century A. For this, he gave a big impulse to the great public works inside and outside Rome and he founded a large number of cities all around his, most of the times called with the title of Augusta in his honour; he flooded Rome and the rest of the cities in the empire with statues of himself, sometimes dressed as a pontifex maximus highest priest in order to show his roll as guaranteeing the Roman religion and as a symbol of his pietas prayer of the glory with regard to the gods and the ancestors , sometimes dressed as a Roman general —this is the case of the Augustus of Prima Porta-, because the imperator emperor held the imperium the military authority over all the Roman troops.
The statue seems to have been inspired by the figure of the Doryphoros spear-bearer by the Greek sculptor, Polykleitos, of which there is a good copy in the New Wing Braccio Nuovo. The description of specific individuals adorning the shield seems to indicate to Holland that a similar pattern would be applied to the cuirass. There is a strong possibility that the event depicted on the cuirass, that of Phraates handing the standard to Tiberius, literally happened. In many ways, Tiberius was the opposite of Augustus: an experienced general but a poor statesman, who eventually withdrew from public life and came to care little about what people thought about him. Since Hellenistic times, an emperor's divine powers were measured from his military victories. License Based on content that has been reviewed, edited, and republished. As a result, it would not have made a lot of sense to depict himself as a conquering general, since that would undercut his military allies, on whose loyalty he depended to secure his rule.
From now on, a victor was not just the strongest fighter, but the keeper of the peaceful world order, of which the gods approved. If the man is Tiberius, he is portrayed in a very honourable manner, so trust in the successive emperor would be shown. The bronze copies that exist in some cities as Emerita Augusta nowadays Mérida or, in our case, in Caesar Augusta Zaragoza were given as a present by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini to commemorate the foundation of these cities by Augustus. Republican values were combined with monarchic characteristics during the first years of the emperors' reign in order to present the accession of the young Octavian to the emperor's title as a logic consequence of the course of history. Kaiser Augustus und die Verlorene Republik. The dolphin too, indicates divine lineage, as it was the standard statuary support for Hellenistic Aphrodite statues. There were a number of reasons for that.
Augustus reinforced Roman moral values, since the morality of the Roman people had deteriorated badly in his opinion. At the bottom one can recognise Diana riding on the back of a hind and, in the centre, the goddess Earth. The Roman soldier has been interpreted as representing Tiberius, who was present when the Parthians returned the standards. The statue of Augustus Prima Porta portrays Augustus wearing military clothing with a richly decorated cuirass. Available through: accessed on 2 October 2014.
Therefore, the small details of this statue already gives us an insight in the ideas behind the sculpture: Augustus was no longer only depicted as just an ordinary citizen of Rome but also as the of Rome, the most influential citizen of the newly established empire. It is also to the Aeneid that Holland looks to identify the Roman figure opposite Phraates. She is a specialist in Renaissance art and was the recipient of a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Belgium. Therefore, he tried to present himself as a normal man, so the people would not see him as a dictator. Later, I read lots of stuff on archaeological theory that helped me look even better at ancient objects. Perhaps the Romans were not the most original artists, but they really knew how to work with what they borrowed. This sculpture shows Octavian Augustus—again with distinguishable features on the head—dressed as pontifex maximus, the highest priest in the ancient roman religion.