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Raven Shaw

The Veristic portraits are meant to teach the viewer that age is to be venerated, so they broke away from the idealized style of Greece and made them as realistic as possible. Roman public figures wanted to be taken seriously, so they wore their wrinkles as proof of how wise and hard-working they’ve been. Veristis portraiture was also a defense mechanism of the upper class when they saw foreigners with money moving into Rome. They wanted to distinguish themselves as having been there for a long time.

The statue of Augustus of Primaporta is a combination of the styles used to make the Greek statue of the Spear Bearer (symbolizing strength) and the Roman statue the Orator (symbolizing diplomacy). The intended effect was to get people on board with Augustus ending the Republic and beginning the Empire. He wanted to be seen as a strong but fair ruler, connected to the gods, with the power to bring about a golden age much like the time the Spear Bearer was created. This combination of two recognizable statues to communicate with the viewers seems like a meme…

Mussolini had the Altar of Augustan Peace rebuilt, because he wanted the public to see a connection between himself and Emperor Augustus. The Altar had been originally built as a symbol to Augustus’ people that he was returning Rome to old practices and traditions. The highly detailed and varied plant-life around the base of the altar was meant to communicate the abundance associated with Augustus’ golden age. Mussolini also wished to return to a traditional empire, a sort of golden age. He was responsible for 430,000 deaths under both his rule and military campaigns.

The Arch of Titus was used by the emperor to emphasize his victory over his enemies. He’d parade through it with the spoils of war, then execute the opposing leader ceremonially at the end. The inside of the arch has reliefs depicting the holy objects taken along with the Jews — such as the Menorah. Nearby, there was a museum built to house and show off the actual spoils of war. In a similar vein, the Forum of Trajan had statues of the peoples defeated by Rome. And in the theme of a ruler returning victoriously, there were many equestrian statues made of Emperors returning on horseback.