Piazza Augusto Imperatore

Mausoleo di Augusto

The Mausoleum of Augustus was created by Augustus ca. 28 BCE, thus slightly before the Ara Pacis. After serving as the family mausoleum, it was altered over the centuries for different purposes. It served as a fortress and, as with many ancient structures, as a source of marble for later buildings, then as a hanging-garden, bull-ring, and in 1789 as an amphitheater. In 1907 it became Rome's symphony hall, the Augusteo, and was still in use as such at the time of the Fascist intervention in 1936.

Enough of its foundation and lower structure survives to establish its footprint and much of its lower level, and a number of documents indicate certain aspects of its design. However, much of its original form is speculative and various hypotheses (a few shown below) have been proposed. A study directed by John Pollini with collaborators, “Problematics of Making Ambiguity Explicit in Virtual Reconstructions: A Case Study of the Mausoleum of Augustus”, with outstanding illustrations, is available on the web.

The literatiure on the Mausoleum is of course extensive. The classic study of its transformatIon as part of the Fascist Piazzale Augusto Imperatore is Kostof's 1978 chapter with 58 informative photographs and diagrams. More recently, an outstanding article emphasizing the fascist reconstruction of the Mausoleum and Ara Pacis Augustae has been written by Artistotle Kallis, 2011 (see bibliography listings with annotations). The 3 drawings at the bottom of this thumbnail page (added to this website Oct. 15, 2012) show a 1956 proposal by Guglielmo Gatti for reconstructing the Mausoleum as a Museo Augusteo with the Ara Pacis relocated to a large, well-lit central hall.