Octavian/Augustus and the Alter of Peace

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Octavian/Augustus and the Alter of Peace

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:03 pm

Most of this is not Christian per se, but it raises the issue of the role of reflections of the gospel' (and other early Christian or apocryphal) writers of accounts of Augustus and the traditions around him, such as the Alter of Peace (Ara Pacis Augustae; dedicated to Pax, the goddess of Peace), particularly of the imagery of Augustus leading a procession of priests, and of other traditions.

I got this from https://twitter.com/SCPlus/status/11906 ... 85377?s=20 but only post the link to this tweet containing a short but informative video-clip as I cannot access the Smithsonian website from outside the USA.

The 3 m tall altar itself stands on a 6 x 7 m podium and has relief scenes depicting Vestal Virgins, priests and sacrificial animals. https://www.ancient.eu/article/618/ara-pacis-augustae/

It was commissioned by the Roman Senate on July 4, 13 BC to honor the return that year of Augustus to Rome after three years of military campaigning in Hispania and Gaul and dedicated/ consecrated on January 30, 9 BC.

the monument as a whole serves a civic ritual function whilst simultaneously operating as propaganda for Augustus and his regime, easing notions of autocracy and dynastic succession that might otherwise be unpalatable to traditional Roman culture.

The sacrificial procession depicts animals being led to sacrifice by figures carved in a Republican style similar to the so-called "Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus"

The so-called "Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus" is a series of four sculpted marble plaques which probably decorated a base which supported cult statues in the cella of a Temple of Neptune located in Rome on the Field of Mars. A general, probably Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, vowed to build a temple for the god of the sea1 after a naval victory, perhaps the one won off Samos in 129 or 128 against Aristonicus who had attempted to oppose the donation of Pergamon to Rome by the will of King Attalos III. The construction of the temple (or restoration of a pre-existing temple) only dates to 122 BC, the year in which Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus attained the consulship.

The interesting thing about the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus's reliefs are the subjects of the scenes depicted,

First scene
At the very left of the bas-relief, an official involved in the census (the iurator or "oath taker") records the identity and the property holdings of a man standing before him, holding wax tablets in one hand and stretching out the other, in the gesture of the oath (professio). His statements are recorded in a codex, made up of two wooden tabulae, which the iurator has on his knees. Six more of these codices can be seen stacked at his feet. The identity of this man is not absolutely certain, his identification as the iurator is challenged by a detail: he appears to be wearing calcei, special shoes reserved for individuals of Senatorial rank. So he might even be one of the two censors.

This scene marks the beginning of the Roman census, the period when all Roman citizens were recorded. Based on each individual's wealth, the censor, the Roman magistrate here shown to the right of the citizen performing the professio, determined who would sit in the senate and who would serve in the military, which the Romans considered an honour. The censor is depicted with one hand on the shoulder of a fourth person who wears a toga. By this gesture (the manumissio), the censor accepts his declaration and renders his judgement (the discriptio), which concluded the process of assigning the individual to a class. The citizen points to an infantryman with his hand, indicating to him the centuria to which he belongs.

Second Scene
A religious scene follows, the ceremony of the lustrum, which legitimated the census and is presided over by one of the two censors, who touches the altar of Mars with his right hand. Mars is represented in full armour to the left of the altar. At right, three sacrificial victims are led up, the bull, the ram and the pig (the suovetaurilia) which were to be sacrificed in honour of the god in order to secure good fortune for the departure of the troops. The censor is helped during the ceremony by young assistants (camilla), one in the process of pouring the lustral water. Behind Mars, two musicians accompany the sacrifice, one playing the lyre and the other the tibia. The same to accompany the camillus who stands behind the altar and sings the precatio (prayer). The second censor advances behind the victims, holding a standard (vexillum).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altar_of_ ... henobarbus

1 In an article, titled Galilee and Galileans in St Mark's Gospel, G. H. Boobyer notes the significance of the lake of Galilee being called a sea in the gospel attributed to Mark, the significance of the Markan narratives of Jesus' activities & interactions with it, and the significance of accounts of Galilee (mostly disputes within or involving it) in the LXX ...
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Octavian/Augustus and the Alter of Peace

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:24 pm

For posterity, this post on another thread on this forum by Ethan is worth noting here, -
Ethan wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:13 pm

Julius Caesar (Christ 2.0) envisioned as the second coming of Cyrus Christ (Isaiah 45:1); he was cremated and descended [ascended?] into heaven in a pillar of smoke and resurrected as a comet seen in the sky, that indeed came from space.

Jews whom mourned the empty tomb of Julius Christ chiseled the comet on tombs.


That is an actual item from 1st century Judea, an authentic Ossuary, where-as Christians are unable to produce any physical evidence from the 1st century for anything.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Octavian/Augustus and the Alter of Peace

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:00 pm

Nice pick-up MrMacSon. I believe that this material is more Christian than one might guess:

Acts 6: 2 - 6 (RSV):

[2] And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
[3] Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty.
[4] But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
[5] And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Proch'orus, and Nica'nor, and Ti'mon, and Par'menas, and Nicola'us, a proselyte of Antioch.
[6] These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them.

Nicholaus, proselyte of Antioch or, "Hero of Antioch" in some Aramaics.

Who was "Hero of Antioch"? Octavian. If so, then this is Historical and is a List of Caesars. You may find Claudius (Acts 5) and the whole gang if you want. Acts can be opened up as a "Counter-Document", in a similar fashion as GJohn.

Or, maybe not...


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