The Column of Marcus Aurelius: The Genesis and Meaning of a Roman Imperial Monument
One of the most important monuments of Imperial Rome and at the same time one of the most poorly understood, the Column of Marcus Aurelius has long stood in the shadow of the Column of Trajan. In The Column of Marcus Aurelius, Martin Beckmann makes a thorough study of the form, content, and meaning of this infrequently studied monument. Beckmann employs a new approach to the column, one that focuses on the process of its creation and construction, to uncover the cultural significance of the column to the Romans of the late second century A.D. Using clues from ancient sources and from the monument itself, this book traces the creative process step by step from the first decision to build the monument through the processes of planning and construction to the final carving of the column's relief decoration. The conclusions challenge many of the widely held assumptions about the value of the column's 700-foot-long frieze as a historical source. By reconstructing the creative process of the column's sculpture, Beckmann opens up numerous new paths of analysis not only to the Column of Marcus Aurelius but also to Roman imperial art and architecture in general.
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1 The Date Purpose of the Column
Choice of Location
3 Form Function
4 Planning Construction
6 Carving the Frieze
7 The Frieze as History
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adlocutio Adrastus altar ancient Antoninus Pius appears Ara Pacis Arcadius arch architectural armor artists Augustus barbarian battle scenes border patterns building Campus Martius carvers carving cavalry chapter clear Column of Arcadius Column of Marcus Column of Trajan column shaft column’s frieze columna cochlis Commodus compositional style construction copied Dacian Danube Danube Crossing decoration depicted designers emperor entire evidence exactly example face Faustina feet figures Flaminia Forum frieze of Trajan’s frontality funerary ground Hadrian height helical frieze Historia Augusta historical Hölscher honor identified images imperial inscription marble Marcus Aurelius Marcus’s Column meters monument Panel Reliefs parallels pedestal perhaps Petersen planning pyre Rain Miracle Rodenwaldt Roman soldiers Rome rostral column sarcophagi second century A.D. shown similar spiral staircase stairway Stilwandel stone suggests temple tion Trajan’s Column troops upper Via Flaminia victory viewer visible Wegner windings