The Altar of Concordia Augusta is a small but important monument in the Forum Boarium. This region has an incredibly rich historical background. It is adjacent to the Circus Maximus and just next to the bank of the Tiber River. According to ancient Roman legend, the hero Hercules, and Aeneas (ancestor of Romulus, the founder of Rome), have stories that developed in the Forum Boarium.
Many temples were constructed in this area because of its importance, and the most ancient ones date back to the Republican period. However, the urban fabric of Rome was not constructed only by huge buildings, but also by small structures that often go unnoticed nowadays. The Altar of Concordia Augusta is one of them.
The Altar dates back to the time of Augustus, and it consists of a block of Travertine laid on the sidewalk, on top of a brick base that was a later addition. It carries a small inscription that has a great meaning. Some of it has been lost due to damage, but historians have interpreted the whole as “CONCORDIA AUGUSTA SACRA”.
It was possibly a shire dedicated to the harmony and peace achieved by Augustus. who became the first Roman Emperor after defeating Cleopatra and Mark Anthony in the Battle of Actium. Directly below the inscription, there is a relief of a laurel tied with a ribbon. The laurel wreath was one of the most popular symbols of victory, and it is seen in numerous busts and statues of emperors.
The Altar of Concordia Augusta, however small and seemingly ordinary, celebrates the eternal rule and power of Augustus with a very clear and objective message.
Flory, M. B. (1995). The Symbolism of Laurel in Cameo Portraits of Livia. Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, 40, 43-68. https://doi.org/10.2307/4238728
Cite This Page
Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “Altar of Concordia Augusta” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 11/11/2019. https://ancientromelive.org/altar-of-concordia-augusta/
Created by The American Institute of Roman Culture, published on 11/11/2019 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.