Ara Pacis Augustae - Panel of Tellus

There has been a lot of speculation on identity of seated goddess in he middle of the panel. Tellus (Mother Earth) is a prevailing interpetation but recently there has been also other suggestions such as Venus Genetrix or Pax Augusta. These hypothesis have been based mainly on iconographic analysis, but in addition it has been noted that absence of ancestress of gens Julia and especially Personification of Peace would be a bit odd (After all it is an altar commemorating peace)

Two other female figures are Aurae Velificantes representing beneficial earth and sea winds. Some scholars have also hinted that the two puttos represent Gaius and Lucius, heirs of Augustus. 

Rome, July 2015

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Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde - The Dam in Amsterdam


oil on canvas

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp


Moray -Peru

Unlike a number of the elaborate metropolis’ and statuary left behind by the Incan people the rings at Moray are relatively simple but may have actually been an ingenious series of test beds. Descending in grass-covered, terraced rings, the rings of rings vary in size with the largest ending in a depth of 30 meters (98 feet) deep and 220 meters (722 feet) wide. Studies have shown that many of the terraces contain soil that must have been imported from other parts of the region. The temperature at the top of the pits varies from that at the bottom of the ringed pits by as much as 15 degrees Celsius , creating a series of micro-climates that not coincidentally match many of the varied climate conditions among the Incan empire. It is now believed that the rings were used as a test bed to see what crops could grow where. This proto-America’s-Test-Kitchen is yet another example of the Incan ingenuity that makes them one of the most remarkable of declined societies in the planet’s history.

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By Anne Leader

Julius Caesar dedicated the Temple of Venus Genetrix in Rome on this day in 46 BCE. Caesar traced his ancestry to Aeneas, son of the Roman goddess of love and beauty. In dedicating the temple to Venus Genetrix, Caesar drew attention to her role as mother. Typical of Roman temples, the sanctuary was raised on a high podium and held a cult statue of Venus as well as portrait statues of Caesar himself. The original temple was destroyed by fire in 80 CE and was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian and restored by Trajan. Three columns survive from the second temple.

Temple of Venus Genetrix, rebuilt by Trajan 113 CE, Rome

Plan of Imperial Fora, Rome

Silver denarius of Julius Caesar, reverseAeneas carrying palladium and his father Anchises, 47-46 BCE. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Rogers Fund, 1908.170.80