After decades of neglect, the Mausoleum of Augustus is to be brought alive with a spectacular multimedia experience projected onto its 2,000-year-old walls. An Italian telecommunications company has contributed six million euros for its restoration, with its director promising an elaborate multimedia show that will tell the story of Augustus and ancient Rome.
Mausoleum of Augustus was built in 28 BCE and housed the remains of Emperor Augustus and the rest of the Julio-Claudian family. The building once stood around 120ft high and had a diameter of nearly 300ft. It was topped by a 15ft-tall bronze statue of Augustus. It was converted into a fortress in the Middle Ages and then a bull-fighting ring in the 18th century. It was finally made into a concert hall in the early 20th century before Mussolini ordered all modern additions to be stripped away, in a bid to associate himself with the greatness of Rome’s first emperor, whom he hoped to emulate. Previous efforts to restore the massive tomb have foundered over the years on bureaucracy, inter-departmental squabbling and lack of funding.
The Arch of Augustus at Rimini was dedicated to the Emperor Augustus by the Roman Senate and is the oldest Roman arch which survives. It signaled the end of the via Flaminia, which connected the cities of Romagna to Rome, and spans the modern Corso d'Augusto (the ancient decumanus maximus), which led to the beginning of another road, the via Emilia, which ran northwest to Piacenza.
Its style is simple but at the same time solemn. The central arch, which is of exceptional size, is flanked by two engaged columns with fluted shafts and Corinthian capitals. The four clipei (shields) placed next to the capitals each depict Roman divinities: Jupiter and Apollo on the Roman side, Neptune and Roma facing the city of Rimini. The gate’s principal function, aside from functioning as a city gate, was to support the lavish bronze statue of Augustus, depicted driving a quadriga.
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