Of Rome's 3 significant celebratory columns, that ofAntoninus Pius is possibly the least valued. Why? Likethe Column of Trajan prior to it and also the Column of Marcus Aurelius after it, it had abase, shaft, funding, and also opulent bronze statuary of the emperor whom itcommemorated. However unlike those othercolumns it did not memorialize an armed forces occupation; neither was it enhanced with asensational spiral alleviation or certainly sculpting of any type of kind (as well as the shaft is largelylost all the same).
Yet it did show to those various other columns an essential feature: it acted as a royal burial place. While theColumn of Trajan was a burial place in the stringent feeling, real estate in its base thecremated remains of the emperor and also his other half Plotina in gold containers, the Columnof Antoninus Pius, like the later Column of Marcus Aurelius, was a cenotaph locatednear the area where the emperor had actually been cremated, his Ustrinum (funeral pyre). The version (in the Museo della Civiltà Romana) picturedabove reveals where in the School Martius it was situated relative to the Pantheon(E). The column itself (A) was positioned north of thethe Ustrinum of Antoninus (B). To the eastern was the Ustrinum of Marcus Aurelius (C), whose column waslocated southern (D).
The column was made from red granite imported from Egypt andit was monolithic, i.e., formed from a solitary item of rock. At 48' high it had much less than half the lengthof the Column of Trajan, made up of drums of Luna marble. A mason's engraving on the making it through lowerend of the shaft informs us that the rock had actually been quarried in advertisement 106 for usage inthe Discussion forum of Trajan. Contemporary coins, such as the denarius revealed to the right, aid us to visualize the entire monolith. It shows up to have had a Corinthian resources, as well as its stand was bordered by a grating.
All that stays is the marble stand. Its engraving documents that the column was erectedby Marcus Aurelius and also Lucius Verus in memory of their adoptive dad: "To theDivine Antoninus Augustus Pius his kids (Marcus Aurelius) Antoninus Augustusand (Lucius) Verus Augustus (devote this monolith)." Antoninus Pius passed away in 161 as well as it is likelythat this monolith was appointed back then. Faustina had actually passed away some two decades previously, in AD140.
The various other 3 sides of the stand are covered withreliefs. Revealed over is the front, which encountered the Ustrinum. Itrepresents the apotheosis of Antoninus as well as Faustina. The royal pair is being shared heavenwardby a male number that is vibrant and also nearly completely naked. The majority of striking concerning him are his wings, which cover virtually the area's whole size. Floating over the wings on either side areeagles whose spread wings repeat those of the main number. In the reduced left edge a seminude number reclines, holding a column suggested to remember the close-by meridian tower of Augustus: he is definitely thepersonification of the School Martius, the Area of Mars, god of battle. In the reduced ideal edge is Roma, thepersonification of Rome. Leaning on ashield decorated with the infants Romulus and also Remus being nursed by theshe-wolf, she puts on a safety helmet, with one bust exposed, like an Amazon.com, as well as withthe shield of the overcome accumulated at her feet: the focus below is clearlyon battle—— much more so than in the various other edge. It is not that Antoninus was a hostile emperor; certainly, his was themost serene regime of the Principate! Instead, the martial numbers right here represent not Antoninus' power particularly however themarch of Roman background as a whole. Andthey are bidding goodbye to the magnificent set.
Yet that is that main number? The qualities leave the concern open: heholds a world surrounded by the zodiac and also knit by a serpent. He is frequently claimed to be a genius-figure (a geniusis a modify vanity or a guardian spirit), yet if so he is the just one with wingsin every one of Roman art. Is he Aeternitas, thepersonification of infinity that we locate on the silver of Faustina? Yet Aeternitas is a womanly noun, so wewould anticipate a women personification. Various other propositions: Ascensus, Consecratio, Aion, the Mithraic god of time. Lise Vogel, that dedicated an entiremonograph to the monolith, arguesfor Aureum Saeculum, Golden era manifested. She associates the scene to an earlier among Really earlyantonine or hadrianic day that reveals the apotheosis of Sabina.In this alleviation Sabina rises to paradise astride Aeternitas, that suffers with which she has actually simply lit the pyre (ustrinum)listed below. The ustrinum is representeddoubly by the flaming framework itself and also by its personification in the formof a young people. On the right, her husbandHadrian quotes her goodbye. Comparisonwith the Sabina alleviation does certainly reveal that the Antoninus and also Faustina reliefis standard, also if it does not truly assist us to recognize that enigmatic centralfigure.Finally, allow us rely on the various other 2 sides of thepedestal of the Column of Antoninus Pius. They equal depictions of the army ceremony or decursio that happened at the time ofthe consecratio or cremation event. Inthe center, on a main ground line, we see 10 standing praetorians, 2 ofwhom, dealing with each various other at the facility, are signiferi, holding militarystandards, while 2 even more are police officers as well as the various other 6 are ordinarysoldiers. Throughout the soldiers arehorsemen trotting in a counterclockwise round activity. 10 are equites, of whom 5 bear thevexillum(banner). 6 wear toga, calcei, and also chiton(boots ). One(lower facility)stands apart, separated and also using the pallium(cape). Vogel says that the 6 are the seviriAugustales(clergymans accountable of the royal cult)which the isolatedcentral number is an augustus: Marcus Aurelius on the one side, Lucius Verus onthe various other: that discusses why there are 2 decursio scenes.The alleviations on the stand of the Column of AntoninusPius illustrate 2 minutes in the event of consecratio (registration of theemperor amongst the gods, i.e., deification or apotheosis). One is the cavalry procession(decursio)that came before the illumination of the pyre-- in this situation, there were twodecursiones, each led by among the deceasedemperor's embraced boys, that would certainly rule collectively till Verus'fatality in advertisement 169. This dual ceremony was a presentation of theirpietas. The various other minute was the centerpiece, the apotheosis of the royal pair. Keep in mind the eagles flanking the emperor as well as his better half on the alleviation. Herodian (4.2 )states that after the illumination ofthe ustrinum or funeral pyre "from the greatest tale(of the pyre) … an eagleis launched … as well as blasts off right into the skies with the fires, taking the heart of … theemperor from planet to paradise … Afterthat he is venerated with the remainder of the gods."This … sestertius, dated to 161, was provided on the occasionof the consecratio that is the topic of the column base. Keep in mind that the pyre had 4 rates: Herodiansays that each rate was made from timber and also full of brushwood however alsodecorated with gold-embroidered drape, cream color makings, and also paints. Thebody was put in the 2nd rate. Thedecursio was adhered to by a chariot screen, with those in the chariots wearingthe genealogical masks(imagines ). Then thepyre was lit …