Agrippa's penchant for architectural complexes with public exhibitions of art and Augustus's articulation of a unified vision came together in what was unquestionably the artistic masterpiece of Augustus's principate— the Ara Pacis Augustae. Begun a year before Agrippa's death, the Altar of Augustan Peace was not a stand-alone monument but part of a collection of several buildings, including Augustus's own mausoleum (Fig. 1 5.1).

Even as a young man, Augustus's health was not robust, and he was concerned about his longevity. For this reason, he quickly focused on finding an appropriate successor. Whatever he achieved would not have a lasting impact if someone with a similar vision were not in place to keep that dream alive. At the same time, Augustus understood that his legacy would be strengthened by a viable successor and also by the potent memory of his own achievements. These accomplishments needed to be imprinted in the memory of the Roman populace in a way that was not ephemeral. The pharaohs and Ptolemies provided ample evidence that both goals could be achieved. While hereditary dynasty was the chosen succession vehicle in Egypt, it was at that time an tin-Roman institution, and Augustus searched among associates as well as members of his own family for a worthy heir. Augustus's succession plan took a long time to achieve, and he realized in the course of that long process that, whatever the outcome, monuments and inscriptions had the potential to keep his political agenda alive.


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Cleopatra and Rome


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