ROME ON THE TIBER
While Cleopatra's vital spirit continued to shine brightly in Egypt, its radiance was no less vibrant in Rome. The gilded statue in the Temple of Venus Genetrix, installed by Caesar, was gleaming still, and Augustus set out to continue and even enhance Caesar's renovation of Rome. His decision to do this was significant. Caesar had been by nature a great builder, and his relationship with Cleopatra and exposure to Alexandria had caused his ambitions to soar; he set out to achieve on the banks of the Tiber a blueprint for a new Rome that was unprecedented. The sights he had seen during his sojourn in Egypt and his barge trip along the Nile— the jutting profiles of the pyramids, the lofty heights of the obelisks, the opulence of variegated marbles—surely inspired him to revitalize Rome in the image of pharaonic and Ptolemaic Egypt. This is not to say that he engaged in wholesale imitation, however. Caesar was always aware of what was appropriate to Rome and what architectural and artistic vocabulary suited a city on the Tiber. What his Egyptian experience encouraged him to build were monuments that were large and impressive enough not to be forgotten, and structures that preserved for posterity not only the essence of the gods but also the deeds of their representatives on earth.
The ethos of the Republic was that triumphant generals were responsible for using the wealth of their victories to benefit the people of Rome and the city's urban fabric. Retrofitting Rome with new monuments and