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Building the Roman Stage: The Scenographic Architecture of the Augustan Era

Building the Roman Stage: The Scenographic Architecture of the Augustan Era

Chapter:
(p.56) Two Building the Roman Stage: The Scenographic Architecture of the Augustan Era
Source:
The Conquest of Ruins
Author(s):
Julia Hell
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226588223.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the scenographic architecture of Augustan era Rome. The author sees in this monumental architecture the foundations of the Romans’ concept of their imperial ruins. The urban renewal program and buildings like Augustus’s mausoleum, the Ara Pacis, or the theater of Marcellus, turned Rome’s center into the empire’s theo-political stage. The new ornate scene-buildings, or scaenae frons, which decorated Rome’s first permanent theaters, were also part of the empire’s theatricality of politics. The iconic buildings of this architectural stage and their ruins would remain European imperialism’s literal and metaphorical core, a stage-in-ruins to be reconquered literally and metaphorically through the ages.

Keywords:   Augustus, Principate, Theatricality of politics, Theo-political stage, Architectural stage, Spatio-political imagination, Scaenae frons, Vitruvius, Casa Romuli, Ara Pacis

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