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Augustus of Prima Porta

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Statue of Octavian from Prima Porta
Augustus of Prima Porta

The so-called statue of Augustus of Prima Porta stood in the private villa of Empress Livia in Prima Porta, near Rome. This is probably the posthumous appearance of the emperor, as evidenced by his bare feet – nudity symbolized the death of the depicted person, but the emperor fighting for the renewal of Roman customs was not decided to present in this form, especially shortly after his death. Instead, the pars pro toto principle was used – literally “part of the whole” – bare feet were supposed to symbolize the nakedness of the whole body.

At the foot of Augustus is located Cupid riding a dolphin. It reveals Octavian’s mythical connection to the goddess Venus (Cupid’s mother) by way of his adopted father Julius Caesar.

The armour decoration of Augustus is also extremely interesting. It commemorates important political events in the history of Rome – the recovery from the hands of the Parthians of the legionary flags lost by Crassus in 53 BCE. In the centre, we see the Part and a Roman, who at the hands of the barbarian receives the banner with the eagle.

On the top of the armour, we see the personification of the god of the heavens, stretching the canvas of the sky, the Sun – Sol probably moves on the quadrant. On the right we see the goddess of the moon – Selene and Eos, holding a jug, as a symbol of morning dew.

To the right and left of the main performance, we see two men, probably symbolizing the provinces conquered by Octavian Augustus. Below is Apollo with instruments and Diana with a doe. At the very bottom, in a reclining position, we see the goddess Ceres with a cornucopia.

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