Winter 2009, 39:1, pages 1-24
The Ara Pacis Augustae: Visual Rhetoric in Augustus' Principate
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1080/02773940802356624
Scholars of rhetoric have veered away from non-traditional rhetorical artifacts in the classical period. In this article I examine the Ara Pacis Augustae, Altar of Augustan Peace, as one such overlooked rhetorical artifact. I argue the altar, although constructed as a war monument, shapes public memory to persuade the people of Rome to accept the dynastic succession of Augustus's heir. In addition, I show a variety of rhetorical theories operate on the altar in visual form including amplification, imitation, and enthymeme. Ultimately I contend that by focusing on non-traditional rhetorical artifacts, we can deepen our understanding of the rhetorical tradition in a period in which rhetoric is generally believed to have faded away.