Column of Antoninus Pius

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The base today Musei vaticani - base colonna antonina 01106.JPG
The base today
This article deals with the lost column dedicated to Antoninus Pius. For the column previously erroneously called this before the Renaissance, see Column of Marcus Aurelius, and specifically Column of Marcus Aurelius#Restoration

The Column of Antoninus Pius (Italian : Colonna di Antonino Pio) is a Roman honorific column in Rome, Italy, devoted in AD 161 to the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, in the Campus Martius, on the edge of the hill now known as Monte Citorio, and set up by his successors, the co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.




Coin showing the column with surmounting statue of Antoninus AntoninCoin.jpg
Coin showing the column with surmounting statue of Antoninus

The column itself was 14.75 metres (48.4 ft) high and 1.9 metres (6 ft 3 in) in diameter and was constructed of red granite, with no decorating reliefs as on the otherwise similar columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. It was quarried out in 106 (as shown by the masons' inscription on its lower end, IG xiv.2421.1). Architecturally it belonged to the Ustrinum, 25 metres (82 ft) north of it on the same orientation, with the main apotheosis scene facing in that direction, and was surmounted by a statue of Antoninus, as is represented on coins issued after his death (Cohen, Ant. Pius 353‑6).

Granite A common type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock with granular structure

Granite is a common type of felsic intrusive igneous rock that is granular and phaneritic in texture. Granites can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on their mineralogy. The word "granite" comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a holocrystalline rock. Strictly speaking, granite is an igneous rock with between 20% and 60% quartz by volume, and at least 35% of the total feldspar consisting of alkali feldspar, although commonly the term "granite" is used to refer to a wider range of coarse-grained igneous rocks containing quartz and feldspar.

Trajans Column victory column

Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy, that commemorates Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. It was probably constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan's Forum, built near the Quirinal Hill, north of the Roman Forum. Completed in AD 113, the freestanding column is most famous for its spiral bas relief, which artistically represents the wars between the Romans and Dacians. Its design has inspired numerous victory columns, both ancient and modern.

Column of Marcus Aurelius victory column

The Column of Marcus Aurelius is a Roman victory column in Piazza Colonna, Rome, Italy. It is a Doric column featuring a spiral relief: it was built in honour of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and modeled on Trajan's Column.


The column's base (right foreground, showing one of the decursio sides), in Panini's 1747 painting of the Palazzo Montecitorio, with the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the background. Montecitorio Panini.jpg
The column's base (right foreground, showing one of the decursio sides), in Panini's 1747 painting of the Palazzo Montecitorio, with the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the background.

Previous to the 18th century the base was completely buried, but the lower part of the shaft projected about 6m above the ground. In 1703, when some buildings were demolished in the area of Montecitorio, the rest of the column and the base were discovered and excavated. The column was raised from the ground by Carlo Fontana's son Francesco (1668–1708), but no decision was made about its use. It remained lying on the ground under some sheds, and was damaged by fire in 1759. Unsuccessful attempts were made to repair it soon afterwards in 1764, with some pieces from it being used in 1789 to restore the obelisk of Augustus that is now in the Piazza di Monte Citorio.

Carlo Fontana Swiss architect

Carlo Fontana was an Italian architect originating from today's Canton Ticino, who was in part responsible for the classicizing direction taken by Late Baroque Roman architecture.

Obelisk of Montecitorio

The Obelisk of Montecitorio, also known as Solare, is an ancient Egyptian, red granite obelisk of Psammetichus II from Heliopolis. Brought to Rome with the Flaminio Obelisk in 10 BC by the Roman Emperor Augustus to be used as the gnomon of the Solarium Augusti, it is now in the Piazza Montecitorio. It is 21.79 metres (71 ft) high, and 33.97 metres (111 ft) including the base and the globe.

Piazza di Monte Citorio

Piazza di Monte Citorio or Piazza Montecitorio is a piazza in Rome. It is named after the Monte Citorio, one of the minor hills of Rome.

Meanwhile, the base (of white Italian marble) was restored in 1706-08 and erected in the centre of Piazza di Montecitorio by Ferdinando Fuga in 1741, before being taken to the Vatican Museums in 1787, where it has been in the Michelangelo niche in the Cortile della Pigna from 1885 until its final move to its current position in the courtyard outside the entrance to the Vatican Pinacoteca.

Marble non-foliated metamorphic rock commonly used for sculpture and as a building material

Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Marble is typically not foliated, although there are exceptions. In geology, the term "marble" refers to metamorphosed limestone, but its use in stonemasonry more broadly encompasses unmetamorphosed limestone. Marble is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material.

Ferdinando Fuga Italian architect

Ferdinando Fuga was an Italian architect who was born in Florence, and is known for his work in Rome and Naples. Much of his early work was in Rome, notably, the Palazzo della Consulta (1732–7) at the Quirinal, the Palazzo Corsini (1736–54), the façade of the Santa Maria Maggiore (1741–3), and the Church of Sant'Apollinare (1742–8). He later moved to Naples and notably designed the Albergo de'Poveri (1751–81), the façade of the Church of the Gerolamini, and that of the Palazzo Giordano.

Vatican Museums Art museum in Vatican City

The Vatican Museums are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by popes throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments.

Base iconography

One side of the base has a dedicatory inscription (CIL vi.1004), two sides record the funerary decursio or decursus (a ceremony performed by the Roman cavalry), and one side shows the apotheosis or ascent to the gods of the emperor and his wife .

<i>Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum</i> comprehensive collection of ancient Latin inscriptions

The Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL) is a comprehensive collection of ancient Latin inscriptions. It forms an authoritative source for documenting the surviving epigraphy of classical antiquity. Public and personal inscriptions throw light on all aspects of Roman life and history. The Corpus continues to be updated in new editions and supplements.

Apotheosis glorification of a subject to divine level

Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level and, most commonly, the treatment of a human like a god. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.

Apotheosis scene

The apotheosis scene Antoninus Pius Columna.jpeg
The apotheosis scene

A winged genius (sometimes identified as Aion, Eternity) carries Antoninus and his wife Faustina to Heaven. The Emperor holds a sceptre crowned with an eagle, whilst eagles also fly upwards with them.

Genius (mythology) In ancient Roman religion, an individual instance of a general divine nature that is present in every individual person, place, or thing

In Roman religion, the genius is the individual instance of a general divine nature that is present in every individual person, place, or thing. Much like a guardian angel, the genius would follow each man from the hour of his birth until the day he died. For women, it was the Juno spirit that would accompany each of them.

The word aeon, also spelled eon, originally meant "life", "vital force" or "being", "generation" or "a period of time", though it tended to be translated as "age" in the sense of "ages", "forever", "timeless" or "for eternity". It is a Latin transliteration from the koine Greek word ὁ αἰών, from the archaic αἰϝών (aiwon). In Homer it typically refers to life or lifespan. Its latest meaning is more or less similar to the Sanskrit word kalpa and Hebrew word olam. A cognate Latin word aevum or aeuum for "age" is present in words such as longevity and mediaeval.

Faustina the Elder Roman empress

Annia Galeria Faustina, sometimes referred to as Faustina I, was a Roman empress and wife of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius. The emperor Marcus Aurelius was her nephew and later became her adopted son, along with Emperor Lucius Verus. She died early in the principate of Antoninus Pius, but continued to be prominently commemorated as a diva, posthumously playing a prominent symbolic role during his reign.

The personified male figure (left) holding the obelisk represents the Campus Martius. Augustus had placed this obelisk there as a sundial and it was the site of the ritual of imperial deification ceremonies. The personified female figure in armour (right) saluting the emperor and empress represents Roma, and her shield depicts the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, suckled by a she-wolf.


On these two almost identical sides, members of the cavalry circle the standing figures, two carrying military standards and the rest fully armored. Lacking a sense of space and perspective, these scenes are often criticized for their lack of stylistic sophistication. Instead of naturalism, both a bird's eye view of the circular manoeuvre and a ground-level view of each figure are provided. The repetition of the scenes can best be explained by the fact that Antoninus Pius was succeeded by two emperors, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, who reigned jointly until the latter died. The decursio depictions, as well as the language on the inscription, can be taken to show a stable and justified transition to the two co-rulers.



    Coordinates: 41°54′06″N12°28′34″E / 41.90167°N 12.47611°E / 41.90167; 12.47611

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