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Of Rome's 3 significant celebratory columns, that ofAntoninus Pius is probably the least valued. Why? Likethe Column of Trajan prior to it as well as the Column of Marcus Aurelius after it, it had abase, shaft, resources, and also opulent bronze statuary of the emperor whom itcommemorated. Yet unlike those othercolumns it did not honor an armed forces occupation; neither was it embellished with asensational spiral alleviation or without a doubt sculpting of any type of kind (and also the shaft is largelylost all the same).
Yet it did show those various other columns a vital feature: it worked as a royal burial place. While theColumn of Trajan was a burial place in the rigorous feeling, real estate in its base thecremated remains of the emperor and also his other half Plotina in gold containers, the Columnof Antoninus Pius, like the later Column of Marcus Aurelius, was a cenotaph locatednear the place where the emperor had actually been cremated, his Ustrinum (funeral pyre). The version (in the Museo della Civiltà Romana) picturedabove reveals where in the School Martius it was found relative to the Pantheon(E). The column itself (A) was put north of thethe Ustrinum of Antoninus (B). To the eastern was the Ustrinum of Marcus Aurelius (C), whose column waslocated southern (D).
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The column was constructed from red granite imported from Egypt andit was monolithic, i.e., formed from a solitary item of rock. At 48' high it had much less than half the lengthof the Column of Trajan, made up of drums of Luna marble. A mason's engraving on the enduring lowerend of the shaft informs us that the rock had actually been quarried in advertisement 106 for usage inthe Online forum of Trajan. Contemporary coins, such as the denarius revealed to the right, aid us to envision the entire monolith. It shows up to have had a Corinthian funding, and also its stand was bordered by a grating.
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All that continues to be is the marble stand. Its engraving documents that the column was erectedby Marcus Aurelius as well as Lucius Verus in memory of their adoptive papa: "To theDivine Antoninus Augustus Pius his children (Marcus Aurelius) Antoninus Augustusand (Lucius) Verus Augustus (devote this monolith)." Antoninus Pius passed away in 161 and also it is likelythat this monolith was appointed back then. Faustina had actually passed away some twenty years previously, in AD140.
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The various other 3 sides of the stand are covered withreliefs. Revealed over is the front, which dealt with the Ustrinum. Itrepresents the apotheosis of Antoninus and also Faustina. The royal pair is being shared heavenwardby a male number that is younger as well as nearly totally naked. A lot of striking concerning him are his wings, which extend virtually the area's whole size. Floating over the wings on either side areeagles whose spread wings repeat those of the main number. In the reduced left edge a seminude number reclines, holding a pillar implied to remember the close-by meridian column of Augustus: he is definitely thepersonification of the School Martius, the Area of Mars, god of battle. In the reduced best edge is Roma, thepersonification of Rome. Leaning on ashield decorated with the infants Romulus and also Remus being nursed by theshe-wolf, she puts on a headgear, with one bust exposed, like an Amazon.com, and also withthe shield of the dominated accumulated at her feet: the focus right here is clearlyon battle—— a lot more so than in the various other edge. It is not that Antoninus was a hostile emperor; undoubtedly, his was themost relaxed power of the Principate! Instead, the martial numbers below represent not Antoninus' power specifically however themarch of Roman background generally. Andthey are bidding goodbye to the magnificent set.
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Yet that is that main number? The features leave the inquiry open: heholds a world enclosed by the zodiac as well as braided by a serpent. He is commonly claimed to be a genius-figure (a geniusis a modify vanity or a guardian spirit), yet if so he is the just one with wingsin every one of Roman art. Is he Aeternitas, thepersonification of endless time that we discover on the cash of Faustina? Yet Aeternitas is a womanly noun, so wewould anticipate a women personification. Various other propositions: Ascensus, Consecratio, Aion, the Mithraic god of time. Lise Vogel, that committed an entiremonograph to the monolith, arguesfor Aureum Saeculum, Golden era objectified. She associates the scene to an earlier among Really earlyantonine or hadrianic day that reveals the apotheosis of Sabina.In this alleviation Sabina skyrockets to paradise astride Aeternitas, that suffers with which she has actually simply lit the pyre (ustrinum)listed below. The ustrinum is representeddoubly by the flaming framework itself as well as by its personification in the formof a young people. On the right, her husbandHadrian proposals her goodbye. Comparisonwith the Sabina alleviation does without a doubt reveal that the Antoninus as well as Faustina reliefis conventional, also if it does not truly aid us to determine that enigmatic centralfigure.Finally, allow us count on the various other 2 sides of thepedestal of the Column of Antoninus Pius. They equal depictions of the armed forces ceremony or decursio that happened at the time ofthe consecratio or cremation event. Inthe center, on a main ground line, we see 10 standing praetorians, 2 ofwhom, dealing with each various other at the facility, are signiferi, holding militarystandards, while 2 even more are policemans and also the various other 6 are ordinarysoldiers. All over the soldiers arehorsemen trotting in a counterclockwise round motion. 10 are equites, of whom 5 bear thevexillum(banner). 6 wear calcei, chiton, as well as toga(boots ). One(lower facility)sticks out, separated and also using the pallium(cape). Vogel says that the 6 are the seviriAugustales(clergymans accountable of the royal cult)which the isolatedcentral number is an augustus: Marcus Aurelius on the one side, Lucius Verus onthe various other: that discusses why there are 2 decursio scenes.The alleviations on the stand of the Column of AntoninusPius show 2 minutes in the event of consecratio (registration of theemperor amongst the gods, i.e., deification or apotheosis). One is the cavalry procession(decursio)that came before the lights of the pyre-- in this situation, there were twodecursiones, each led by among the deceasedemperor's embraced boys, that would certainly rule collectively till Verus'fatality in advertisement 169. This dual ceremony was a presentation of theirpietas. The various other minute was the centerpiece, the apotheosis of the royal pair. Keep in mind the eagles flanking the emperor and also his better half on the alleviation. Herodian (4.2 )states that after the lights ofthe ustrinum or funeral pyre "from the greatest tale(of the pyre) … an eagleis launched … and also blasts off right into the skies with the fires, taking the spirit of … theemperor from planet to paradise … Afterthat he is venerated with the remainder of the gods."This … sestertius, dated to 161, was provided on the occasionof the consecratio that is the topic of the column base. Keep in mind that the pyre had 4 rates: Herodiansays that each rate was made from timber and also full of brushwood however alsodecorated with gold-embroidered drape, cream color makings, and also paints. Thebody was put in the 2nd rate. Thedecursio was adhered to by a chariot display screen, with those in the chariots wearingthe genealogical masks(imagines ). Then thepyre was lit …