The Ara Pacis Augustae: Visual rhetoric in augustus’ principate

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalRhetoric Society Quarterly
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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