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Bimillenary of the Emperor Augustus

    Naturevolume 140page577 (1937) | Download Citation



    ON September 23, Signor Mussolini inaugurated the celebration of the bimillenary of the Emperor Augustus Cæsar, who was born on September 23 in the year B.C. 63, by declaring open the "Augustan Exhibition of Romanism". Great Britain was represented by delegates from the British Museum, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Societies for the Promotion of Hellenic and Roman Studies, and the University of London. The assistance which had been given by Great Britain in the preparation for the exhibition was generously recognized by Prof. G. Quirino Giglioli, who has been responsible for its organization—the work of five years. Nor does this long period of preparation seem excessive, when the vastness of the field covered by the exhibition is taken into consideration. Not only do they illustrate every side of life and culture of the city of Rome itself as the centre of the Empire, but they also include reproductions of the most remarkable monuments Rome has left in other parts of the ancient world. Further, they cover the religions, the arts and the material culture of the many and varied peoples who came under the sway of Rome, as well as trace in a special section the rise and growth of Christianity from the birth of Christ down to the Edict of Constantine. In this aspect the exhibition has a double significance for the archæologist and the historian. On one side it emphasizes an internal mobility of peoples and cultures, which at a momentous phase in the history of civilization brought about such an interchange of beliefs and ideas as that, for example, which left for the contemplation of later generations a characteristic emblem of the eastern Mithraic cult in north Britain below the Roman Wall. At the same time, from the other side, it demonstrates the solidarity of the Empire, as against the rest of the ancient world, which has set its seal on European peoples, the heirs of imperial culture, no less effectually than the more familiar contrast of East and West.

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