One of the most significant monuments of Ancient Rome, the Ara Pacis Augustae celebrates the peace created throughout the Mediterranean by the Emperor Augustus after his triumphant return from the wars in Spain and Gaul. This altar to peace was commissioned by the Senate on July 4, 13 BCE it was completed and consecrated on January 30, 9 BCE. The altar itself rests inside a square enclosure made of Carrara marble. All the surfaces are decorated with friezes and reliefs.
The altar, which was placed in the Campus Martius, or the field of war, was probably destroyed after Rome fell to the Barbarians. Early in the 1900s, pieces were traced to museums in Florence, Rome, and Paris, while other pieces were found in excavations. In the late 1930's, Mussolini ordered the altar's reconstruction and installed it in a building designed by Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo beside the Tiber next to the ancient tomb of the Emperor Augustus. Today, the Ara Pacis is installed in a new museum designed by Richard Meier, which opened in 2006 (see related items links).