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Mausoleum of Augustus



It is located on the area of Campus Martius, on the place called Piazza Augusto Imperatore, on the will of Octavius Augustus (in 29 BC) following his conquest of Egypt, as a burial place for himself and his relatives.  It was a sumptuous, beautiful and magnificent building, it deserved to be called Mausoleum, as important as the one build by Queen Artemisia of Caria for his husband, defined as one of the wonders of the world. If we see the ruins it is difficult to imagine it, but thanks to the descriptions of Strabo (historian and writer in 64 BC.) we can do it . He  told that the Mausoleum  was located on a circular base  of white granite, from which the heap of earth was erected, covered with evergreen trees, on the top the statue of August of bronze. Under the heap there were the mortuary cells, 13 sepulchral chambers, and 1 used as an entry, in diameter circa 87 meters.  It was covered with precious marbles, the tables of bronze with the exploits of the emperor were fixed on the two pillars opposite the entry, while the entryway was flanked by two obelisks, one now stands  at the piazza del Quirinale and the other at piazza Esquilino. Behind the monument there was a wood with beautiful paths. The first person to be buried in 23 BC., was Marcellus, nephew of Augustus (an unfinished monument ), and then the son-in-law Agrippa, Drusus Major, Lucius and Gaius Caesar, Augustus in 14 BC., followed by Drusus Minor, Livia, Tiberius, Agrippina, Claudius, Britannicus and Nerva.

The monument was  integral and worshipped until the late Roman times,  but in 409 after the barbarian invasion of the Goths of Alaric, the decay began. In the Middle Ages the statue of the emperor, which stood on the top of the heap was melted to coin the coins. With the Colonna family it was fortified as a castle, stormed in 1241 by the Conti family, then the Orsini family occupied it and in 1550 the Soderini family. It was turned into a garden, as the top collapsed. In the XVIII century the marquis Benedetto Correa converted it into theatre, and it was called Corèa in Roman dialect, taking this name from the new owner. Tournaments, plays, fireworks (called in Roman dialect romanesco fochetti) and bullfights took place at "arCorèa"  till the first half of the XIX century, when Pius VIII put an end to the particular plays in 1829. The Mausoleum lost its importance and turned into a lonely and famous ruin. A legend related to Mausoleum narrates that this land was full of ghosts, such as the ghost of Augustus and Cola di Rienzo, here maimed and burned.




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