Tag Archives: Mausoleum of Augustus

The Mausoleum of Caesar Augustus in Rome – Part 2

In my previous post, I described the geographical and historical setting of Augustus’ Mausoleum. Here are some pictures of the Mausoleum that I took last spring (2022).

The Mausoleum is a circular structure about 300 feet in diameter and about 140 feet tall. It was composed of a number of concentric circular walls, the outer of which were filled in to provide support for the structure. Only the lower third of the monument is preserved.
The exterior of the lowest and widest of the circular terraces.

View of the eastern exterior drum of the Mausoleum of Augustus.  Notice that some of the original marble and travertine stones are still in place—most of them had been looted in ancient times.  Obviously, the upper portions of this drum are modern reconstructions.

One of the inner drums is visible in the upper left quadrant of the image.  The paved path in the lower left leads down to the entrance of the dromos.

The entrance to the Mausoleum.

View looking north at the southern entrance (dromos) to the mausoleum complex.  This was the only entrance to the family tomb.

The long corridor (dromos) was originally flanked by two obelisks from Egypt—now erected in the Piazza del Quirinale and Piazza dell’Esquilino.  And, a copy of the deeds of Augustus, the Res Gestae, was inscribed on bronze tablets near this entrance.  They have disappeared, but copies of this document are still preserved on the walls of the Augustus Temple in Ankara—In Latin and Greek.  Other partial copies have been found—for example at Pisidian Antioch.

View of one of the interior drums of the Mausoleum of Augustus.

Visible is the exterior wall of the drum, on the left, and the cylindrical core of the mausoleum on the right—where urns of Augustus and other members of the royal family were deposited.

On the upper left, note that some of the arches are partially preserved—the roof has collapsed—and some ancient travertine blocks (white) and ancient brickwork are visible.

Burial chamber from above.

View looking down on the cylindrical core of the mausoleum, where urns of Augustus and other members of the royal family were deposited.

Only the bottom third(!) of the lower portion of the “drum” is preserved—it used to be the highest portion of the mausoleum reading a height of 140 feet.  It supported a large bronze statue of Augustus on the top that was visible from the outside to all.

Outer Ring of Cylindrical Core

A view of the outer ring of the cylindrical core of the mausoleum, where urns of members of the royal family were deposited.  On the left, one of the large, tall, niches of this outer ring is visible.  These were the places where the urns of the family members were placed.  Of course, all of the area was originally faced with marble over the preserved Roman brick.

On the right is the major inner core composed of a thick cylindrical wall, but hollow on the inside.  This is where the urn of Augustus was placed.

Cylindrical Core

A view of the thick, but hollow, cylindrical core—looking up at the truncated remnant of the originally 140-high structure.  The burial urn of Augustus was probably placed within this hollow core. It originally supported a large bronze statue of Augustus on the top that was visible from the outside to all. The “spiral” looking fan at the top, is the modern covering to preserve it.

Burial Chamber Inside the Cylindrical Core

This is a photo of the Burial Chamber inside of the Cylindrical Core—the place where the burial urns of Augustus and other super elites were placed. Many members of the royal families were buried here. As were the Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, and Nerva (the last emperor to be buried here).

Additional images can be found Here.

The following is a very well-done video describing and touring the Mausoleum of Augustus (7 minutes).