Photo from The Artists of the Ara Pacis

Like a modern Caesar, Benito Mussolini strides past the Ara Pacis, an “altar of peace” commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 B.C. to honor Emperor Augustus (27 B.C.-14 A.D.). In 1902, the German scholar Eugen Petersen proposed a reconstruction of the partially excavated monument after studying photos of fragments from a number of European museums. In 1937–1938, Mussolini had the rest of the Ara Pacis excavated; then he had the monument reconstructed following Petersen’s model—all to celebrate the “Romanitá” (Romanness) of the Fascist regime.