Against Gravity

Margaret Andrews

Augustus in the Subura: The Monumental and Mundane
Augustus’ monumental building program and urban reforms in Rome are well known. In addition to reorganizing the city into fourteen regions, Augustus devoted special attention to the Campus Martius, the Palatine, and the Argiletum, which were all significantly transformed into monumental areas by the end of his rule. At the local level, particular scholarly attention has been paid the small neighborhood compital shrines, which Augustus restored and united to create a city-wide network of cults dedicated to the Lares Compitales and the imperial Genius. This paper will explore Augustus’ building program within a single region, the upper Subura, in order to demonstrate the variety of ways—from the monumental to the mundane—in which Augustus interacted with an often overlooked area of the city. From 15 to 10 B.C.E., Augustus built or restored at least four structures within a 250 m radius in the upper Subura. The diversity of the projects provides unique evidence for the full scope of Augustus’ urban interventions, including local cult restorations beyond compital shrines, which are rarely considered in Augustus’ urban or religious reforms. In focusing on the diversity of his projects in one region alone instead of a single aspect of his building program throughout the city, the sensitivity to distinct local topographical and religious traditions that Augustus’s new building projects and restorations exercised in residential areas becomes much clearer.