In 29 BC, after conquering Egypt and visiting Alexander the Great’s tomb in Alexandria, Augustus began construction of his own mausoleum (Mausoleum of Augustus) as a great dynastic sepulchre for himself and his descendants.
The edifice is circular and measures about 87 metres across. The door is flanked by two pillars, to which were fixed the bronze tables with Augustus’s autobiography, and two obelisks, perhaps commissioned by the emperor himself: one is now stands between the statues of the Dioscuri before the Quirinal, the other by the apse of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Throughout the first century AD the mausoleum was used as a tomb for the imperial family. In the Middle Ages it was converted to various uses and in quite modern times it was used for public amusements. Excavations in the 1930’s cleared away all the later additions to reveal the original structure.
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