International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Political Propaganda and Archaeology: The Mausoleum of Augustus in the Fascist Era
Susan L. Fugate Brangers

In the 1920s and 1930s, Mussolini invoked images of ancient Rome to create a new Fascist mythology and to associate himself with the Roman Emperor Augustus as a means to legitimize his dictatorship. To further this aim, he initiated the excavation of the Mausoleum of Augustus and the creation of a surrounding piazza. Mussolini hoped to reveal a monument that would glorify Augustus, and therefore himself, but instead what he uncovered was only the barest remains of the once magnificent Mausoleum. His attempt to use archaeology as a tool for his political propaganda resulted in the isolation of the Mausoleum within a heavy-handed, souldeadening Fascist piazza. The devastated remains of the monument have become an eyesore for the people of Rome and the Mausoleum’s previous role within the life of the city has faded. Recent plans for the renovation of the Mausoleum remain unfulfilled leaving the monument even more unsightly.

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