Fragments of Ara Pacis Augustae

                                          Head of a Young Man,                                            thought to be the young god Honos

This marble head of a young man is one of the finest and most important fragments of the Ara Pacis on display in the lower level of the Museo dell’Ara Pacis.

The history of this head reveals the gradual evolution of scholarship and restoration of the Ara Pacis. The head was discovered in 1859 while underpinnings were being added to the walls of the Palazzo Fiano. It was first illustrated by Petersen (1902), incorrectly accompanying one of the Della Valle-Medici slabs, then considered part of the Ara Pacis. It was first identified as the young god Honos and illustrated as part of the Roma panel by Studniczka (1909), close to the positions to which it is now ascribed by most scholars (see illustrations below). In his 1938 reconstruction of the Ara Pacis and 2 volume 1948 publication, Moretti inserted the head in the Aeneas panel, thinking it might belong to the figure of Aeneas’ companion Achates, standing at the far right holding a spear (illustrations below). In her classic 1953 article, Toynbee correctly calls attention to the fact that the head is slighty too large in scale for the Aeneas panel and agrees with Studniczka's 1909 identification.

During the restoration of the 1980s, the head was removed from the Aeneas panel. Ever since then, it has been considered most likely part of the Roma panel, though it has never been inserted. In the recent color projection, an image of the head has been included as part of the Honos figure at the right of the Roma panel.

A clear, detailed account of the excavation and scholalry study and reconstruction of fragments from the Ara Pacis is provided in the museum's impressive guidebook by Orietta Rossini, Ara Pacis, Comune di Roma (2006) pp. 93-99.