People in power
by Jorgi Paul
[student, Rome Sketchbook course, spring 2011]
We can witness ancient roman propaganda in action by looking at the monuments of Rome. For example the Arch of Constantine emphases that a new legitimate power has arrived, bringing freedom from tyranny. The attic inscription declares how Constantine, with the approval of the divinity achieved victory in Rome. The propaganda approach can be compared to modern times particularly in the case of the 2003 Iraq War, where the allies were depicted through mass media as bringers of democracy and liberators of an oppressed people. The inscriptions on the 315ad arch describe Constantine as liberator of the people and bringer of peace. The frieze encircling the arch shows how Constantine came down to Rome and defeated the rival emperor, Maxentius.
The temple of Apollo Sosianus was built to celebrate a victory in battle. Sosianus financed the building of the temple to after winning the war in Judea so as to have his name attached to it in the same way that a modern day sponsor might do. The temple is decorated with symbols of laurel leaves which is a symbol of Apollo and of victory. The temple stands within a complex built by Augustus and intended to guarantee the place of his name and family in the minds of the roman citizens.