The equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius has always been intimately connected with its placement. Its original location in the Roman Forum or near the Antonine Column represented its original function as an honorary monument to the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. It was a public monument erected in a public location. Once it was misidentified as Constantine the statue was moved to the Lateran. Constantine, as the first Christian emperor was highly significant to the Lateran. During the Renaissance, the equestrian statue regained its identity as Marcus Aurelius and Pope Paul III had it transferred to the Capitoline Hill. He chose this statue for its historical and political significance. All of these locations influence how it was viewed and interpreted, including its current location within the Capitoline Museum. In this case the location alters the meaning transforming the monument once again. The original has largely become a piece of artwork to be admired or studied, instead of functioning within modern Rome. Ironically, an exceptionally carefully made copy located at the center of the Campidoglio Piazza seems to better encompass the original intent. This cultural biography showcases the different interpretations the equestrian statue has been associated with as its location has changed.


Prendergast, M. Teresa


Classical Studies


Classical Archaeology and Art History

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2011 Alice Dudley