On 30 January 9 B.C., two thousand years ago this year, the Senate dedicated the Ara Pacis Augustae. This paper celebrates that anniversary by putting forward a new interpretation of the altar's significance. Rather than focusing on a discussion of iconography or the identification of individuals portrayed on the altar, I shall explore the sacrificial implications of what was, after all, an important site for sacrificial cult in Rome. We may note that the earliest Roman accounts of the Ara Pacis both emphasize sacrificial rite. In the Res Gestae, Augustus comments (12.2):
Cum ex Hispania Galliaque, rebus in iis provincis prospere gestis, Romam redi, Ti. Nerone P. Quintilio consulibus, aram Pacis Augustae senatus pro reditu meo consacrandam censuit ad campum Martium, in qua magistratus et sacerdotes virginesque Vestales anniversarium sacrificium facere iussit.
On my return from Spain and Gaul, in the consulship of Tiberius Nero and Publius Quintilius [13 B.C.], after successful operations in these provinces, the Senate voted in honour of my return the consecration of an altar to Pax Augusta in the Campus Martius, and on this altar it ordered the magistrates and priests and Vestal virgins to make annual sacrifice.