Major Department

Art History


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Fall 2016

Honors Major Advisor

Christopher Roy

Thesis Mentor

Brenda Longfellow


In a society that lacked the post-industrial divisions of public and private, work and home, the house in Augustan Rome served as a locus of an individual’s social status and power, as well as the place in which he both displayed and exercised his dignitas (rank and public authority).An elite’s social identity was both reflected in and augmented by the amenities of his home, which the Roman architect Vitruvius tells us should include atria, tablina, and exedrae.The archaeological remains of houses at sites like Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome indicate that the architecture, furnishings and wall paintings of Roman domiciles were inspired by such diverse civilizations as Ptolemaic Egypt, Classical and Hellenistic Greece, and Republican Rome, and that these eclectic inspirations were mixed to become a style all of their own that reflected the persona and status of the homeowner. In many houses, the art commissioned by Augustus and his elite counterparts was also partially inspired by contemporary components of Rome, including the establishment of a new government, a new hereditary dynasty, and a new view on foreign subject matter. This thesis considers how the public interests of the Augustan age in globalization, a return to tradition religion and piety, and the revival of the mos maiorum (customs of the ancestors) intersect with the wall painting of two houses in Rome associated with the imperial family: the House of Augustus on the Palatine Hill (ca. 27 BCE) and the Villa Farnesina in the Campus Martius (ca. 21 BCE). The style of wall paintings in the House of Augustus place it near the end of the Second Style (40-25 BCE) while those of the house of Agrippa and Julia (the Villa Farnesina) mark the transition from the Second to the Third Style (ca. 25 BCE-40 CE).


Art History, Roman Art, Roman Painting, Augustus, Ancient History

Total Pages

38 pages


Copyright © 2016 Megan Farlow