The bimillennium of Augustus Caesar was commemorated by the department of Latin, with an exhibition of coins, manuscripts and rare bindings in the Library and a festival at which poems and essays on the Augustan age were read. The event’s aim was to recall and revivify the age of peace Romans enjoyed under Augustus.

In his keynote address, “The Art of the Augustan Age,” Karl Lehmann-Hartleben, Professor of Classical Archaeology at New York University discussed a marble relief of a draped woman’s head which he had seen at Vassar on a former visit. Recently completed research, he said, identified it as the work of a master sculptor of the famous Ara Pacis Augustae,  the Roman Altar of Peace commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 BCE to honor Augustus.

The Metropolitan Museum drew from the Vassar collection, along with those at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the American Numismatic Society and several Italian museums, for its commemorative Augustan art exhibition which opened on January 4, 1939.