The sole surviving monumental column from the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine is the focus of Paul V, the Column of the Virgin, and the New Pax Romana. In 1613 Pope Paul V removed and re-erected this column at the center of Piazza S. Maria Maggiore in Rome, crowning it with a gilded bronze statue of the Virgin and Child. After reconstructing the little-known history of the monument and situating it within the history of honorific columns and Paul's urban planning, Steven F. Ostrow examines the antiquarian interest it long held, what was known about its original context, and the symbolic associations with which it was endowed. This close reading of Paul's monument demonstrates how, by appropriating the column and topping it with a statue of the Virgin, the pope eloquently expressed the Church's longstanding belief in Mary as a bringer of peace and the protector of Rome.

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