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Arch of Septimius Severus - Roma, Italy
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member denben
N 41° 53.569 E 012° 29.089
33T E 291341 N 4640935
Quick Description: The arch of Septimius Severus stands on the Via Sacra in the Roman Forum of Rome and has the three arches typical of later Roman triumphal arches.
Location: Lazio, Italy
Date Posted: 7/11/2019 4:33:06 PM
Waymark Code: WM10YEZ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 0

Long Description:
The Arch of Septimius Severus, erected in 203 CE, commemorates the Roman victories over the Parthians in the final decade of the 2nd century CE. The triple triumphal arch was one of the most richly decorated of its type and even today, although badly damaged, it stands in the Forum Romanum as a lasting and imposing monument to Roman vanity.

The larger central archway was used for traffic, whilst the two outer arches were closed off by steps. In terms of construction materials the core and foundations are of tavertine whilst, the whole is faced with Proconnesian marble, a feature of which is its grey and white bands. The eight composite columns, four on each façade, are of the same marble type.

It was possible to climb the arch via an inner staircase within the south pier, although the entrance was actually 5 m above ground level for security. There was both a walkway above the second cornice and access to the roof through the hollow attic.

The most impressive relief sculpture is found on four huge panels - two on each façade - which show scenes from the military campaigns in Parthia. The left panel on the Forum side shows the army leaving their camp, a battle, Septimius Severus speaking before his troops, and the liberation of Nisibis. The right panel shows siege machines attacking the city of Edessa, a group of Parthians surrendering to Septimius Severus, a war council within a fortified camp, and the launch of a new campaign. On the Capitoline side the left panel depicts the city of Seleucia under attack, its eventual fall, and defeated Parthians. The right panel shows the siege of Ctesiphon with its ultimate defeat and Septimius Severus speaking in front of his victorious army.

The inscription on the attic, originally with gilded bronze lettering, is a dedication to Septimius Severus and his two sons Caracalla and Geta who ‘restored the Republic and expanded the dominion of the Roman people’. This refers to the successful campaigns against the Parthians in modern Iran when Septimius Severus took the city of Ctesiphon (197 CE) and created the new Roman province of Mesopotamia (199 CE). Interestingly, the inscription was changed following Geta’s murder by his brother Caracalla in 212 CE, perhaps due to a guilty conscience, with the addition of P. Septimo L. fil. Getae nobliss Caesari or ‘most noble Caesar Geta’.

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