Arch of Constantine
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 41° 53.397 E 012° 29.431
33T E 291805 N 4640602
Quick Description: The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312 AD.
Location: Lazio, Italy
Date Posted: 7/31/2007 10:39:26 AM
Waymark Code: WM1Y3C
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 295

Long Description:
Dedicated in 315, it is the latest of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, from which it differs by spolia, the extensive re-use of parts of earlier buildings.

The arch is 21 m high, 25.7 m wide and 7.4 m deep. It has three archways, the central one being 11.5 m high and 6.5 m wide, the lateral archways 7.4 m by 3.4 m each. The lower part of the monument is built of marble blocks, the top (called attic) is brickwork reveted with marble. A staircase formed in the thickness of the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, in the end towards the Palatine Hill.

The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Roman Forum. It has been suggested that the lower part of the arch is re-used from an older monument, probably from the times of the emperor Hadrian.

The arch spans the Via Triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. This route started at the Campus Martius, led through the Circus Maximus and around the Palatine Hill; immediately after the Arch of Constantine, the procession would turn left at the Meta Sudans and march along the Via Sacra to the Forum Romanum and on to the Capitoline Hill, passing both the Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus.

During the Middle Ages, the Arch of Constantine was incorporated into one of the family strongholds of ancient Rome. Works of restoration were first carried out in the 18th century; the last excavations have taken place in the late 1990s, just before the Great Jubilee of 2000.

The decoration of the arch heavily uses parts of older monuments, which are given a new meaning in the context of the Constantinian building. As it celebrates the victory of Constantine, the new "historic" friezes illustrating his campaign in Italy convey the central meaning: the praise of the emperor, both in battle and in his civilian duties. The other imagery supports this purpose: decoration taken from the "golden times" of the Empire under Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius places Constantine next to these "good emperors", and the content of the pieces evokes images of the victorious and pious ruler.

Above each lateral archway are pairs of round reliefs dated to the times of Emperor Hadrian. They display scenes of hunting and sacrificing: (north side, left to right) hunt of a boar, sacrifice to Apollo, hunt of a lion, sacrifice to Hercules, (south side, left to right) departure for the hunt, sacrifice to Silvanus, hunt of a bear, sacrifice to Diana. The head of the emperor (originally Hadrian) has been reworked in all medallions: on the north side, into Constantine in the hunting scenes and into Licinius or Constantius I in the sacrifice scenes; on the south side, vice versa.

On top of each of the columns stand marble statues of Dacian prisoners from the times of Trajan, probably taken from the Forum of Trajan.


Most Relevant Historical Period: Roman Empire > 27 B.C.

Admission Fee: Free

Opening days/times:
24 x 7


Web Site: [Web Link]

Condition: Completely intact or reconstructed

Visit Instructions:
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