The Arch of Constantine in Rome, Italy

The Arch of Constantine stands between the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in Rome, Lazio, Italy.  The Roman Senate erected this arch in the year 315 AD to commemorate the victory of Constantine over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD.

The inscription on the attic panel reads the same on both sides of the monument:

To the Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantine, the Greatest, Pius, Felix, Augustus:  inspired by (a) divinity, in the greatness of his mind, he used his army to save the state by the just force of arms from a tyrant on the one hand and every kind of factionalism on the other; therefore the Senate and the People of Rome have dedicated this exceptional arch to his triumphs.

SOURCE:   Bill Thayer, A Monumental Inscription or: Read the Flattery as Relief… (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/home.html : accessed 10 October 2011).

Most of the detail on the Arch of Constantine was appropriated from other monuments in Rome, notably those of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius.  In the attic story of the monument are reliefs celebrating Marcus Aurelius’ victory over the Germans.  The standing figures of prisoners were removed from the Forum of Trajan and commemorate Trajan’s victory over the Dacians.  The roundels on the north and south sides of the arch were made for Hadrian.

On the sides of the arch are roundels that actually originate from Constantine’s time, but the friezes above the roundels are from a monument to Trajan.  On the east side, the roundel depicts the sun riding in a chariot.

On the inside of the central arch are friezes from the time of Trajan depicting a Roman on horseback and rearing over a fallen enemy.

South Face of the Arch of Constantine

South Face of the Arch of Constantine

SOURCE:  South Face of the Arch of Constantine (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

The Sun Riding a Chariot

The Sun Riding a Chariot

SOURCE:  The Sun Riding a Chariot (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

Battle Scene on the East Face of the Arch of Constantine

Battle Scene on the East Face of the Arch of Constantine

SOURCE:  Battle Scene on the East Face of the Arch of Constantine (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

North Face of the Arch of Constantine

North Face of the Arch of Constantine

SOURCE:  North Face of the Arch of Constantine (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

Copyright © 2011 by Stephen J. Danko

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