One of the largest arches in the history of Rome, the Arch of Constantine was built in 315 AD.
It is located between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill on the Via Sacra. It was constructed to honor Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.
The sizes of the arch are impressive: 21 m in height, 25.7 m in width, and 7.4 m in depth. The main part of the construction is made of marble blocks, and the attic is made of bricks, coated with marble.
Elements that used to be located on other constructions were used to decorate the arch. There are three explanations for this:
- The workers required special skills to build the arch to make it stand out on the background of other buildings. These skills vanished into thin air after the fall of the Roman Empire in the IV century AD;
- The creators of the arch were limited in time. They began the building process at the end of 312 and had to finish it by summer 315;
- Using decorative elements of other epochs is nothing more than a symbolic step. Thus, Constantine is included in the list of other “great emperors”.
Decoration of the Attic
8 bas reliefs that had been taken off the monument of the epoch of Marcus Aurelius decorate the attic in pairs. On its northern side, you can see the image of the Emperor’s return to Rome after a military campaign. On the opposite side, on the southern panel of the construction, you shall see how the Emperor greets the German leader and other prisoners. It also depicts how he addresses the military forces and the moment of sacrificing animals. The bas relief of giving money to people has elements of a figure of Commodus, Marcus Aurelius' son.
The tops of every column of this unique Roman attraction are crowned with figures of the Dacians. Most likely, they were taken off Trajan’s Forum. The bas reliefs from the sidewalls of the arch’s attic and the central span have the same history. They depict the victory over the Dacians.
The central part of the three archways
Yellow marble is immortalized in the Corinthian order. Their foundations are decorated with reliefs with images of Victoria, prisoned barbarians, and Roman soldiers. There are round reliefs above the side archways. They are 2 meters in diameter. They display the moment of sacrifice and hunt. The same round bas reliefs are situated on the eastern side of archways. There you shall see the gods of the Sun and Moon on chariots.
The Arch of Constantine in Italy became historical. Constantine immortalized his campaign against Maxentius in the image on the relief frieze. When you study the architecture of the beginning of the epoch, you can easily learn its events and facts.
Mind, that sightseeing will take plenty of time. We recommend you to take care of booking a hotel in Rome in advance. And if you are looking for a thrilling tour, check of the Catacombs of Rome. These are the burial places dating back to the period of early Christianity.