Thursday, October 11, 2012

Free-standing Arches: The Arch of Constantine- Rome, Italy

Interesting Places I've Photographed
The Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino)
Rome, Italy
Topic: Free-standing Arches, Great Buildings of the World

GPS: N41° 53.400; E 012° 29.435

Quick Description: 

The Arch of Constantine is a magnificent triumphal arch adjacent to the Colosseum in Rome.

Long Description:

This nearly 1700 year old Roman, Corinthian style, monumental arch is remarkably well preserved. The arch was constructed in 315 A.D. to celebrate Constantine the Great's victory over the Emperor Maxentius (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius Augustus) in the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312 A.D. During this battle Maxentius was killed and Constantine gained sole control of the Roman Empire in the West.

The Arch of Constantine is a truly impressive triple arch. Overall, it stands 21 meters high, is 30 meters wide and 7.4 meters deep. The larger central arch spans a distance of 6.5 meters and rises 11.5 meters above the ground. The two smaller side arches span a distance of 3.4 meters and are 7.4 meters high. The Via Triumphalis, the road that victorious emperors used when entering Rome, passes under the arch.

Many of the decorative elements were taken from other monuments and re-purposed to glorify Constantine and his military prowess. An original frieze surrounds the arch that re-tells the story of Constantine's victory against Emperor Maxentius. The arch is the most flamboyant, largest, and last of the three imperial arch built in ancient Rome. The Arch of Constantine is very much a political statement. As a monument, it documents a shift of imperial power from one emperor to another.

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