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The Arch of Constantine (by Harrison)

Who built it and Why

  • Erected by Senate in 312
  • Dedicated to Emperor Constantine after his victory against Emperor Maxentius at the Battle of
  • Milvian Bridge in 312
  • Repaired in 18th C.
  • Restored for final time in 1990

Purpose and How it was made

  • The Arch spans the Via Triumphalis – the road from Palestine Hill to the Coliseum
  • Emperors would travel this route after a military victory
  • The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep.
  • three archways:
  • central one being 11.5 m high and 6.5 m wide
  • smaller lateral archways 7.4 m by 3.4 m each
  • Made with brick, and riveted in marble
  • Senate built it to commemorate Emperor Constantine
  • Original brickwork and marble was constructed, then other architectural, and sculptural features
  • were taken from existing monuments and placed on the Arch

Imporant features:

  • Features depictions of war and Roman legends – including Hadrian hunting Lions
  • Features Hellenistic aspects
  • Corinthian Columns
  • Intricate & complex designs
  • Great detail
  • Primarily focuses on glorifying Roman military victories

Main Section

  • The spandrels of the main archway are decorated with reliefs depicting victory figures with
  • trophies
  • Separated by Corinthian style columns, with statues of Emperor Corinthius on top of them
  • Smaller archways depicts scenes of gods
  • Circular-framed scenes depicting hunting and sacrifice
  • Main piece is under the circular freezes, and depicts Emperor Constantine’s campaign against
  • Maxentius

Inscription:

IMP · CAES · FL · CONSTANTINO · MAXIMO · P · F · AVGUSTO · S · P · Q · R · QVOD · INSTINCTV ·
DIVINITATIS · MENTIS · MAGNITVDINE · CVM · EXERCITV · SVO · TAM · DE · TYRANNO · QVAM · DE ·
OMNI · EIVS · FACTIONE · VNO · TEMPORE · IVSTIS · REM-PVBLICAM · VLTVS · EST · ARMIS · ARCVM ·
TRIVMPHIS · INSIGNEM · DICAVIT

To the Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantinus, the greatest, pious, and blessed Augustus: because he,
inspired by the divine, and by the greatness of his mind, has delivered the state from the tyrant and all of
his followers at the same time, with his army and just force of arms, the Senate and People of Rome have
dedicated this arch, decorated with triumphs.

Significance:

  • Considered to be one of Rome’s great architectural pieces
  • Gives knowledge of time period
  • Wide array of images, scenes depicted
  • Shows Empire propaganda in the glorification of Costantinus in his military victory
  • Uses various styles
  • Design has been the inspiration for many similar arch’s
  • Used in 1960 Olympics as the marathon finish line
  • Considered one of Rome’s most illustrious buildings

 

Works Cited

“Arch of Constantine.” – Smarthistory. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2012. <http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/arch-of-constantine.html&gt;.

“Triumphal Arches of Titus, Septimius Severus, and Constantine.” Arch of Constantine. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2012. <http://web.mit.edu/course/21/21h.405/www/ArchesOfTitus/constantine-art.html&gt;.

“Arch of Constantine.” Arch of Constantine. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2012. <http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/romanurbs/archconstantine.html&gt;.

Brommer, Gerald F. Discovering Art History 3rd Ed. Worcester Davis Publicant Inc. 1997

Thompson, Nanny L. “Roman Art“ New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007

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The Arch of Titus (by Nick)

Inscriptions on the arch meaning: The Roman Senate and
People to Deified Titus, Vespasian Augustus, son of Deified
Vespasian’ were originally in bronze. The reliefs were also
colored and the arch was topped by a bronze quadriga.

– The Arch of Titus was built in 81 AD. In the 11th century the Frangipani family had a fortress built surrounding the Arch. In 1821 it was restored by Giuseppe Valadier. And then in between 1822 and 1823 they outer parts were rebuilt using travertine (opposed to the initial marble) this way we are able to differentiate the original pieces and the restored parts.

Inscriptions on the arch meaning: The Roman Senate and
People to Deified Titus, Vespasian Augustus, son of Deified
Vespasian’ were originally in bronze. The reliefs were also
colored and the arch was topped by a bronze quadriga.

-This was built at the “Forum Romanum” “at the highest point of the “Via Sacra” “
-It was built in commemoration of the victory of the Jewish Zealots. As well as in honor of Emperor Titus, who died of a fever in year 81.
-The arch was built by Titusʼ brother Domitian.

-Although it is unclear who actually made or at least participated in making the Arch what is clear is that it was commissioned by Emperor Domitian. And they incorporated a Flavian style. This style can be identified through the simplicity of the general shape and even some of the pictures on the arch.

-The Arch of Titus is created from a “Pentelic marble” and it sits on top of a travertine (a type of limestone) base. They used a white marble which often signified wealth and had an overall positive connotation. Structurally, the Arch gets its strength from its “voussoirʼs” which means “Wedge shaped stone or brick”, making the curved format possible. (very common when it comes to building vaults and arches). Different parts of the arch have different names. Approaching from the front the part that sticks out the most is called the archʼs “barrel vault”(depth of 4.75 m), the archway was 8.3m high and 5.36m wide. Also the Arch of Titus was supposedly the first of its kind to combine Ionic and Corinthian styles to create “Composite order”.

-The Arch of Titus was not something to be used practically, rather to be looked upon symbolically. The Arch signified the victory of the Jewish people in the Jewish war. The fact that the Arch is still standing is also significant, this proves that the defeat was not a temporary victory, rather a long term life changing event.

– A cool fact about the arch is the oldest surviving Roman arch. And on the inside of the two panels are pictures or “reliefs” one side depicting the Triumphal procession with the spoils taken from the second temple in Jerusalem. The other showing Titus being carried in a chariot accompanied by the Goddesses Victoria and Roma.

 

A painting of the Arch by
Canaletto depicting what it
would look like in ancient times.

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