COLOSSEUM, Arch Of Constantine

Audio File length: 2.40
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

Since you're already at the Colosseum, you can't not go see the Arch of Constantine. 25 meters tall and with three arches, it is the largest and best preserved of the triumphal arches built in honor of the Roman emperors. It was the gateway for the sacred or triumphal processions that reached the city: once they reached the arch, they would turn to head towards the Imperial Fora.

The inscription you see above and some of the bas-reliefs with historical scenes are all linked to Constantine's victory over Maxentius in 312, but keep in mind that much of the arch's structure and decorations date back to previous centuries, in the time of the Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Aurelian.

The bas-reliefs were celebratory, and today they let you carry out an immediate comparison between the sculptural styles of the different ages.

Stand in front of the arch. Below, on the bases of the columns, you can see the depictions of captive barbarians. Along the slopes of the arches you can distinguish images of divinities linked to rivers. Above the two side arches, the long and narrow panels illustrate some episodes of Emperor Constantine's life, and you can admire the splendid classical elegance in the round pairs of medallions that were made at the time of Emperor Hadrian, around the year 120.

The statues of noble barbarian commanders that you can see above the demarcation line at the top of the arch are from the period just before, under Emperor Trajan. The large, three meter tall bas-reliefs refer to military campaigns led by Marcus Aurelius around the year 170.

In short: the arch is a monument that illustrates significant parts of different moments of the Roman Empire. Almost like a synthesis of its great power which, coincidentally, began to show the first signs of an irreversible crisis during Constantine's era.

A recent excavation next to the arch has brought the ancient Meta Sudans to light, which is a monumental Roman fountain.

 

FUN FACT: at the Rome Olympics in 1960, The Arch of Constantine was the marvelous arrival point of the marathon, or the 42 kilometer race. Arriving under the light of the torches, the winner was the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who ran the entire race barefoot!

And with this we have finished our tour of the Colosseum in Rome. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

 

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