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Triumphal Arch - Examples

There remain a great number of triumphal arches erected by the Romans. The most remarkable are those of Constantine, Septimius Severus, and Titus, at Rome; of Trajan, at Benevento and at Ancona; of Augustus, at Rimini and at Pola; of Hadrian, at Athens; of Marcus Aurelius, at Orange, and the arch at St. Remy, near Arles.

In all these monuments the piers are decorated with columns, either engaged or detached, which rest upon a comparatively high pedestal; the entablature breaks out over the columns, when they are entirely detached, and it supports them. Over each column are statues or emblematic figures, which terminate happily, and seem to give a reason to the rich and vigorous ornamentation. An attic destined to receive the commemorative inscription raises itself above the entablature. The conquerors statue in bronze, standing in a chariot drawn by four or six horses, often crowned the edifice.

The Arch of Titus, at Rome, composed of one arcade and executed entirely in white marble, is of a very beautiful character. The arch was constructed of Pentelic marble on a travertine foundation. The dimensions of this arch are 15.4 meters tall, 13.5 m. wide, and 4.75 m. deep. The archway is 8.3 m. high and 5.36 m. wide. It has a unity of composition and distinction in the principal forms, but the ornamentation leaves something to be desired in the way of elegance and vigor. It has been overdone in many points, notably in the entablature. The sculpture of this arch is superior to its architecture, and it is classed with the most remarkable works of Roman art. The two great has reliefs which Victory crowns the emperor, and soldiers, statesmen, and standard bearers accompany the chariot. Upon the face opposite are Hebrew prisoners and, what is most precious to the archaeologist, the spoils of the Temple - the candelabra with seven branches, the golden table, the tablets of the law, and the silver trumpets. Other scenes of the triumphal march are represented, on a smaller scale, on the frieze of the entablature.
The Arch of Septimius Severus stands in the Roman forum, and is a more important structure than that of Titus. The Arch of Septimius Severus is a 3 way triumphal arch 20.88m total in height, 23.27 in width, 11.2 in depth. On a travertine foundation with white Proconessian marble overlay. The tallest central arch is 12m high with a 7m width while the lateral arches are 7.8m high (raised a few steps) and 3m wide. Its architecture is beautiful, without sacrificing grandeur; the columns and their entablature have a monumental character, and the attic, which replaces the long inscription, is of a happy design. But the decadence of art shows itself in all the sculptures, and one is surprised to notice how rapid and complete the process has been. The arch was raised in honor of the emperor whose name it bears, and of his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who commanded armies in the far east and in the far north of the empire, conquering the Parthians, and building the so called "' wall of Severus " across the Scottish lowlands as a rampart against the mountain savages beyond it. Some restorations of this monument, justified by medals that have been preserved, show a bronze group of the emperor and his two sons in a chariot, surmounting the arch. Like that of Titus, the Arch of Septimius Severus is entirely executed in blocks of white marble, wrought with the greatest precision and set in place without mortar in the joints.
Of all Rome's triumphal arches, that of Constantine is the most imposing and the best preserved - the latter, perhaps, because it is the latest in point of date, as is a memento of the final chapter of the Eternal City's history as mistress of the known world, built in 312 AD, when Constantine marched triumphant into the capital after his victory - won by heavenly aid, so legend says - over his rival, Maxentius. The Arch of Constantine is a three-way arch, measuring 21m in height, 25.7m in width and 7.4m in depth. The central archway is 11.5m high and 6.5m wide. For its adornment, sculpture was ruthlessly appropriated from an earlier arch built by Trajan at one end of the Forum, and since entirely destroyed. In the dark days of Rome's downfall it became a fort. In the eighteenth century Rope Clement XII saved 'it from threatened demolition; in 1S04 it was cleared of the debris that had been heaped deep about it, revealing it as it is today. It has a large central passageway, with a smaller arcade at each side; its attic is high, with a long inscription; and it has four Corinthian columns and abundant sculptural decoration.

The Arch of Trajan, at Benevento, in Campania, reproduces the arrangements and dimensions of that of Titus, but it is richer, having reliefs that occupy all the surface's which are left without ornament in the Roman arch. The other arch named after the famous Spanish Ca?sar is a small but remarkably graceful structure of white marble at the end of one of the piers of the little Adriatic port of Ancona. It was built by the Koman Senate in 112 AD, to commemorate Trajan's munificence in building the breakwater on whioli it stands. With its four engaged Corinthian columns, it is remarkably well preserved, although its bronze decorations have disappeared, only the bolt holes remaining to show where they were fastened to the stone.

Arch of Trajan at Ancona, 18 m high, was erected in 114/115 as an entrance to the causeway atop the harbor wall The arch of Trajan at Ancona, one of the most elegant works of ancient architecture, stands on the pier of the port, at the entrance of the mole, and is decorated with four Corinthian columns on pedestals. It is in excellent preservation, and is almost unequalled in the beauty of its construction, the elegance of its proportions, and its great simplicity.

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Page last modified: 22-11-2017 14:03:41 ZULU