Arch of Constantine, Rome

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  • Arch of Constantine
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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Triumph III

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Aug 10, 2008

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    The Arch of Janus
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    Both the triumphal arches outside the Forum were dedicated to the Emperor Constantine, though one is now known as the Arch of Janus - a name given to it in the Middle Ages for its double-faced arch (A god with two faces who could see both comings and goings, Janus was the protector of doors, gates, bridges and arches). Known as a quadrifrons arch, the Arch of Janus has 4 arches as it was built across a crossroads. The Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Tripoli is a similar construction though somewhat older.

    By the time the Arch of Janus was built, Rome itself was no longer the centre of the Empire. Constantine had moved his capital to Constantinople, far to the east, some years before, and it seems most likely that this arch, dedicated as it was to the "Divine Constantines" was erected in the time of Constantine II, perhaps for an occasion such as his visiting the city. Monumental as it is, and the only example of a four-sided arch remaining in the city, it was actually built of "spolia" - masonry reclaimed from older buildings and ruins. Used as an trading area in the early Middle Ages, it owes much of its survival to its subsequent conversion and use right up to the early 19th century as a fortress.

    The Arch of Constantine, adjacent to the Colosseum, was erected to commemorate Constantine's victory over the rebel forces of Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD that ended years of civil war. Although the Republican tradition decreed that triumphs were only to be awarded after victory over a foreign enemy, times had changed and emperors were ever accorded honours over and above mere men.

    As with the Arch of Janus, a lot of recycled material went into the building of this arch - not only basic materials but also statues and reliefs, some of which were re-worked to more closely resemble the emperor. This arch is certainly the best-preserved of Rome's triumphal arches. Like that of Titus and Janus it was used for many years as part of a private family's fortifications.

    Just as the Arch of Titus has huge - and tragic - significance for Jews, marking as it does the beginning of the Diaspora, the Arch of Constantine is of major significance to Christianity as it celebrates the victory that led Constantine to declare Christianity the official religion of the empire. Although not a Christian himself, the night before the battle Constantine had a vision of the Cross and the words, "By this sign, conquer." He obeyed the sign, the battle was won and the western world was changed forever.

    Although in generally better condtion than the Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus, much the sculpture on Constantine's Arch is not of the same fine quality as these earlier works, yet another example of the decline of the city by this time. The Arch of Janus has lost all its sculptures as well as its attic and top.

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    4th Century Recycling

    by goodfish Updated Feb 6, 2014

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    This arch is right next to the Colosseum, and commemorates Constantine I's 312 AD victory over his co-ruler, Maxentius, at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. Keep an eye out as you read through my pages as these two fellas will pop up in several other reviews.

    The structure spans the Via Triumphalis - a thoroughfare that was used for triumphal processions - and was largely created from borrowed/reworked bits of other buildings. Constantine claimed that his military achievement had been predicted in a vision of the Christian God but while he legalized and promoted the faith, many of the decorative symbols and figures on his arch reflect Roman mythology. The main inscription credits the victory to his "greatness of mind" with a vague mention of divine inspiration which could be applied to many deities. I've read that this may have been a deliberate act of diplomacy at a time when much of Rome still practiced old beliefs. Among other decorations are some statues that came from Trajan's forum, and reliefs depicting scenes from the battle.

    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-archeologici/arco-di-costantino.html

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    Arch of Constantine

    by tompt Written Jan 24, 2004

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    Arch of Constantine

    This arch is erected in 315AD in honour of Constantine, to celebrate the victory over Maxentius in the battle of Ponte Milvio (312 A.D.).

    It is the largest triumphal arch preserved in Rome (almost 25 meters). It is an example of the practice of stripping ancient monuments for materials to build new ones. There are original Constantinian elements, reused sculptures and architectural elements coming from monuments of Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. The arch was completed with precious pictorial and metal decorations. The dominating colours were gold and purple, the colours of the Empire. The arch itself was also victim of the stripping...

    In the middle ages it was transformed into a fortification tower by the monks of St. Gregory and later incorporated into the Frangipane fortress, the arch was restored several times and finally brought out into the open in 1804.

    It stands freely next to the Coloseum.

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    Arch of Constantine

    by Webboy Updated Feb 17, 2004

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    Arch of Constantine

    The Arch of Constantine sits between the Coliseum and the entrance to the Roman Forums.

    To our eyes, Arch of Constantine is yet another impressive Roman Structure that has you wondering how on earth they managed to create it. However, I have read that the Arch of Constantine apparently shows, and I quote "the deterioration of the arts during the late stages of the Roman Empire".

    Looking at it, you find this hard to believe, but the Arch of Constantine is apparently built using parts taken from other monuments and structures from around the city, because Rome was apparently running out of good sculptors who could come up with original ideas!

    It supposedly contains parts taken, for example, from the Forum of Trajan and a temple dedicated to Emporer hadrians lover!

    Neverthess, the Arch of Constantine is still impressive, and worth a walk around if you are in the area.

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    arch of constantine

    by doug48 Written Jul 25, 2006

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    arch of constantine

    between the south end of the forum and the colosseum is the arch of constantine. it as erected in 315AD to celebrate constantine's victory over maxentius. the reliefs on this massive arch were scavenged from earlier monuments around the forum.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Arch of Constantine

    by Jim_Eliason Written Oct 23, 2005

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    Arch of Constantine
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    Just outside of the Coliseum is the Arch of Constantine which was erected in honor of Emperor Constantine, after battle to defeat Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in 315 AD. This is one of the best preserved arches in Rome.

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    Constantine's Arch

    by Tom_Fields Written Dec 20, 2009

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    The Arch of Constantine
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    The Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD) took power in a bloody civil war. Following a vision of a cross in the sky, with the words "By this sign you shall conquer", he defeated his enemy Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. After that, he converted to Christianity.

    His empire soon became Christian, too. He divided it into western and eastern parts, with their capitals in Rome and Constantinople, respectively. Hence the division of the Christian churches into western and eastern.

    The Roman Senate had this arch built in 315, to commemorate Constantine's victory over Maxentius. Of particular interest--something that most visitors probably miss--is a relief sculpture on the side, near the top. It shows Roman soldiers returning from a campaign in the Near East. They are carrying a Jewish menorah, the oldest known representation of this object.

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    Arch of Constantine

    by jungles Updated Jun 1, 2006

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    Arch of Constantine

    This triumphal arch, one of only three left standing in Rome today, was dedicated in 315 A.D. It had been built to honour the emperor Constantine's victory over the previous emperor, Maxentius, at the Battle of Milvian Bridge three years before. It is said that prior to the battle Constantine had a dream or vision in which he saw the image of the cross and heard the words 'with this sign you will conquer.' Because of this he ordered the sign of the cross to be painted on the shields of all his soldiers. At that battle Maxentius drowned in the Tiber river, and Constantine became the first Christian emperor of Rome, subsequently legalised Christianity throughout the emperor, and changed the course of history.

    Many of the friezes and other sculptural elements on the arch itself were pillaged from previous monuments erected in honour of some of the great emperors of the past like Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. The arch straddles the Via Triumphalis, the triumphal way which was the processional route used by victorious Roman armies returning from war. An ancient fountain called the Meta Sudans once stood in front of it, but the fascist dictator Mussolini had this bulldozed in the 1930s because he wanted to be able to march his own troops under the Arch of Constantine without impediment. When the Olympics were held in Rome in 1960 the athletes running the marathon passed under the arch just before crossing the finish line. Nowadays there is a metal fence which prohibits people from walking underneath it.

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  • fishandchips's Profile Photo

    Arch of Constantine

    by fishandchips Written Jan 30, 2006

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    Arch of Constantine

    The Arch of Constantine was erected by the Senate in A.D. 315 to honor Constantine's defeat of the pagan Maxentius. The arch is full of pictures apparently all relating to victories of earlier rulers & lifted from other, memorials but nothing to do with Constantine himself!!

    Interestingly, Constantine converted to Christianity after a vision on the battlefield. This ended centuries of christian persecution and culminated in Rome becoming the centre of Christian religion (until an English king wanted a divorce etc).

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    Arch of Constantine

    by Mikebb Written Apr 11, 2006

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    Arch of Constantine, Rome
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    Situated very close to the Coliseum on the west side is the Arch of Constantine which was built to honour the Emperor for his victory over his rival Maxentius at the battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312. It is the most famous Roman triumphal arch.There is no entry fee as it is in the middle of a road.

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    Arco di Costantino (Arch of Constantine)

    by MM212 Written May 17, 2007

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    Arch of Constantine & the Colosseum
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    Emperor Constantine's triumphal arch was built in 315 AD to celebrate his victories. Most of the sculptures on the arch were transferred from older Roman monuments, including Trajan's Forum. The Arch of Constantine occupies a monumental position at the end of Via di San Gregorio and between the Colosseum and the southern entrance to the Roman Forum.

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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Arch of Constantine

    by GentleSpirit Updated Feb 12, 2013

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    The Arch of Constantine, dedicated in 315AD celebrates Constantine's victory at the Battle of Malvian Bridge (312 AD). This is the famous battle where a vision appeared to Constantine. Constantine's troops carried the Christian symbol into battle and won against a larger force. This was the beginning of the Christian era in Rome.

    I found it somewhat odd though that this battle, being so essential in bringing Christianity to Rome, would not be honored more highly. After all, the Arch of Constantine contains medallions from other sights, almost like it was slapped together quickly.

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    The symbol of Christianity

    by monica71 Written Jan 23, 2009

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    Arch of Constantine from the Colosseum
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    Emperor Constantin had a vision that he would defeat Maxentius in the battle of the Milvian Bridge under the sign of the cross. He won the battle and in 312 AD he became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire.

    After the battle emperor Constantin (whose mother and sister were already Christian) legalized Christianity and ordered the arch to be built.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Arco di Constantino

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 26, 2011

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    This magnificent arch was built, most probably, to a previous Emperor od the 3rd century but then was renovated and dedicated to Emperor Constantine to celebrate his visit to Rome in 315 and his victory at Ponte Milvio.
    The major decorations of the arch comes from previous monuments to Emperor Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. There were two major fires in Rome in 3rd and 4th centuries and its possible that these monuments were badly affected by them. The fame of Trajan is associated with his military successes, while Hadrian provided the empire with the long period of peace.

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  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    Arch of Constantine

    by martin_nl Written May 22, 2003

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    The Arch of Constantine

    Right next to the Colisseum is this magnificient looking arch of Constantine. In my opinion it is the most beautiful arch of Rome. There are so many little details that you can really spend some time by looking at all of them. The arch was built for Constantine by the Senate since he defeated his rival Maxentius in 312. Since there was little time to complete the immense structure the Senate reused parts of earlier monuments of the reigns of Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius and Trajan.
    After having defeated Maxentius, Constantine moved to Trier in Germany. Three years later he came back to Rome to celebrate his tenth anniversary of his ascent to power, and to inaugurate the arch.

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