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Arco di Constantino

Arco di Constantino (11)

Despite being known as the Arch of Constantine, the fact is researchers still question who this magnificent arch located beside the Colosseum was dedicated to. In fact, there are theories that state that it was built in honour of Trajan.

Notwithstanding, it has gone into the history books as a commemorative monument to the victory of Constantine over the emperor Maxentius in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.

Constantine is considered as the first Christian emperor, although his baptism took place while he was already in his death bed. 

The Arch of Constantine is, in fact, an unusual monument and a fine example of recycling, probably because the state coffers could not stretch for a new construction. Quite a large part of the elements that make it up belonged to other monuments of previous emperors. It is said that this is an unmistakeable sign of the decline that Roman art had already started to experience.

Constantine stated that his victory was due to a vision of Christ, although you will not find any religious image on the construction. In fact, the eight pieces of relief work on both sides of the upper part had belonged to a monument dedicated to Marc’Aurelio, and there are statues of Dacian prisoners taken from the Forum of Trajan. These recycled elements are placed alongside others with an allegorical and historical subject matter created for the occasion.

Even though it is still to be seen if we should attribute this triumphal arch to Constantine, the fact is it is well worth stopping for a while to appreciate one of the biggest and best-preserved arches in the city.

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