Arch of Constantine Facts
Between the Roman Colosseum and the Roman Forum stands the Arch of Constantine; another example of famous ancient Roman architecture. The Arch of Constantine was
erected when Roman Emperor Constantine defeated the Roman Emperor Maxentius during an ancient Roman civil war. This victory would lead to Constantine eventually taking
sole control over Rome. What made this victory so historically important is that it would lead to Christianity becoming the official religion of Rome. It is the reason
why Christianity was eventually embraced throughout the Western World. The following Arch of Constantine facts list Roman history information, put simply, so both
adults and kids will find it interesting.
Arch of Constantine General Facts
- The Arch was constructed in 315 AD by the Roman senate; 3 years after the Battle of Milvian Bridge in which Constantine defeated emperor Maxentius.
- Faced with a much smaller army than Maxentius, Constantine
carried the Christian symbol of a cross into battle and had his
troops do the same. After his victory, Christianity became the
accepted religion across the Roman Empire.
- The Arch of Constantine is the largest Roman triumphal arch still standing.
- The Arch of Constantine is called a triumphal arch. Begun by the Romans, these types of monuments were built to both honor people and commemorate important events. All
triumphal arches contain a minimum of one arched passageway.
- Colored marble was used in creating this famous arch
which was a fairly new concept for the time. Older monuments
were made of only white marble or travertine.
- Because of their similarities, historians believe the design of
this arch was most likely copied from an earlier
arch, the Arch of Septimius Severus.
Arch of Constantine Detail Facts
- The Arch of Constantine stands 69 feet high (21 meters) and is just short of 85 feet wide (26 meters).
- A triple arch, consisting of one large arch in the middle and
two smaller arches on each side make up the Arch of Constantine.
- Many of the decorative sculptures on this structure, including various medallions and reliefs, were taken from earlier monuments. The lower and middle portions of the
arch were created for this specific arch.
- Inscribed on both sides of the attic (top) of the Arch of Constantine is a message dedicated to Constantine by the Roman senate. It mentions "divine inspiration".
- Some of the reliefs were recreated by using the carved heads of past emperors and re-sculpting them to resemble Constantine.
- Constantine's army is portrayed in the lower portion of the arch, forcing Maxentius and his troops toward the Tiber River where Maxentius would eventually drown during the battle.
- At the top of the Arch of Constantine are several statues of soldiers. These were taken from the Forum of Trajan which was completed in 112 AD.
- The parts of the arch that were not taken from earlier ancient Roman architecture are of comparatively lower quality. This shows that the level of art during this
period decreased and is symbolic of how the Roman civilization was, as a whole, declining during this time.