Travels Through
Greco - Roman Antiquity
An exploration of texts and images from Falvey Library's Special Collections works on ancient Greece and Rome.

Arch of Constantine


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The Arch of Constantine I was erected in 315 CE. It celebrates Roman Emperor Constantine’s victory over Maxentius on October 28, 312 CE at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in Rome, and is the largest surviving triumphal arch as well as the last great monument of Imperial Rome. Plate 9 in Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Roman Triumphal Arches (1690) depicts the Arch of Constantine.

Lune Marble Panels of the attic, originally from the Arch of Marcus Aurelius (8 total; 4 on each façade){'<br/>'}
Lune Marble Panels of the attic, originally from the Arch of Marcus Aurelius (8 total; 4 on each façade)

The South side façade depicts Constantine at war, and the North side depicts Constantine conducting his civic duties. Plate 10 & 11 of Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Roman Triumphal Arches (1690) depicts two of the Luna marble panels.

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Luna Marble Medallions, originally from the now lost monument (130-138 CE) in honor of Hadrian (8 total; four on each façade){'<br/>'}
Luna Marble Medallions, originally from the now lost monument (130-138 CE) in honor of Hadrian (8 total; four on each façade)

The medallions depict a successful lion hunt, a boar hunt, a bear hunt, and sacrificial ceremonies in honor of Hercules, Apollo, Diana and Silvanus. Plates 12 & 17-21 of Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Roman Triumphal Arches (1690) depicts these Luna marble medallions.

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Above images from Veteres arcus Augustorm triumphis insignes ex reliquiis quae Romae adhuc supersunt by Giovanni Pietro Bellori via Villanova Digital Library - http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:38641

Rome: View of the Colosseum and The Arch of Constantine {'<br/>'}by Antonio Joli, oil on canvas, painted 1744-1748 CE, image in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Rome: View of the Colosseum and The Arch of Constantine
by Antonio Joli, oil on canvas, painted 1744-1748 CE, image in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Bibliography

Aicher, Peter J., and Laurie Haight. Keenan. Rome Alive: A Source-Guide to the Ancient City. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 2005. Print.

Cartwright, Mark. “The Arch of Constantine, Rome.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited, 9 June 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Joli, Antonio. Rome: View of the Colosseum and The Arch of Constantine. 1744-1748. Oil on canvas. Private Collection, n.p.

Kaisermaan, Franz. Triumphal Arch of Constantine Rome. 1781. Oil on canvas. Franz Kaisermaan, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

Marlowe, Elizabeth. “Framing the Sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Roman Cityscape.” Art Bulletin LXXXVIII.2 (2006): 223-42. Colgate.edu. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

 

Additional Representations of the Arch of Constantine

  • Arch of Constantine (Rome Alive, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4 & 12.6): dedicated in 315 AD on 10th anniversary of Constantine’s reign; took pieces from earlier monuments (Trajanic frieze, Hadrianic roundels, panel-reliefs of Marcus Aurelius); set up by the Senate to commemorate Constantine’s victory over the usurper Maxentius
  • “Framing the Sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Roman Cityscape” by Elizabeth Marlowe
  • Triumphal Arch of Constantine Rome by Franz Kaisermaan, oil on canvas, the Arch of Constantine painted 1781 CE
  • Rome: View of the Colosseum and The Arch of Constantine by Antonio Joli, oil on canvas, painted 1744-1748 CE