Arch of Septimius Severus

Rome, Italy

Arch of Septimius Severus

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The Arch of Septimius Severus (Italian: Arco di Settimio Severo) at the northeastern end of the Roman Forum is a white marble triumphal arch dedicated in 203 A.D. to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, in the two campaigns against the Parthians of 194-195 A.D. and 197–199 A.D. After the death of Septimius Severus, his sons Caracalla and Geta were initially joint emperors. Caracalla had Geta assassinated in 212 A.D.; Geta's memorials were destroyed and all images or mentions of him were removed from public buildings and monuments. Accordingly, Geta's image and inscriptions referring to him were removed from the arch.

The arch was raised on a travertine base originally approached by steps from the Forum's ancient level. The central archway, spanned by a richly coffered semicircular vault, has lateral openings to each side archway, a feature copied in many Early Modern triumphal arches. The Arch is about 23 meters in height, 25 meters in width. The arch bears two sets of reliefs. The first set includes four large panels on each face of the attic and the second set consists of eight panels that are set into the inner face of the four archways.

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