septimius severus arch

The triumphal arch of Septimius Severus in Rome. The arch that celebrated the victory over parts and adjuncts

The Arch of Septimius Severus, was erected in 203. It is a triumphal arch, dedicated by the senate to Emperor Septimius and his sons, Caracalla and Geta. It celebrated victory over parts and adibents. It can be seen from the grand dedication that appears on the two facades of the attic.

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The three-arched arch was originally surmounted by a bronze quadriga.

The Arch of Septimius Severus features rich decoration. The style of these rather worn reliefs is narrative in nature. The narrative is schematic and effective and includes, in addition to victories, deities, a frieze with the emperor’s triumph, Roman soldiers with prisoners, and four panels depicting Septimius Severus’ campaigns in Mesopotamia.

Probably, the carved scenes were created, taking their cue from the paintings that recounted the various events of the war. Paintings were sent to the senate from Mesopotamia to prepare for the triumph.

The exterior of the Septimius Severus arch is strongly chiaroscuro and is covered in marble. It is built in square work. Apparently, in Rome, it is the oldest preserved arch that has free-standing columns and not leaning against the piers.

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