Roman Triumphal Arches

Topics: Ancient Rome, Roman Empire, Rome Pages: 2 (658 words) Published: April 7, 2014

Triumphal Arches
Ancient Rome architecture has many unique characteristics. It is indeed until this day still one of the rarest and most beautiful forms still known to man. Most Roman buildings or monuments had some form of significant meaning behind them. People often wonder what these meanings were or what these people were thinking when such monuments were built. Nearly all Roman buildings or monuments have a form a military relation to them. This makes Rome unique because they were a people of war.

One of Ancient Rome’s most intriguing monuments may have been the triumphal arches. Again like many other Roman monuments, the triumphal have military meanings. The arches themselves were used to commemorate military triumphs and other events such as the accession of a new emperor (Cartwright 1). Roman’s were very proud of their successes and were not afraid to boast their accomplishments to others.

Their arches actually served no literal purpose, other than decorative reasons of course. And decorative they were indeed. These arches were covered in intricate details all over, sometimes even sculptures. Sometimes Roman’s carved in bronze on the side of some of these monuments. They would go to extremes just to make the arches as attractive as they could to the common Roman, or any by passer at the time.

Position also played a key role in these monuments. Depending on where each arch was positioned in Rome signified how important the symbolism was behind that specific monument. For example, if a monument was placed in the center of Rome where everyone must view it, that victory or change of emperor was an extremely important one. In Framing the Sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Roman Cityscape, Marlowe states “The monument was built at the end of one of the longest, straightest stretches along the route, running from the southern end of the Circus Maximus to the piazza by the Flavian Amphitheater (the Colosseum) (Fig. 1). At this...

Cited: Mark Cartwright, published on 31 December 2012 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
Marlowe, E. (2006). Framing the Sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Roman Cityscape. Art Bulletin, 88(2), 223-242.
The Arch of Scipio Africanus. Ronald T. Ridely. Classical Philology, Vol. 109, No.1 (January 2014, pp. 11-25. Published by: The University of Chicago Press. Article DOI 10.1086/673848. Article Stable URL:
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