The white marble Arch of Septimius Severus
() at the northeast end of the Roman Forum
is a triumphal arch
dedicated in AD 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories
of Emperor Septimius Severus
and his two sons, Caracalla
, in the two campaigns against the Parthians
After the death of Septimius Severus, his sons Caracalla and Geta were initially joint emperors. Caracalla had Geta assassinated in 212; 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
, has lateral openings to each side archway, a feature copied in many Early Modern triumphal arches.
The three archways rest on piers
, in front of which are detached composite columns
. Winged Victories are carved in relief in the spandrels
. A staircase
in the south pier leads to the top of the monument, on which were statues of the emperor and his two sons in a four-horse chariot (quadriga
), accompanied by soldiers.
The Arch stands close to the foot of the Capitoline Hill
. A flight of steps originally led to the central opening, as one still does to the Arch of Trajan at Ancona
. By the 4th century erosion had raised the level of the Forum so much... Read More