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Arcus Septimii Severi
Three-bayed triumphal arch
Reconstructed state: Building as first dedicated on site

Alternate names: Arch of Septimius Severus

The triple arch originally honored the Emperor Septimius Severus and his sons Caracalla and Geta for their conquests in the East, over Arabs, Parthians, and Adiabeneans (195-203 AD). After Septimius' death and the execution of Geta, the latter's name was suppressed. The monument is almost 21 meters high and 23 meters wide. The central passage is 6.77 meters wide; the side openings are 2.97 meters. Except for the attic, whose fabric is opus latericium, the structure is made of travertine and marble. A stairway leads to the attic level, which has four rooms. The surface is heavily decorated; only major features can be mentioned here. Before each of the two long sides of the arch stand four engaged fluted columns atop pedestals decorated with reliefs of captives. Above the lateral arches between the columns are historical reliefs showing decisive battles in the wars. The reliefs start on the side facing the Forum. On the left is the battle of Nisibis; on the right, the battle of Edessa. On the Capitoline side, the panel on the left shows the battle of Hatra; on the right, the battle of Ctesiphon (for these identifications of the scenes, see R. Brilliant, Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, vol. 1 [Rome 1993] 104). On the facades of both attics was the same inscription. The original bronze letters are not extant but the inscription can be read from the cuttings into the stone (IMP·CAES·LVCIO·SEPTIMIO·M·FIL·SEVERO·PIO·PERTINACI·AVG·PATRI·PATRIAE·PARTHICO ·ARABICO·ET//PARTHICO·ADIABENICO·PONTIFIC·MAXIMO·TRIBVNIC·POTEST·XI·IMP·XI·COS ·III·PROCOS·ET//IMP·CAES·M·AVRELIO·L·FIL·ANTONINO·AVG·PIO·FELICI·TRIBVNIC·POTEST ·VI·COS·PROCOS·P·O·//OPTIMIS·FORTISSIMISQVE·PRINCIPIBVS·//OB·REM·PVBLICAM· RESTITVTAM·IMPERIVUMQVE·POPVLI·ROMANI·PROPAGATVM·INSIGNIBVS·VIRTVTIBVS· EORVM·DOMI·FORISQVE·S·P·Q·R·). Coins illustrating the monument show a triumphal quadriga with Septimius and Caracalla on the roof. No trace of the statue group survives.

Arches

Arcus Augusti