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Arch of Constantine

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The Arco di Costantino (Arch of Constantine) is in Rome and is a triumphal, three-arched gateway.

Regarding the date of construction there are ongoing discussions on the basis of the foundations which would make one think of Adriano's reign.

Officially it was inaugurated between 314 and 325 d.C. in commemoration of the Emperor Costantino's victory in the battle of Ponte Milvio against Massenzio.

The arch is prevalently made of marble with the exception of the top part which is realised in brickwork and Roman stone externally covered by marble where, in the centre, there are some inscriptions. Others are present on the wall of the central arch.

Including its top, the Arco di Costantino reaches a height of 25 metres.

With regard to the embossments used, they recall the figures of the "good Emperors" of the II century like: Traiano during the campagne for the conquest of Dacia; hunting scenes and sacrifices made to the Gods of the time by Emperor Adriano; on the top there are some episodes illustrating the feats of Emperor Marco Aurelio against the Quadi and the Marcomanni.

At the time of Costantino's reign, above the lateral arches , a decoration was carried out which continues on the sides of the monument and illustrates the episodes during the war against Massenzio, and the celebration of the victory of Castantino which took place in Rome.

Other relevant sculptured decorations of Costantino's age are: the embossments on the pedestals of the columns, the eight busts on slabs inserted into the brickwork of the lateral arches which show divinities and imperial portraits, the winged victories with the Geni della Stagione, the personification of rivers, and the sculptures of the keys of the Arch which portray divinities.

These representations and the various inscriptions have given rise to long discussions amongst scholars in relation to the position of the Emperor regarding the Christian regligion. This is because, apart from the phrase "instinctu divinatis" ("divine inspiration"), there are scenes represented which show sacrifices in honour of pagan divinities.

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