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ARCUS TRIUMPHA´LIS (a triumphal arch) was a structure peculiar to the Romans, among whom it seems to have taken its origin from the Porta Triumphalis, the gate by which a general celebrating a triumph led his army into the city, on which occasions the gate was adorned with trophies and other memorials of the particular victory celebrated. In process of time other arches were erected, both at Rome and in the provinces, to celebrate single victories, the memorials of which were carved upon them or fixed to them, and these remained as permanent monuments. They were even erected in memory of a victory for which there had been no triumph, as in the arch of L. Stertinius--the first recorded instance. And it is convenient to include under the same head many arches which were not monuments of victory, and yet from an architectural point of view cannot be distinguished from triumphal arches--arches commemorating a great imperial achievement, as that in honour of Augustus' completion of the via Flaminia at Rimini, that in honour of Trajan's improvement of the harbour at Ancona, that in honour of his restoration of the via Appia at Beneventum, that in honour of Hadrian's buildings at Athens; arches erected to an emperor with a less special motive, as that of Gallienus at Rome, or in honour of a family, as that of the Sergii at Pola. Moreover structures like the Porta S. Lorenzo (Porta Tiburtina) and Porta Maggiore (Porta Praenestina) [AQUAEDUCTUS], built to carry aqueducts over roads, and the Janus Quadrifrons in the Forum, Boarium, resemble triumphal arches in their architectural treatment.

Triumphal arches were usually insulated structures built across the principal streets of the city, and, according to the space of their respective localities, consisted of either a single archway, or of a central one for carriages, with two smaller ones on each side for foot-passengers, which sometimes have side communications with the centre arch. Sometimes there were two arches of equal height, side by side. Each front was ornamented with trophies and basreliefs, which were also placed on the sides of the passages. Both façades had usually columns against the piers, supporting an entablature, surmounted by a lofty attica, on the front of which was the inscription, and on the top of it bronze chariots, war-horses, statues and trophies. The triumphal arch recalls its original, the city gate, in the concentration of ornament on the façades; while the sides, which in the city gate are buried in the wall, are comparatively plain.

“ Though these arches are upon the whole some of the most successful efforts of purely Roman architecture, because the real and solid constructive parts occupy the most prominent place, yet Greek decorations are dragged in even here. The Romans placed an unmeaning front of pedestal, column and capital, with abacus, frieze, and entablature, upon the surface of their massive piers of masonry, ‘thus tying, as the tyrant Mezentius did, the dead to the living.’ The three great triumphal archways of Titus, Septimius Severus, and Constantine at Rome, and also the Arch of Drusus, are decorated with this foreign dress. In the Arch of Constantine alone, the columns which stand in front are in some measure justified by the statues they support. The Arch of Dolabella on the Caelian, which has a single line as cornice, and the Porta S. Lorenzo are examples of the impressive effect of a plain arch without Greek ornament.” (Burn, Rome and the Campagna, p. xxxix.)

Stertinius is the first upon record who erected anything of the kind. He built, out of the spoils [p. 1.173]gained in Spain, an arch (fornix) in the Forum Boarium about B.C. 196, and another in the Circus Maximus, each of which was surmounted by gilt statues (Liv. 33.27). Six years afterwards, Scipio Africanus built another on the Clivus Capitolinus, on which he placed seven gilt statues and two figures of horses (Liv. 37.3); and in B.C. 121, Fabius Maximus built a fourth at the top of the Via Sacra, which is called by Cicero (in Verr. Act. 1.7.19; Planc. 7.17) the Fornix Fabianus. None of these remain, though ruins of the Fornix Fabianus were found in the sixteenth century, and again in 1882, near the temple of Faustina. That these erections were either temporary or very insignificant, may be inferred from the silence of Vitruvius, who says nothing of triumphal arches. We might be sure, from the nature of the case, that such structures would especially mark the period of the empire.

There are about thirty-eight triumphal arches recorded by different writers as having been erected in the city of Rome, five of which now remain: namely, the Arches of Drusus, of Titus, of Septimius Severus, of Gallienus, and of Constantine. A brief account of these, and of some of the most important Italian and provincial ones still in existence, follows. For restorations and descriptions of them, see Canina, L'Architettura Romana, vol. ii. p. 676, iii. p. 473, and volume of plates, from which this article is illustrated. The Arch of Augustus at Rimini, represented in the accompanying woodcut after Canina, is important

Arch of Augustus at Rimini.

on account of its early date, its fine style, and its peculiarity of not being an insulated structure, but merely an archway pierced in a wall, and decorated with unusual simplicity. Hence Hope (Essays on Architecture, i. p. 69) criticises its detail as jejune. The Arch of Augustus at Susa, though insulated, is still simple in its design, the entablature being supported by attached columns at the corners. The Arch of Augustus at Aosta, although its Doric entablature does not harmonise with its Corinthian columns, and although it has possibly suffered restoration, is here given as an instance of a single arch of noble span. Returning to Rome, we have first to remember the Arch of Augustus in the Forum, erected in honour of the battle of Actium, B.C. 30 (D. C. 2.19), but

Arch of Augustus at Aosta.

its exact site is unknown. The Arch of Drusus on the Appian Way, erected in honour of Nero Claudius Drusus (Suet. Cl. 1), is identified with the existing arch, which pierces a wall, while its attica carries the aqueduct over the via to the thermae of Caracalla. But this is an error, as the existing arch is in all probability only. one of the arches built by Caracalla to carry his aqueduct over the road, like the Porta Maggiore and Porta San Lorenzo [AQUAEDUCTUS pp. 149, 150]. The details are much later than the time of Drusus (Middleton, p. 365).

The so-called Arch of Drusus.

The Arch of Tiberius in the Sacra Via in the Forum, near the temple of Saturn, was erected in A.D. 17, in honour of Tiberius, on account of the recapture by Germanicus of the standards lost by Varus in Germany (Tac. Ann. 2.41). Some fragments of it have been found near its supposed site (Middleton, p. 169). The Arch of Claudius, erected in A.D. 43 to commemorate his supposed victories over the Britons, stood across the Via Lata, near the Palazzo Sciarra, where fragments belonging to this arch were found, with an inscription recording its erection by Claudius. [p. 1.174]This arch is represented on coins of Claudius, with the legend DE BRITANNIS. It existed in an almost perfect state till the seventeenth century, when it was destroyed by Alexander VII. (Middleton, p. 442; Burn, p. 323). In the same locality stood the Arch of M. Aurelius, in the Via Flaminia, a continuation of the Via Lata. It was also destroyed in 1563, and six of its sculptured panels are now on the staircase of the Palazzo de' Conservatori. These reliefs are of great historical interest (Middleton, p. 443).

The Arch of Titus, of Pentelic marble, spanning the Sacra Via at the very summit of the Velian ridge, was erected to the honour of Titus, after his conquest of Judaea, but was not finished till after his death; since in the inscription upon it he is called Divus, and he is also represented as being carried up to heaven upon an eagle. The bas-reliefs of this arch represent the spoils from the Temple of Jerusalem carried in triumphal procession, and are among the best specimens of Roman sculpture. This arch has only a single opening, with two columns of the Roman or composite order on each side of it. This structure, which is here represented, is generally

Arch of Titus, restored.

regarded as the finest extant specimen of a triumphal arch. The Arch of Trajan was a magnificent structure leading to his Forum. It is represented on coins of Trajan, on the top of which stands a triumphal chariot of Trajan with six horses, and six generals. (D. C. 68.29; cf. Gel. 13.25.) From this arch some of the bas-reliefs now on the Arch of Constantine were taken, as is mentioned below. The Arch of Trajan at Ancona, attributed to Apollodorus of Damascus, is condemned by Hope (l.c.) on account of its disproportionate height and “confused reduplication of unmeaning mouldings ;” that at Beneventum exhibits an increasing amount of sculpture.

The Arch of Septimius Severus was erected by the senate (A.D. 204) at the end of the Via Sacra, in honour of that emperor and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, on account of his victories over the Parthians and Arabians. This is the earliest extant specimen of an arcus triumphalis

Arch of Septimius Severus.

with three arches, the central one being higher than the lateral ones, which have side communications with it. Though its main proportions are fine, many of the details of its sculpture show degeneracy.

The arch erected in honour of Gallienus and Salonina at Rome by M. Aurelius Victor (prefect A.D. 262), close outside of the Porta Esquilina, in the Servian agger, is now a single arch with roughly executed Corinthian pilasters, two side arches and a pediment having been removed in the sixteenth century.

The Arch of Constantine is larger and more profusely ornamented than the Arch of Titus.

Arch of Constantine.

It was erected by the senate in honour of Constantine, after his victory over Maxentius, A.D. 312. It consists of three arches, with columns against each front, and statues on the entablatures over them, which, with the other sculptured ornaments, originally decorated the Arch of Trajan. It owes its fame to Trajan's sculptures and its fine state of preservation. (Bellori, Veteres Arcus, Rome, 1590 ; Fea, Archi trionf., Rome, 1832; Burn, Rome and the Campagna; Middleton, Ancient Rome in 1885.)

[J.H.F] [W.S]

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