Arch of Septimius Severus Rome

The Arch of Septimius Severus is one of two triumphal arches (the other is the Arch of Titus) in the Roman Forum in Rome. It is also one of the best-preserved monuments in the Forum.

Arch of Septimius Severus Rome

Practical information

Arch of Septimius Severus Rome
Arch of Septimius Severus

Address, opening hours and entrance fee of the Arco di Settimio Severo are those of the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine.

History Arch of Septimius Severus Rome

Arch of Septimius Severus Rome (interior central arch)
The interior of the central arch.

The Arch of Septimius Severus was built in the year 203, in honor of Emperor Severus and his victories on the battlefield of Parthia. (Parthia is located partly in present-day Iraq and partly in Iran).

It is 23 meters high and 25 meters wide, and consists of three arches.

The central one of the three is 12 meters tall, the outer ones are just under 8 meters. The steps that used to pass through the central arch were replaced by a street road in the 4th century.

The reliefs on the upper part show scenes from the war with Parthia. Other panels show Romans capturing barbarians.

Originally, a bronze quadriga with statues of the Emperor and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, topped the monument. At the time, inscriptions on the upper part indicated at the time that the arch was dedicated to both Septimius Severus and his sons. However, after the Emperor’s death, Caracalla murdered his brother and deleted his name from the monument. There are still visible holes where Geta‘s name used to be.

The reason the arch is so well preserved is that it was incorporated into an ancient church during the Middle Ages. This church was later moved but did retain possession of the arch, so it did not suffer the fate of many ancient monuments to be used as building material for new Renaissance buildings.

During the Middle Ages, the central arch was used for a time by a barber to practice his profession.

Arch of Septimius Severus, Rome


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