Arch of Constantine - History and Facts | History Hit

Arch of Constantine

Rome, Lazio, Italy

The Arch of Constantine was a triumphal arch built by the Emperor Constantine the Great in 315AD.

Lucy Davidson

13 May 2021

About Arch of Constantine

The Arch of Constantine was a triumphal arch built by the Roman Emperor Constantine I, also known as Constantine the Great, in 315AD.

Erected to commemorate Constantine’s victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312AD, the Arch of Constantine contains an inscription dedicated to the emperor which can still be read today.

The Arch of Constantine is situated next to the Colosseum and near to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. It is free to visit and there are no opening hours. As well as the Arch of Constantine, there are two other triumphal arches in Rome: The Arch of Titus and the Arch of Severus.

History of Arch of Constantine

The arch was built between 312 and 315AD to commemorate ten years of Constantine’s reign and his victory over the then reigning emperor Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

The Arch of Constantine is also significant because it reflects Constantine the Great transforming Rome politically, religiously, and his founding of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).

The Arch’s location, between the Palatine and Caelian Hills, spanned the ancient route of the Roman triumphs, which was a ceremonious route to celebrate Rome’s military victories.

The arch is around 20 metres high and 25 metres wide, with three smaller archways.

It is a superb example of the ideological and stylistic changes Constantine’s reign brought to art, as well as demonstrating the emperor’s diligent adherence to traditional forms of Roman Imperial art and architecture.

During the Middle Ages, the arch was incorporated into one of the family strongholds of Ancient Rome.

Restoration works were carried out in the 18th century, with the most recent taking place in the late 1990s, before the Great Jubilee of 2000.

Arch of Constantine Today

Today, visitors can admire the striking and eclectic relief structures on the arch. There are a number of figures such as Nike above the central archway, as well as architectural features that correspond to the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius.

Most of the reliefs feature the emperors participating in codified activities that demonstrate the ruler’s authority and piety.

Many other famous arches have been either directly or indirectly inspired by the arch, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Arc de Triomphe and Marble Arch.

In the same area is the famous Roman Forum, which is home to a number of stunning monuments from the same era.

Getting to Arch of Constantine

From the centre of Rome, the arch is a 25 minute walk via Via Cavour. It’s also an 8 minute drive along the same road, though parking might be difficult at the site. There are also a number of connecting bus and metro services.

 

Featured In

Constantine the Great Sites

Follow in the footsteps of Constantine the Great from the Hagia Sophia to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and more, includes an interactive map of Emperor Constantine I locations.

.