"Arch of Constantine" Arch of Constantine Tip by jungles

Arch of Constantine, Rome: 75 reviews and 143 photos

  Arch of Constantine
by jungles

This triumphal arch, one of only three left standing in Rome today, was dedicated in 315 A.D. It had been built to honour the emperor Constantine's victory over the previous emperor, Maxentius, at the Battle of Milvian Bridge three years before. It is said that prior to the battle Constantine had a dream or vision in which he saw the image of the cross and heard the words 'with this sign you will conquer.' Because of this he ordered the sign of the cross to be painted on the shields of all his soldiers. At that battle Maxentius drowned in the Tiber river, and Constantine became the first Christian emperor of Rome, subsequently legalised Christianity throughout the emperor, and changed the course of history.

Many of the friezes and other sculptural elements on the arch itself were pillaged from previous monuments erected in honour of some of the great emperors of the past like Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. The arch straddles the Via Triumphalis, the triumphal way which was the processional route used by victorious Roman armies returning from war. An ancient fountain called the Meta Sudans once stood in front of it, but the fascist dictator Mussolini had this bulldozed in the 1930s because he wanted to be able to march his own troops under the Arch of Constantine without impediment. When the Olympics were held in Rome in 1960 the athletes running the marathon passed under the arch just before crossing the finish line. Nowadays there is a metal fence which prohibits people from walking underneath it.

Address: Via di San Gregorio, Roma
Directions: Between the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
Phone: +39 06 0608
Website: http://www.ancient.eu/article/497/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 1, 2006
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