Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 19, 2015

March triumphantly into Rome

Beside the magnificent Colosseum is the amost as ancient Arch of Constantine. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine 1’s victory over Maxentius in 312 AD.

I have deliberately left out the bottom of the arch as the traffic and crowds of people ruin the effect somewhat.

The Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine

It was dedicated in 315 AD and is the latest of the existing triumphal arches in Rome. It is decorated with reliefs re-used from 2nd century imperial monuments.

Arch of Constantinr

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine

The  inscription at the top praises Constantine, perhaps he wote it himself…

To the Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantinus, the Greatest,

pious, fortunate, the Senate and people of Rome,

by inspiration of divinity and his own great mind

with his righteous arms

on both the tyrant and his faction

in one instant in rightful battle he avenged the republic,

dedicated this arch as a memorial to his military victory.

The arch spans the Via Triumphalis, the way taken by emporors when they entered Rome in triumph…and now we can stand under it and pretend we are in a chariot heading home to celebrate a victory…or just think about where we are going for lunch.


  1. My bet is that Constantinus the Greatest wrote that himself. It’s a pretty impressive structure nonetheless. I rather like the idea of pulling up in my chariot outside my chosen lunch spot in Rome!

    • Me too, and I would provide a nosebag for the horses.

  2. That inscription is over-the-top funny. But the monuments themselves are over-the-top beautiful. Rome melts me somehow. I just love it. For me, it is La Più Bella…

    • According to a comment by Francis (below) this one is the crummiest of the arches. I look forward to finding the others.

  3. A good summing up of the poorest roman arch in Rome – the arches of Titus and Septimius Severus are much better.

    • Thanks for that Francis, I will look for them next time I visit Rome.

  4. Beautiful Debra! I haven’t been to Rome in a long time. Need to get back.

    • Rome is wonderful. I feel very fortunate to be able to go there regularly.

  5. Great photos, Debra! I must add that I do not agree with the above comment. Although Titus Arch belongs to a separate league, Constantine’s is strongly influenced by the Septimius Severus one, built a century before. It is also a “collage” of different elements from other earlier monuments and a great example of “expolia” put together in an elegant manner. This was possibly due to the fact that it was built in a hurry, so it was easier and faster to recycle existing artwork. The arch is a very valuable work of architecture.But what is unique in this particular Arch is a phrase contained in its inscription. “By inspiration of divinity” marks the shift from Paganism to Christianism made by Constantine and it is of high historical relevance. An inscription made under an earlier emperor would have stressed the divine nature of the ruler and not his source of inspiration. I am glad that you included the full text of the inscription. Great work!

    • Thank you for the extra information. I thought the arch was very impressive. I had just walked from the Baths of Caracalla in a downpour, when the skies cleared and the late afternoon sun bathed the arch and Colosseum in a lovely yellow light.

  6. Reblogged this on Kappa Language School Blog.

  7. Rome is absolutely unmatchable for fascinating ruins. Love the inscription. Yes, I sense that Constantine may well have had a hand in compiling that inscription. 🙂

    • You could spend a lifetime discovering the joys of Rome.

  8. Do you think he wrote it Deb? I bet he did!!! Sounds something an emperor (or politician) would say about themselves doesn’t it.

    I really love all those gates surrounding Rome….totally fascinating to know the story. A tour of the gates is a interesting way to spend an arvo in Rome. Just hop in a taxi with a knowledgable drive….and fantastico!!! We did just that the last time in Roma! Hope to do it again one day soon.



    • I just happened upon this one on my way back from the baths of Caracalla. I will look for the others next time I am in Rome.

  9. Rome is has shortage of photography subjects. 🙂

    • I love Rome! I find something new each time I take a walk.

  10. Very nice. And thanks for the info and details as I never came very close to it when I was in Italy.

    • This was the first time I had been so close. I have mainly been on the other side of the Colosseum. It was all because I went to the Baths of Caracalla, which were amazing.

  11. Rome is one of my favourite Cities, I think I spent the whole weekend with my jaw agape! So many magnificent pieces of history, it is just an amazing place.

    • I have been to Rome many times over the past 11 years and I never tire of it.

      • I must plan another trip there!

  12. Looks brilliant. Just too bad it was built after Tiberius booked his great victories for the Roman Empire. Would have loved to follow the footsteps of that drunken whoremonger.

    • It must have bee exciting to ride your chariot through the gate into Rome.

      • Oh yes! Guess nowadays only the last stage of the Tour de France, or better yet Giro d’Italia, comes close. 🙂

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