Marvels

Archus of Septimius Severus

The Roman Forum

At the foot of the Capitoline Hill stands a triumphal arch composed of three archways — one large, central archway flanked by two smaller passages — built in 203 AD by the Emperor Septimius Severus to celebrate his victories over the Parthians. Four Corinthian columns frame the monument’s rich decoration and support its architrave, on which rests the attic bearing the dedicatory inscription to Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla. An original reference to the emperor’s other son, Geta, was removed after Caracalla had him killed. In the spandrels to either side of the central archway, two winged Victories bearing a trophy are carved in relief, while lesser river gods fill the spandrels of the lateral archways. A small frieze runs above the smaller archways depicting the emperor’s triumphal procession and entry into Rome, while the larger panels illustrate the most important moments from the emperor’s military campaigns against the Parthians.