Constantine built this arch to mark his tenth year in power.
He placed it near the end of the Via Triumphalis, the route taken by
triumphal processions. Most of the Arch's decorative work was
taken from structures built by previous emperors, suggesting that
Roman art had entered a phase of decline. Thus the eight rectangular reliefs on
both sides of the upper portion originally adorned a structure dedicated
to Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180) and the portrait of the emperor was
recut with Constantine's likeness. Also plundered from other
monuments were the round medallions over the lateral arches
(four oneach side).
Last Revised September 28, 2007