Travel to Great Mirror: Photo 13
Flanking the Colosseum on the west is the Arch of Constantine, seen here from an upper level of the Colosseum. The Palatine Hill is in the background. This is a late arch, completed in 315 to commemorate Constantine's victory in 312 over Maxentius. That was the battle where Constantine declared his faith in Christianity, but sculptors were hard to come by in the fourth century, and so, despite the importance of the battle, the relief panels lining the archway and facing the ends of the attic were anything but original: in fact they were removed from a long frieze sculpted a century before. For this reason, David Watkin has described it ia "a curious essay in historical revivalism," a practice we're likely to associate with the Renaissance, more than a thousand years later. The arch was last restored in 1989. Much earlier, in 1804, it had been stripped of fortifications added in the 10th century, when it was part of a castle.
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