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Notes on the Geography of Italy: Classical Rome 1: Photo 13

world pictures Italy: Classical Rome 1

Flanking the Colosseum on the west, the Arch of Constantine is 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 by then were hard to come by, and so, despite the importance of the battle, the relief panels lining the archway and facade at the ends of the attic were taken from a long frieze sculpted a century before. For this reason, David Watkin has described the arch as "a curious essay in historical revivalism," a practice more often associates with the Renaissance. The arch was last restored in 1989. An earlier restoration, In 1804, stripped off fortifications added in the 10th century, when the arch was part of a castle.

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