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The Arch of Constantine Offers Insight Into Ancient Rome

March 6, 2013 - 4:17pm
The Arch of Constantine Offers Insight Into Ancient Rome

No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the ancient Colosseum and the nearby Arch of Constantine. This iconic landmark that hearkens to the days of gladiators is in the heart of the city's ancient area, which means senior travel groups will be close to a number of other historic sites. After they tour the Colosseum, travelers can check out the Arch of Constantine, which has a rich history and cultural significance that embodies traditions from the early Roman Empire. Plus, the structure itself is a stunning example of ancient Roman architecture, so travelers will want to save some space on their memory cards to snap a few photos of this monument to a bygone era.

Why Was the Arch of Constantine Built?
This 82-foot architectural wonder stands proudly just outside the Colosseum walls. According to the University of Chicago, the arch was built in A.D. 315, more than 2,300 years ago, as a monument to Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. His success granted Constantine control of the western region of the Roman Empire, and the Senate of Rome dedicated the triumphal arch to the leader just three years after his success on the battlefield.

What Do the Various Statues and Sculptures Represent?
The Arch of Constantine is one of only a handful of triumphal arches that have survived through the centuries, and it is noteworthy not just for its historical significance, but for its intricate carvings and statues. Travelers on an escorted vacation will see that the arch, which stands about 69 feet tall and 85 feet wide, has three separate archways, the center being the tallest, and is decorated with pieces of former structures. For instance, the statues that sit atop the arch came from the Forum of Trajan​, AViewOnCities.com reports. These figures are depictions of soldiers that were defeated by the Trajan army. 

There are also numerous reliefs adorning the arch, and one of these was resculpted from the image of former Emperor Marcus Aurelius into the image of Constantine.

This unique piece of history adds an interesting element to a European trip, making it a great addition to group travel deals. Not only do visitors get the chance to learn about ancient Roman history, they will also be able to see real examples of sculptures and carvings that date back thousands of years.