Nearly two thousand years have passed since the city of Rome was at the height of its power and influence, but Italy’s capital city still retains its splendour. In its extensive downtown archaeological park you can still marvel at one of its most famous sights, the Roman Forum.
The Roman Forum, situated between the Capitoline hill and the Palatine hill, is the principal area around which the ancient Roman civilization developed. One or more arches were erected in the Roman Forum to honour the Emperor Augustus, who ruled from 27 B.C. until his death in 14 A.D. The earlier may have been erected in 29 B.C. to commemorate Emperor Augustus’ triple triumph over Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the second may have been built in 19 B.C. to celebrate the previous year’s return of the legionary standards captured by the Parthians at Carrhae. On the other hand, some scholars claim that there was only one arch, which honoured both victories. Although remains and fragments of frieze, cornice and columns in the Doric order as well as in the Corinthian order have been attributed to the Arch of Augustus, no secure remains of the structure have survived to this day. The Arch of Augustus (Arcus Augusti) is located in the Roman Forum, near the Temple of Vesta, spanning the gap between the Temple of Caesar and the Temple of Castor and Pollux.
Only parts of the foundation of the Arcus Augusti remain, but its appearance can be deduced from Augustan coins from the period, depicting the Arch of Augustus. It was a three-way arch, and only the central arcade was vaulted. The side passages had gabled roof and flat ceilings. The spandrels of the central passage were adorned with a series of reliefs with images of Victoria, as shown by a remaining fragment. Other fragments are in the Antiquarium. Still according to Augustan coins from the period, on top of the central arch stood a quadriga. The Arch of Augustus was the first three-way Roman arch and served as a model for the Arch of Septimius Severus, which again was used as a model of the Arch of Constantine.