This was something of an experiment in trying to set the arch against a dark background to bring out the detail. I wasn't too impressed with the original photo so I hope this is an improvement.
The arch of Septimius Severus (Arco di Settimio Severo) is situated at the northwest end of the Roman Forum at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. It was dedicated in 203 AD to commemorate two Roman victories in the late second century against the Parthians (Persians) of the emperor and his two sons, Carcalla and Geta (who didn't get along very well!). The arch rests on a travertine base and features a beautiful coffered vault. It's nearly 70 feet in height and about 75 feet wide. Unlike the Arch of Titus and some earlier ones, this is a triple arch, which would serve as the model for the later Arch of Constantine, situated at the entrance of the Roman Forum, near the Flavian Amphitheater (aka the Colosseum). This arch was at one time buried in debris from eroding hillsides that a roadway was eventually built through it, and the damage caused by wheeled medieval vehicles can still be seen on the column bases. By the 18th century only the upper half of the arch protruded from the ground, such was the amount of sediment that had washed down over the centuries, which might have been a blessing in disguise, as much of it was preserved. It was also incorporated into a Christian church, granted by Pope Innocent III in 1199 to the church of S. Sergio and Bacco. It's one of my favorites, because so much of it is preserved and the carvings are magnificent. A detailed photo of the relief sculptures to come!
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