Arco di Settimio Severo
The Arch of Septimius Severus is the oldest Roman triumphal arch, located in the northwest of the Roman Forum. Built between 202 and 203, it was dedicated by the Senate to the Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons, to celebrate the victory over the Parthians. The Arch, 23 meters high, stands on a base of travertine, and is constructed by a square of marble, with three arches framed by columns protruding from the front of the composite order, placed on high plinths bearing the sculpted Victories and barbarians figures. The lateral arches are put in communication with the central one by means of two small arcuate passages. Above the attic, the imperial chariot and bronze statuary groups. On either side of the central Arch are the usual Victories with trophies, flying over the fine folks who symbolize the four seasons (two for side). On lower arches are similar, with the personifications of the rivers. The most interesting part of the decoration are the four large panels that occupy space on the lower arches, carved where the narrative of the campaigns of Septimius Severus in Mesopotamia, organized in horizontal bands to be read from the bottom to the up. The accessory decoration follows the classic style of official art: symbols and allegories of Eternity and Universality of the Empire (the Seasons and Rivers of the Earth), in addition to the Glory of the emperors (Wins, prisoners). One of the most significant panels is the Siege of Ctesiphon, inlaid drill to create chiaroscuro. Among the most significant: the representation of the human figure, flattened in crowd scenes, and that the figure of the Emperor, surrounded by his generals, harangues the crowd. These trends will be even more evident in the Arch of Constantine, the next century.