why was the arch of constantine built

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Many of the decorative sculptures on the Arch of Constantine have been incorporated from other monuments.


The eight medallions or roundels, for instance, set in pairs above the side arches, alternately representing scenes of hunting and sacrifice, are from the time of Hadrian nearly two hundred years earlier. The eight rectangular reliefs in the attic come from an arch erected in AD 176 to celebrate the victories of Marcus Aurelius. Three other panels from the same series are in the Palazzo dei Conservatori.


Standing on the cornice above the columns, the eight Dacian captives, which have been partially restored, come from the Forum of Trajan, as do the two large panel reliefs at one end of the arch and in the reveals of the central arch, which originally formed part of a long frieze. It is possible, too, that the original emperor was Domitian, who damnatio memoriae would have made his monuments available for reuse.

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