Arcus Argentariorum


The Arcus Argentariorum (Latin: ''Arch of the Money-Changers''; in Italian: ''Arco degli Argentari''), is an ancient Roman arch that was partly incorporated in the seventh century into the western wall of the nearby church of San Giorgio al Velabro in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...



It is a widespread misconception that it is a
triumphal arch A triumphal arch is a free-standing monumental structure in the shape of an arch An arch is a vertical curved structure that Span (architecture), spans an elevated space and may or may not support the weight above it, or in case of a horizon ...

triumphal arch
, but it is in fact entirely different in form, with no curves and more resembling an
architrave In classical architecture, an architrave (; from it, architrave "chief beam", also called an epistyle; from Ancient Greek, Greek ἐπίστυλον ''epistylon'' "door frame") is the lintel (architecture), lintel or beam (structure), beam t ...

. Its actual purpose is unknown, but the most probable scenario is that it formed a monumental gate where the vicus Jugarius entered the
Forum Boarium The Forum Boarium (, it, Foro Boario) was the cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large s. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily and the mos ...

Forum Boarium
. As the dedicatory inscription says, it was commissioned not by the state or emperor, but by the local money-changers (''wikt:argentarius, argentarii'') and merchants (''wikt:negotians, negotiantes''), in honour of Septimius Severus and his family. The top was possibly once decorated with statues of the imperial family, now long gone. It was finished in 204 AD and is tall and the passage (between two thick pillars supporting a flat lintel) is wide. It is built of white marble, except for the base which is of travertine. The dedicatory inscription is framed by two bas-reliefs representing Hercules and a ''genius#Etymology, genius''. The panels lining the passage present two Religion in ancient Rome, sacrificial scenes — on the right (east), Septimius Severus, Julia Domna and Publius Septimius Geta, Geta, and on the left (west) side Caracalla with his wife Fulvia Plautilla and father-in-law Gaius Fulvius Plautianus. The figures of Caracalla's brother, father in law and wife on the passage panels and on the banners on the outside, and their names on the dedicatory inscription, damnatio memoriae, were chiselled out after Caracalla seized sole power and assassinated them. These sacrificial scenes gave rise to the popular but incorrect saying about the arch that Past Looting, treasure-hunters interpreted this to mean that there was a treasure hidden inside the arch. They drilled many holes in it, which are still visible. Above the main reliefs, are smaller panels with Victoria (mythology), Victories or eagles holding up victors' wreaths, and beneath them more sacrificial scenes. The external decoration of the pillars includes soldiers, barbarian prisoners, military banners (with busts of the imperial family) and a now-damaged figure in a short tunic.

See also

* List of Roman triumphal arches


"Passeggiate Romane"
{{Coord, 41, 53, 22.24, N, 12, 28, 58.71, E, source:itwiki-itwiki_region:IT_type:landmark, display=title Ancient Roman buildings and structures in Rome 204 establishments Buildings and structures completed in the 3rd century Rome R. XII Ripa Septimius Severus Caracalla