Rome: The Arch of Septimius Severus – one of ancient Rome’s most recognised monuments – is to undergo a programme of conservation works in 2021.
The restoration will be undertaken by the Parco archeologico del Colosseo which, in addition to the Colosseum, incorporates the Palatine Hill, Domus Aurea and the Roman Forum – where the triumphal arch is located.
Parco Colosseo director Alfonsina Russo told Wanted in Rome that scaffolding will start going up around the arch on 11 January and that the restoration is expected to take seven months.
The 23m-high monument, which stands at the foot of the Capitoline Hill in the north-west corner of the Roman Forum, is in a “precarious state of conservation due to physical, biological and chemical deterioration,” according to the Parco Colosseo website.
The majestic landmark is composed of three archways – one large, central archway flanked by two smaller passages – and was built in 203 AD by Emperor Septimius Severus to celebrate his victorious military campaigns against the Parthians of 194/195 and 197–199.
After the death of Septimius Severus in 211, his sons Caracalla and Geta were initially joint emperors.
In 212 Caracalla had Geta assassinated and ordered all references to his brother to be removed – as part of a damnatio memoriae or “condemnation of memory” – meaning that Geta’s image and inscriptions referring to his name were removed from the white marble arch.
The new restoration of the Arco di Settimio Severo – the first in more than 30 years – will focus on the side facing the Campidoglio and the office of the city’s mayor.