Location and Construction

Arch for Septimius Severus

view of the arch's forum-facing side, with the Capitoline Hill in the background

The Arch is located at the far end of the Forum Romanum, near the Capitoline Hill. As Diane Favro notes, when it was built, no new additions had been made to this Forum for seventy years, and when it was completed, it sealed the only open end of the Forum, thereby making the rest of the Forum difficult to access with construction vehicles. It was placed directly in front of the Temple of Concordia and west of the Curia Iulia, where the Senate met.  

As Diane Favro argues, construction of the Arch would have been particularly difficult because it is located so deep within the city. Marble would have been quarried outside of Rome, transported to its borders, and moved through the city to the Forum on unwieldy wagons via one of only two available routes. Once it was there, the foundations were laid, and the body itself was built and the attic was added with a series of progressively more elevated cranes that significantly obstructed the rest of the Forum. Finally, ornamentation was added from the scaffolding before it was deconstructed. The construction would have taken roughly a year.1


1. Diane Favro, “Construction Traffic in Imperial Rome: Building the Arch of Septimius Severus,” in Rome, Ostia, Pompeii: Movement and Space, eds Ray Laurence and David J. Newsome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 356. 

Location and Construction