Arch for Titus, detail of southest side

Detail of the Arch for Titus showing the spandrels and keystone on the Colosseum-facing side

Arch for Titus, detail spandrels and keystone, northwestern facade

Detail of the Arch for Titus showing spandrels and keystone on the forum-facing side

The relief sculptures decorating the keystone (the block at the arch's apex) and spandrels (to each side of the keystone) accent the part of the monument bearing great physical and visual weight.  On both long sides of the arch, winged Victories fill the triangular space of the spandrels.  Their bared breasts and legs and alluringly draped bodies inspire desire for the concept they represent.  Those on the Colosseum-facing side are better preserved:  their feet rest on globes to convey the extent of Roman dominion.  One still extends a military banner.  They frame Roma, dressed as a female warrior and personifying the Roman state, who emerges in higher relief on the keystone.  On the arch's forum-facing side, the victories extend a military trophy and and an honorific laurel wreath, respectively.  One holds a palm branch.  They frame the keystone's half-draped male figure, who may represent the Roman people personified.  These personifications adorn the heart of the arch and convey the centrality of victory to Roman statehood.

MJ and KBC