The Arch of Septimus Severus, Composed of one main central arch and two minorones: one on each side, was erected in the year A.
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Background: The Arch of Septimus Severus, Composed of one main central arch and two minorones: one on each side, was erected in the year A.D. 203 in honour of the emperor Septimus Severus and of his sons Geta and Caracalla to commemorate victories gained in the Orient on the "Parti" and the Arabs. The sculptures, in base relief which ornate the smaller arcs on either side reproduce in fact episodes of these wars and constitute a significant product of Roman Art in the Third Century. On the two dedicatory inscriptions the name of Geta was erased when he was killed by as ordered by Caracalla.
Time, and above all agents contained in the air; besides the birds which nest in the arch ( with special reference to the animal's escrements and the acids therein contained) have seriously damaged can be divided in two main categories:
I)- The breaking up of the marble surface which comes off in thin sheets and in crevices of various depth caused by changes in the temperature of the air and by water filtering in the veins of the marble slabs. The water, freezing after entering the above mentioned veins causes the splits in the marble.
2)- Disintegration and powdering of the marble's surface caused by frost, chemicals contained in the atmosphere and by microscopic fungi and lichens.
The damage listed under I)- is repaired in the following manner: Nuts and bolts of various lengths made of bronze lined with lead are placed in holes which are drilled in the appropriate manner so as to hold together the various pieces which have split. These nuts and bolts are invisible once they have been set as required and they will eventually take the place of the iron bands which were placed for the same reasons during the last repairs about 50 years ago.
To avoid the disintegration (ref.2)-), the barble is subjected to a flow of water for about 4 hours. When the surface has become soft the encrustations are removed with fine metal brushes until the marble achieves its original colour. Then a liquid containing silicones is placed on the marble surfaces. This liquid will consolidate said surfaces rendering them impervious to water seepage.
Further excavation in the piece where public meetings were held has brought to light a long wall made of square blocks of stone. This is probably the front part of the podium from which orators spoke to the throngs gathered to hear them. This monument the excavation of which was ordered so as to clarify the locations of the various monuments, probably dates back to the Republican period of Rome's history that is to say between the VI and the V Century B.C.