Arch of Augustus (Aosta)

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Coordinates: 45°44′21.13″N 7°19′40.91″E / 45.7392028°N 7.3280306°E / 45.7392028; 7.3280306

The Arch of Augustus, east facade: the four gables of the roof, shallowly inclined, are not visible.

The Arch of Augustus (in French Arc d'Auguste) is a monument in the city of Aosta.

History[edit]

Alfredo D'Andrade on the scaffolding during the restoration of the Arch of Augustus in 1912-1913.

The Arch was built in 25 BC, on the occasion of the Roman victory over the Salassi and was the work of Aulus Terentius Varro Murena.

It is found on the axis of the decumanus maximus, a little distance from the Bourg Saint-Ours (quarter of the Collegiate Church of Saint Ursus) and from the eastern entrance of the city wall (the Porta Prætoria).

Description[edit]

Constructed from blocks of conglomerate, the arch has a single vault, with a height to the keystone of 11.4 metres. Its span is a barrel vault, constituting an extension in width of a round arch.

In the monument, various styles can be recognised: The ten engaged columns which decorate its facade and its sides culminate in Corinthian capitals, while the entablature, adorned with metopes and triglyphs, is of the Doric order.

In the Medieval period, it came to be called Saint-Voût (French for "Holy Arch") from an image of Jesus which was located in the same place.

During the twelfth century, the arch contained the home of a local noble family and in 1318 a small fortification was built on its inside, designed for a corps of crossbowmen. In 1716, because of the numerous leaks which were compromising the integrity of the monument, the attic that previously crowned the arch was replaced with a slate roof.

The modern appearance is the result of the final intervention for restoration and consolidation which occurred in 1912 under the direction of Ernesto Schiaparelli.[1]

The wooden crucifix displayed below the vault is a copy of the one which was placed there in 1449 as a votive offering against the flooding of the river Buthier, which flows a little to the east. The original crucifix is now held at the Museum of Aosta Cathedral's Treasures.

Quotation[edit]

I was fortunate in contemplating these beautiful passages
and the triumphal arch of Aosta
which has a unique vow to express
that ways endure forever.

J'étais si heureux en contemplant ces beaux paysages
et l'arc de triomphe d'Aoste
que je n'avais qu'un vœu à former
c'était que cette vie durât toujours.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ P. Barocelli, "L'arco di Augusto ad Aosta: I restauri del 1912-1913", Rivista di Studi Liguri XLI-XLII (1975-1976) p. 283
  2. ^ Quotation reported on one of the ascents of the Bard Fort.

External Resources[edit]