Arch of Caracalla (Djémila)

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The Arch of Caracalla in Djémila

The Arch of Caracalla is a Roman triumphal arch from the beginning of the 3rd century, located at Djémila in Algeria (Cuicul). The arch, with a single span (fornix) was placed on the road leading to Sitifis and constituted the entrance to the city's Severan forum.

History[edit]

The arch was erected in 216 in honour of the Emperor Caracalla, his mother Julia Domna and his deceased father Septimius Severus.

In 1839 Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans saw the arch during an expedition and planned to have it transported to Paris, where he intended to have it erected with the inscription "L'Armée d'Afrique à la France" (The African Army, to France). After his death, in 1842, the project, which was almost ready to be carried out, was abandoned.

The arch, together with the rest of the archaeological site of Djémila, has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1982[1]

Description[edit]

The arch, with a single span, reaches a height of 12.5 m, a width on 11.6 m and a depth of 3.9 m.

On both sides of the span, on the pylons, are niches, each framed by a pair of Corinthian columns on pedestals, with smooth drums, detached from the wall. Each pair of columns supports an entablature, which is surmounted in turn by a small aedicula, with a pediment, reaching to the top of the Attic.

On top of the Attic, three bases remain, which originally supported statues of the members of the imperial family.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Entry on Djémila at UNESCO's site

Bibliography[edit]

  • Pietro Romanelli, "Gemila" in Enciclopedia dell'arte antica (1960) (testo on line)
  • Paul Fevrier, "Notes sur le développement urbain en Afrique du Nord. Les exemples comparés de Djemila et de Sétif", in Cahiers d'archéologie, 14, 1964, p. 9.
  • Silvio De Maria, "Arco onorario e trionfale" in Enciclopedia dell'arte antica. II supplemento (1994)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°19′14.1″N 5°44′8″E / 36.320583°N 5.73556°E / 36.320583; 5.73556