Arch of Septimius Severus - a triumphal arch in Rome
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Arch of Septimius Severus

The reliefs on the arch of Septimius Severus show victories over the Parthians. The men who carved this arch, unlike those who carved the Arch of Titus, used stone drills to cut away the stone, creating areas of high contrast darkness and light.

Over the carvings there was an inscription with gleaming bronze letters, but the bronze has been stolen away, and only the nail holes and grooves for the letters are still there. That's enough for us to read the inscription, and also for us to see where Septimius Severus' son Caracalla, when he became emperor and killed his brother Geta, had his brother's name scratched out of the inscription. Can you see it on the third line from the bottom?


Learn by doing: building a Roman arch
Arch of Constantine

Bibliography and further reading about the Arch of Septimius Severus:

The Colosseum & the Roman Forum, by Martyn Whittock (2002). Easy reading.

The Roman Forum, by Michael Grant (1970). Out of date, but Michael Grant is an entertaining writer with a simple style which teenagers may appreciate.

Ancient Roman Art, by Susie Hodge (1998). Easy reading.

Roman Art: Romulus to Constantine, by Nancy and Andrew Ramage (4th Edition 2004). The standard textbook.

The Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum, by R. Brilliant (1987). Unfortunately out of print, but libraries should still be able to get it.

Arch of Titus
Arch of Constantine
More about Roman Art
Ancient Rome
Quatr.us home


LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 29 April, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT