Arch of Trajan (Timgad)

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The Arch of Trajan is a Roman triumphal arch located in the city of Timgad (ancient Thamugadi), near Batna, Algeria. It was built between the later second century CE and the early 3rd century CE. The three vaulted arch composed the western gate of the city, at the beginning of the Decumanus Maximus and the end of the road coming from Lambaesis.

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The inscription found on the attic of the monument commemorates the establishment of the colony by Trajan in the year 100 CE. The decorative design of the structure includes detached sides of the lateral arches and a curvilinear pediment, creating two distinct and contrasting lateral aediculae. The lavish ornamentation of the architectural elements also implies a later date for the construction of the monument.



The arch stands at a towering height of 12 meters, featuring a central arch measuring 6 meters in height that allowed carriges to pass through, resulting in noticeable grooves on the ground beneath the arch. The lateral arches (inspect), each standing at a height of 3.75 meters, were designated for pedestrian use.

Above the lateral arches, there are prominent rectangular niches (inspect) that are accompanied by aediculae. These aediculae consist of smooth-stemmed Corinthian columns made of colored marble, which are positioned on shelves. Originally, these niches were intended to house statues, but unfortunately, the statues themselves have been lost over time. The entire arrangement of each lateral arch and niche is bordered by two red Corinthian columns, detached from the walls and supported by pedestals. The entablature positioned above the lateral arches extends beyond the columns, while a curvilinear pediment (inspect) rests upon it. It is likely that the upper portion of the structure, the attic, once showcased a group of grand statues.

Additional sculptures were later incorporated into the arch. Among these additions was a statue depicting the gods Mars and Concordia, which were erected during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus by Lucius Licinius Optatianus. This installation commemorated Optatianus' appointment as the lifelong flamen (priest) of the colonia.

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