In France, especially in its southern part of the Mediterranean coast and Provence there are many vestiges and buildings inherited from its past like roman colonies. They can be seen, for example, in the Amphitheater of Arles or in the temple that was the Maison Carrée de Nîmes. But also in other places in this area, as is the case with Orange and its famous triumphal arch.
The triumphal arch is somehow the most characteristic typology of Roman architecture and everything is based on the presence of the semicircular arch. It is true that it was not the Romans who created this architectural element, nor its development in the form of a barrel vault. But the truth is that it was the Romans who made it a benchmark and experimented a lot with it. And even when, centuries later, Christian churches began to be built using these types of arches and vaults as key elements of their style, these constructions were called Romanesque, in clear homage to their predecessors in Rome.
And it is that the triumphal arches abounded in the capital of the empire and a few of them have come down to us like those of Septimio Severo, Tito or Constantino. Since, as the name of these arches tells us, they are commemorative constructions of the great achievements of the rulers, who wanted that to be very clear for Roma and the Romans.
However, triumphal arches were also erected far from the metropolis. And even before those mentioned. That is the case of the Orange Arch in France. A work that was built by the Emperor Augustus between the years 10 and 25 after Christ. And on this occasion he did not want to make the citizens aware of his military victories, what he wanted was to make it clear to his enemies. Because the Arch of Orange is erected to commemorate the various victories that had been inflicted on the Gallic peoples from the time of Julius Caesar to those of Augustus himself. Although, later in the times of emperor Tiberius other elements were incorporated that allude to the triumphs over the Germanic peoples.
It was located on the Via Agrippa, which crosses perpendicularly with its three arches, the central one being larger. The entire structure reaches a height of nearly 20 meters, almost the same as its width. So it looks like a big square on the road. And to keep it standing, all of it has a depth of more than 8 meters. That is to say, it is not a simple decoration or backdrop, since it is an important work raised from large blocks of limestone.
And of course those stones are the support of different reliefs that capture all the victorious military campaigns in Gallic lands, which was the ultimate object of such a construction.