Pompeii, Italy

Honorary arches

Two arches, once clad in marble, close the scenery of the Forum to the North. They were both built to celebrate the Imperial family and are situated one on each side of the Temple of Jupiter.

The arch on the west side is attributed to Emperor Augustus and the one to the east, to Emperor Nero. The latter was torn down, perhaps to erase the emperor’s memory upon his death (68 AD) or to clear the view to the other arch at the back. The two niches on the façade held statues of Nero and Drusus while on the opposite side there were two fountains.

At the top of the arch stood a statue, perhaps Emperor Tiberius on horseback. The other arch at the beginning of the via di Mercurio is thought to be Caligula’s because a statue of the emperor on horseback found nearby, was probably formerly part of the arch (now kept at the National Museum in Naples).