Monumental Arches

Location of the Monumental Arches in Corinth, A.D. 150. Figure 1. Location of the Monumental Arches in Corinth, A.D. 150.

There are four monumental arches from the area of the Roman forum and one monumental gateway from the area of the theater. Seen in red in the diagram at the right, the arches and gateway are summarized below.

Jump to: Lechaion Road, Rostra, Southwest Forum, Road to Sikyon, Theater at the Gateway

Arch at the Head of the Lechaion Road

The monumental arch at the head of the Lechaion Road stands in a commanding position at the place where the cardo maximus of the Roman colony meets the forum from the north. On high ground the arch commands the view to the north towards the Corinthian Gulf a distance of approximately 3000 m. This arch was by far the largest and most impressive arch from the Roman city.

Elevation of the Lechaion Road Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150. Figure 2. Elevation of the Lechaion Road Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150.

The most recent study of this monumental arch was undertaken by Charles M. Edwards and published in Hesperia in 1994. The following summary is based on his work. The arch was originally constructed as a triple bayed arch and subsequently restored as a single bayed arch.

Phase I: In the Augustan period the central bay was accessed through a ramp from the north while pedestrians walked over flanking steps and through the side openings. The width of the arch would have been in excess of 20 m. The central opening had columns on podia projecting north.

Phase II: In the late third or early fourth quarter of the first century A.D. the pylons were enlarged on the south side of the arch and the central bay was enlarged to a span of 7 m. A long flight of steps replaced the ramp on the north side of the arch which meant that only pedestrians could access the forum through the arch from this time on.

Phase III: A platform and a crosswalk on the eastern side of the arch signifies the third phase of construction. The chronology is less certain but probably during the late Roman or early Byzantine period.

Site plan of the Lechaion Road Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150. Figure 3. Site plan of the Lechaion Road Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150.

Arch Near the Rostra

Elevation of the Rostra Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150. Figure 4. Elevation of the Rostra Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150.

This monumental arch was located next to the Rostra on the eastern staircase that connected the lower forum to the higher level. This pedestrian passageway was on axis with the Lechaion Road and therefore the continuation of the cardo maximus within the center of the city and adjacent to the Rostra. A single bay arch has been restored in this location of ca. 3m. span. Few remains of this arch survive and therefore the details of its construction are vague. A likely date for the construction of the arch would be the Augustan period.

Arch at the Southwest Forum

Elevation of the Southwest Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150. Figure 5. Elevation of the Southwest Arch in Corinth, A.D. 150.

A building located in the southwest corner of the forum and named by the excavator the “Long Rectangular Building,” was constructed during the reign of Nero or possibly Vespasian. Immediately to the east of the building exist the foundations of a monumental arch that connect it to the South Stoa. The arch was a single span arch with a width of 4.50 m.

Although the chronological relationship of the arch to the “Long Rectangular Building” is not absolutely certain it is most likely that the arch was constructed as a part of the same building campaign. This arch was used for pedestrian as well as wheeled traffic.

Arch on the Road to Sikyon

At the northwest corner of the forum where the road to Sikyon exits the area there is the location of a triple bayed arch connecting the colonnade of the Northwest Stoa to the Precinct of Temple C. Cuttings in the bedrock exist to show that the structure was supported by piers. The lateral openings had a span of 1.60 m. and the central opening was 4.25 m. Based on the relative chronology of the Northwest Stoa and Temple C it is most likely that the arch was constructed in the early Augustan period.

Gateway at the Theater

A monumental gateway was situated to the north and east of the theater where Decumanus II North meets the pavement of the theater. Since only a portion of the width of the roadway has been excavated the original width of the gateway is not known although two of the pier foundations survive, 2.25 m. wide.

Building summaries written by Guido Petruccioli.

Pictures of Arches

Testimonia

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.3.2

Bibliography

Edwards, Charles M., “The Arch over the Lechaion Road at Corinth and its Sculpture,” Hesperia 63 (1994) pp. 263-308.
Scranton, R.L. Corinth I, iii; Monuments in the Lower Agora and North of the Archaic Temple. Princeton, 1951, pp. 133-134, 137-139.
Stillwell, Richard, R.L. Scranton, and S.E. Freeman. Corinth I, ii; Architecture. Cambridge, 1941, pp. 159-192.
Williams, Charles K. II and Joan E. Fisher, “Corinth 1975: Forum Southwest,” Hesperia 45 (1976) pp. 99-162.
Williams, Charles K. II and Orestes H. Zervos, “Corinth 1982: East of the Theater,” Hesperia 52 (1983) pp. 1-47.