The arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch erected in Rome, celebrating the victory of Constantine I over Maxentius in 312 A.D. The arch is located in the valley of the Colosseum, between the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, along the road that was used for triumphal processions. The arch of Constantine is the largest and the best preserved of the three existing triumphal arches at Rome. The other two, both located in the forum, are the Arch of Titus and the Arch of Septimius Severus.
It is inscribed as follows:
IMPERATORI CAESARI FLAVIO CONSTANTINO MAXIMO
PIO FELICI AVGVSTO SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS
QVOD INSTINCTV DIVINITATIS MENTIS
MAGNITVDINE CVM EXERCITV SVO
TAM DE TYRANNO QVAM DE OMNI EIVS
FACTIONE VNO TEMPORE IVSTIS
REMPVBLICAM VLTVS EST ARMIS
ARCVM TRIVMPHIS INSIGNEM DICAVIT
"To the Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantine, the Greatest, Pius, Felix, Augustus, inspired by divinity, in the greatness of his mind, he used his army to save the state by the just force of arms from a tyrant on the one hand and every kind of factionalism on the other, therefore the Senate and the People of Rome have dedicated this exceptional arch to his triumphs."
This propaganda intends to legitimize Constantine 's usurpation of power from Maxentius, "the tyrant". The reuse of artwork from Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius on the arch also seems intended to equate Constantine with those respected emperors.
The Arch of Constantine - http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/299_Arch_of_Constantine.html
The Arch of Constantine - http://harpy.uccs.edu/roman/html/archconslides.html
Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
But though the three structures above named are still to be seen in a more or less satisfactory state of preservation, yet only one of them, namely that of Severus, is represented on any coin, whilst on the other hand, the types of many triumphal arches destroyed ages back, appear (like that of Nero above engraved) on genuine products of the Roman mint.