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Monumental structure, originating in Rome, pierced by at least one arched passageway and erected to honour an important person or commemorate a significant event. It usually spanned a street or roadway and was built astride the line of march of a victorious army during its triumphal procession. Most were built during the empire period. The basic form consisted of two piers connected by an arch and crowned by a superstructure, or attic, that served as a base for statues and bore inscriptions. The large central arch could also be flanked by two smaller arches. The Roman triumphal arch had a facade of marble columns, and the archway and sides were adorned with relief sculpture. Among those built since the Renaissance is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on triumphal arch, visit Britannica.com.
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