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Bob Hook

I have come to believe that the world around us is presented in a manner that is controlled by the people in power. Some of these presentations have intentional biases and fall under the definition of “propaganda.” Major pieces of art have always been financed a supported by those in power or the prophets of the afterlife, the religious faction. I think that the Arch of Constantine is a great example of the retelling of history to glorify the present leaders. The major theme is of the arch is to place Constantine on equal footing with emperors who also had arches in Rome. Examples are the Arch of Titus, The Arch of Septimus Severus and the Arch of Marcus Aurelius that didn’t survive. Constantine wanted to make sure that the citizens knew he was equal to the past leaders.
In addition, he borrowed scenes, actual sculptures, from earlier time frames. These sculptures were of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius, three of the five emperors known as the good emperors. It is clear that he wants his reign associated with these benevolent and respected leaders. Other aspects are sculptures that clearly show the capture and subjugation of foreigners to the rule of the Romans. The “Barbarians’ are not the only conquered people. There is also a depiction of Constantine’s victory over a rival Roman leader Maxentius. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the construction was when the heads of past emperors were re-shaped to appear more in the image of Constantine. Finally, some of the last panels are formed in an entirely different shape a pattern. Those depictions are very similar to the way early Christians depicted characterizations a varied from the styles of the other statues. This may have been designed to show his conversion to Christianity. I think it is very interesting how subtle propaganda can be.