The Arch of Septimius Severus (28 m high and 25 m wide), which stands in the Forum Romanum, was erected in 203 to mark the 10th anniversary of the accession of the emperor Septimius Severus (r. 193-211).
The inscription tells us that the arch was awarded to the emperor and his two sons, Caracalla (188-217) and Geta (189-211),for having restored the Republic and expanded the dominion of the Roman people.
The arch was originally crowned with a gilded bronze statue of the emperor and his sons riding in triumph in a chariot drawn by six horses, with foot-soldiers to either side and a cavalryman at each of the corners.
Septimius Severus was born (145) in Leptis Magna, a thriving port in what is now Libya, and grew up speaking Latin with a pronounced provincial accent. He came to power in the so-called 'year of the five emperors'.
Severus had intended that his two sons should rule jointly following his death. But Caracalla, the elder son, had other ideas, and had Geta killed less than a year into their rule.
The original inscriptions on the arch included Geta's name, but these references were eliminated when Caracalla declared his brother in damnatio memoriae. In other words, Geta was written out of history and all references to him were destroyed.
The two inscriptions proclaim: IMP · CAES · LVCIO · SEPTIMIO · M · FIL · SEVERO · PIO · PERTINACI · AVG · PATRI PATRIAE PARTHICO · ARABICO · ET PARTHICO · ADIABENICO · PONTIFIC · MAXIMO · TRIBUNIC · POTEST · XI · IMP · XI · COS · III · PROCOS · ET IMP · CAES · M · AVRELIO · L · FIL · ANTONINO · AVG · PIO · FELICI · TRIBUNIC · POTEST · VI · COS · PROCOS · P · P OPTIMIS · FORTISSIMISQVE · PRINCIPIBUS OB · REM · PVBLICAM · RESTITVTAM · IMPERIVMQVE · POPVLI · ROMANI · PROPAGATVM INSIGNIBVS · VIRTVTIBVS · EORVM · DOMI · FORISQVE · S · P · Q · R (To the emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Augustus Parthicus Arabicus Parthicus Adiabenicus, son of Marcus, father of his country, Pontifex Maximus, in the eleventh year of his tribunician power, in the eleventh year of his rule, consul thrice, and proconsul, and to the emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus Pius Felix, son of Lucius, in the sixth year of his tribunician power, consul, and proconsul (fathers of their country, the best and bravest emperors), on account of the restored republic and the rule of the Roman people spread by their outstanding virtues at home and abroad, the Senate and the People of Rome.)