In the garden of Piazza Vittoriostands an eighteen-metre-high mass of brick-faced concrete. This was once a Nymphaeum, a monumental public fountain built by the emperor Alexander Severus (r. 222-36).
The fountain was originally revetted in marble and adorned with numerous pieces of sculpture. Two of the pieces survive and are known as the 'Trophies of Marius'. However, the association with the Roman general Marius, who defeated the Cimbri, a German tribe who invaded Italy in 101 BCE, is completely fictitious. The trophies actually date back to the reign of either the emperor Domitian (r. 81-96) or Trajan (r. 98-117).
Until the late 16th century, the trophies stood in the upper arches of the Nymphaeum, but in 1590 they were moved to the Piazza del Campidoglio, where they remain.