Photo: Bill Thayer
 
Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine 
310 - 312 A.D. 
Rome  

This colossal capital was originally one of the eight decorative supports for the groin vaults of the basilica, started by  Maxentius and completed  by Constantine.  It housed a  giant statue of Constantine, the familiar head and arm fragments seen today in the courtyard of the Capitoline museum. The 1349 earthquake brought down the vaults and one aisle.  In 1613 this one remaining capital and column were set up in the plaza of the ancient church of Santa Maria Maggiore and dedicated to the Virgin.
Entablature remains
A Statue of the Virgin tops 
the column today.
 
The basilica in the 17th century 
 Photo contributed by William Thayer
 From Bill Thayer's extensive gazetteer of the Roman world:  LacusCurtius : More about the Basilica

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