The arch was built between 211 and 214 by means of a testamentary donation of Gaius Cornelius Egrilianus, Prefect of the XIV legion, who was originally from Thebeste. The figure set aside for the construction was 250,000 sesterti.
Later, the arch was reused as the northern gate of the city wall in the Byzantine period. The lateral arches were walled up, as was the northern one, until they were reopened by French military engineers during the colonial period.
In form it is roughly cubical, being 10.94m on the side and to the top of the entablature. On the pylons, beside the spans are pairs of columns with Corinthian capitals, detached from the wall and with pilasters behind, supported by a podium from which their pedestals extend. The main entablature is above the pairs of columns and continues in the recess above the spans. Medallions with the busts of divinities are located above each of the spans.
On the attic on three sides dedications are inscribed to the deified Emperor Septimius Severus, Julia Domna and Caracalla. On the fourth side is a reconstructed Byzantine inscription, originally found in the infill of the vaults, which refers to the incorporation of the arch into the Byzantine city wall as the work of the magister militum Solomon.
At the centre on all sides, the entablature supported an aedicula which held a statue.
The reconstruction of the very top of the arch is the subject of some debate among scholars: According to Meunier an octagonal lantern would have stood there with its base hidden by the aediculae, while according to another there would have been a low dome. According to Bacchielli, the four aediculae, connected by railings contained the statues of the Deified Septimius Severus, the Deified Julia Domna, Caracalla and Geta.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.