The central pillars carry relief scenes in four successive zones praising Galerius’s exploits in the East against the Persians. A total of 28 zones are preserved, in which both historical events as well as symbolic scenes typical of triumphal representations in Roman art are depicted: battles between Romans and Persians, the course of Galerius and his army, a declaration of submission by prisoners of war before Caesar and war plunder loaded on camels, the arrival of the Persian Embassy bearing gifts for Galerius.
“The iconographic themes are developed in zones, four each on the three main sides of each pillar and two each on the sides opposite the secondary pillars. The relief zones are separated from one another by bands decorated either with guilloches of laurel leaves supported by bands tied at intervals, or by garlands of branches and flowers (rosettes).
“It is believed that the reliefs on the northeast pillar refer to events in the war in Assyria, while those on the southwest pillar are connected with the war in Armenia. It is quite probable that the other two pillars which do not survive today were decorated with themes related to the war in Media (the southwest) and with scenes whose purpose was to elevate and extol the glory of the members of the Tetrarchy (the northeast)”. (Χ.Ι. Μακαρόνας, Η Καμάρα το θριαμβικό τόξο του Γαλερίου στη Θεσσαλονίκη. Θεσσαλονίκη, 1969).
Source of photographs: German Archaeological Institute at Athens, 1935 and Archive Ch.Makarona, 1945, 1964.