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Trajan's Column and Forum


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Trajan's Column
Trajan's Column

Trajan's Column

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Trajan's Monument commemorates the Roman Emperor Trajan's exploits in Dacia. This wasn't all that commemorated the successful conclusion to the fighting. Trajan also celebrated with the most impressive set of gladiatorial games known in antiquity. Trajan's Column was dedicated in A.D. 113, as part of Trajan's Forum, and is remarkably intact. The column is almost 30m high resting on a 6m high base. Inside the column is a spiral staircase leading to a balcony along the top. Inside the base was a chamber that held the funerary urns of Trajan and his wife, Plotina. There was a large bronze statue of Emperor Trajan on the top of the column, but it was replaced in the 16th century by a statue of St. Peter. The continuous spiral relief sculpture winds around Trajan's Column 23 times to show scenes from Trajan's campaigns in Dacia. There is a problem, though. The detail is so intricate and the original space so crowded it would have been difficult to see, even though the figures were originally painted. The detail on Trajan's Column is viewable via a full-size cast in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Reference: "Trajan's Column" The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Ed. Ian Chilvers. Oxford University Press, 2004.

Roman Monuments and Roman Architecture

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