Rome is an open-air museum, history emerges at every step and surprises the traveller with unusual perspectives. In the Italian city with the greatest historical and cultural artistic heritage
The Trajan column is the only one that has come down to us practically intact, especially considering the Imperial Forum. This column, erected to commemorate the conquest of Dacia, the present Romania, by Trajan is particular for its informative and celebratory character. The frieze that traces it is a true documentary of the military campaign.
He also inspired two other memorial columns, those of Marcus Aurelius and Antoninus Pius. We know this symbol of the Roman Empire and what are the main scenes that are depicted here.
The main scenes depicted on the Trajan column and the basement.
The Trajan column has as its main element the frieze that unrolls like a papyrus. Here are represented over 100 different scenes in which there are 2500 characters. The description of Trajan’s enterprises takes place in strict chronological order and extends from bottom to top and from left to right.
The first scene depicts the crossing of the Danube by the Romans with the use of a bridge of boats. The scenes regarding the moments of combat are interspersed with marches, constructions of bridges, roads, camps and scenes in which the figure of the emperor appears. This is represented in total about sixty times. An interesting aspect that concerns Trajan is the fact that he is always depicted in greater proportions than the other figures present.
Another important aspect of the illustrations is that each painting presents distinctive scenarios such as details of rocks, buildings and vegetation. Originally the Trajan column was polychrome which made the expressiveness of the characters better.
The base is adorned using the bas-relief technique. The part facing the basilica Ulpia has an inscription in Roman characters supported by two victories. On the sides there are four eagles holding a garland of laurel. The door to the column is placed under the inscription.
Trajan’s Column: meaning and curiosity
The Trajan Column is a monument celebrating the greatness of Rome but also represents the definitive detachment of Roman and Greek art. Another interesting aspect is what concerns its manufacturer. There is no certainty as to who carried out the project even if the most plausible theory is that it was Apollodorus of Damascus who also built the forum of Trajan.
During the period of French domination, Napoleon’s soldiers thought of breaking down the column and bringing it to Paris. The column had the task of guarding the ashes of the emperor and commemorating the conquest of the Dacian territories by the emperor Trajan. Another purpose of the column was to show the height of the hill that had been destroyed to build this monument.
To the south of Campo Marzio is the Marcello theatre, built by Emperor Augustus for his nephew in 27 B.C. It is located in the archaeological area of the same name and is next to the portico of Ottavia a splendid monumental complex built by the same emperor for the sister, mother of Marcellus.
What is Trajan’s column and where is it?
The Trajan Column is a memorial built by order of the Emperor Trajan. Its location is the forum of Trajan in the vicinity of the Quirinale and north of the Roman Forum. This column reaches the height of 30 meters and is crossed by a spiral bas-relief commemorating the victory of the emperor against the Dacians.
The column consists of 18 blocks of Carrara marble each weighing 40 tons. Inside there is a spiral staircase with 185 steps that allows you to reach a panoramic walkway located at the top.
Originally on top of the column was placed the statue of an eagle replaced then by a statue of Trajan and finally in 1588 by a statue of Saint Peter at the behest of Pope Sixtus V. The column rests on a pedestal decorated with four eagles on the sides. Inside the cell at the base was kept the urn containing the emperor’s ashes.
What to see near the Trajan column?
The Trajan column is located in the Trajan Forum which is near the forums of the emperors Caesar, Nervia and Augustus. The Forum of Trajan was inaugurated in 112 A. C. to complete the great monumental district of the imperial forums.
The plan of the Forum of Trajan was more complex than that of the other holes. On one side it was dominated by the imposing basilica Ulpia behind which stands the column of Trajan. Originally it included a large square that was lined with arcades. The opposite side of the forum was closed by a large hall with a colonnaded façade in front of which there was a colossal equestrian statue of the emperor.
The Via dei Fori Imperiali was built to connect Piazza Venezia with the Colosseum. This famous monument of ancient Rome is located near the Trajan column, is the place where the games that cheered the population were organized.