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Monument to Trajan’s victory over Dacians

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Monument of Trajan's victory over the Dacians
Monument of Trajan's victory over the Dacians

Trajan’s Column (COLVMNA·TRAIANI) is a monument to the victory of Emperor Trajan over the Dakis in the wars in 101-102 and 105-106 CE Financed from enormous spoils of war since the year 113 CE, it is now a landmark on the map capital of Rome.

The column was the focal point of the Trajan’s Forum next to which were the great Trajan Market Halls. The building is about 26 meters high (about 39 meters with an impressive pedestal). The building is built of Carrara marble blocks, where the heaviest weighs 53 tons and had to be erected to a height of 34 meters.

Inside the structure there are spirally arranged stairs (185 degrees) that lead to the viewing platform at the top. A person heading up has the opportunity to watch the forum surrounding him through 43 window slots. From the outside, the column is covered with numerous reliefs showing scenes of the war of the Romans with Dakas. You can see them subjected barbarians, numerous loot, prisoners and victorious legions.

The height of the building is not accidental. The ruler certainly wanted the column to be clearly visible and stand out above the Forum from other buildings such as the Ulpia Basilica. Along with the reliefs, this proves the fact that the column was mainly aimed at propagating the power of Rome and the emperor himself.

After Trajan’s death in 117 CE, the Roman Senate decided to place his ashes in the base of the column. The emperor rested there with his wife Plotin in golden urns. Naturally, the remains of the ruler have not survived to our times.

Ancient Roman coins indicate that originally a large eagle statue could have been at the top of the column, but we know that the statue of Trajan was definitely found there. However, during the Middle Ages this sculpture disappeared and was replaced in 1587 by a bronze figure of Saint Peter.

Sources
  • Ciechanowicz Jerzy, Rzym, ludzie i budowle, Warszawa 1987
  • Carcopino Jeorome, Życie codzienne w Rzymie w okresie rozkwitu cesarstwa, 1966
  • Dubicki Andrzej, Wojny dackie 101-106 n.e., Zabrze 2013
  • Szolginia Witold, Architektura, Warszawa 1992

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