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Trophy of Augustus

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Trophy of Augustus
Tropaeum Alpinum

A few kilometres from the Principality of Monaco, at the top of a 486-meter-high hill, are the imposing remains of the monument. The monument called Trophy of Augustus (Tropaem Augusti or Tropaeum Alpium) was built around 6 BCE, in honour of the victories made in campaigns between 16 and 7 BCE by Emperor Augustus over the Alpine tribes.

The trophy is partially reconstructed and is 35 meters high. A rotunda was placed on the square base, which initially contained 24 columns in the Tuscan order. They supported the triglyph frieze. Above it, there was a conical pedestal on top of which probably was a statue of Augustus. The rotunda, together with the roof and the statue, probably measured 49 m. Only a part of the round wall and a few columns have survived to our times.

On the plinth of the monument, there is a fragmentary inscription listing all the defeated tribes (there were 45 of them). Thanks to Pliny the Elder, we know the entire text, because he included it in his work in Natural History.

Between the 12th and 15th centuries, the trophy was allocated to a fortress, and within its walls, residents built houses. In 1705, during the war between Savoy and France – Louis XIV ordered the destruction of all fortresses that were in this region. The trophy was partially dismantled and its stones were used as a building material, among other things, for the construction of the nearby church of St. Michael.

In 1929, the monument was partially restored thanks to funding by Edward Tuck. A small museum has been built nearby, with ancient fragments, plaster casts, photographs and a model showing an attempt to reconstruct the trophy.

Author: Roger Rytter (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • Alexandru Ș. Bologa and Ana-Maria Grămescu, Tropaeum Augusti (France) and Tropaeum Traiani (Romania): A Comparative Study

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