Trajan’s Column

A carved frieze winds up around the outside of this column erected upon victory in the Dacian wars.

Trajan’s Column (Colonna Traiana) is a monumental Roman column that stands in Rome, Italy. It was constructed to commemorate the victory of Emperor Trajan in the Dacian Wars (101–102 AD and 105–106 AD). Trajan’s Column is a remarkable example of ancient Roman artistic and engineering prowess. Its detailed reliefs provide invaluable insights into Roman military tactics, equipment, and daily life during the Dacian Wars. The column continues to be a prominent landmark in Rome and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here are key details about Trajan’s Column:

  1. Emperor Trajan:
    • Trajan was a Roman emperor who ruled from 98 AD to 117 AD. His victories in the Dacian Wars, particularly the conquest of Dacia (modern-day Romania), were celebrated through various architectural projects, including Trajan’s Column.
  2. Construction Period:
    • The column was built between 107 AD and 113 AD. The reliefs on the column depict scenes from Trajan’s military campaigns in Dacia.
  3. Architects:
    • The architect responsible for the design of Trajan’s Column is believed to be Apollodorus of Damascus, a renowned architect of the time.
  4. Location:
    • Trajan’s Column is located in Trajan’s Forum, a complex that also includes Trajan’s Market, the Basilica Ulpia, and a large plaza. The column stands at the northern end of the forum.
  5. Architectural Features:
    • The column is made of Carrara marble and stands at a height of approximately 30 meters (98 feet). The shaft of the column is a continuous frieze that spirals upwards, depicting over 2,500 individual figures.
  6. Spiral Frieze:
    • The frieze of Trajan’s Column is an intricate narrative of Trajan’s military campaigns in Dacia. It provides a detailed and continuous depiction of the battles, ceremonies, and everyday activities of the Roman army.
  7. Statue of Trajan:
    • Originally, the column was crowned with a bronze statue of Emperor Trajan. However, the statue was replaced in the Renaissance with a statue of St. Peter by Pope Sixtus V.
  8. Access:
    • Historically, a staircase within the column allowed visitors to climb to the top and view the city from the viewing platform. The staircase is no longer accessible to the public.
  9. Preservation:
    • Despite the effects of time and weather, the column remains well-preserved. Conservation efforts have been undertaken to protect the reliefs and the structure itself.
  10. Symbolism:
  • Trajan’s Column is not only a historical record but also a symbol of the power and reach of the Roman Empire. It emphasizes the military successes and achievements of Emperor Trajan.
  1. Inscriptions:
  • The base of the column is adorned with inscriptions in Latin commemorating Trajan’s victories and providing information about the construction of the column.


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