Trajan's Column

Trajan's Column
Trajan's Column

This Roman monument is considered a masterpiece of not only sculpture but much more, and has entered the history books as a very elegant and artistic form of political propaganda.

In reality it is a large column that almost reaches a height of 30 meters, but its great peculiarity is that its entire shaft is covered in reliefs, as if it were the support for a large sculpted stone scroll that it circles around it 22 times, from its base to its top, which means a total of about 200 meters of relief if they were placed in a straight line.


Trajan's Column

All these reliefs are a great praise to Emperor Trajan and his Roman legions who fought in two Central European campaigns in Romanian lands, always around the Danube.

The script for the entire propaganda discourse of these reliefs was the emperor's own chronicles, carried out between the years 98 and 106. To get an idea of ​​the character publicity of the monument, it is enough to check how the Roman legionnaires always appear fighting victorious, while their enemies, the Dacians, are represented in an immense majority already dead or dying in the fight.

Regardless of such a one-sided view of history, the Trajan Column, like many other commemorative monuments of Roman civilization such astriumphal arches, portraits or statues, are historical documents in themselves, since they provide great information about the ways of life and customs of that time. In this case, the reliefs of the Trajan Column serve to learn about the clothing of the legions, their weapons and their military tactics.

Regarding the artistic style of these reliefs, the first characteristic that draws attention is that practically no empty space is visible and despite them, their sculptors used a thousand and one narrative resources so that it is not done a monotonous story And the second characteristic that is observed is that it is a very flat relief.

This entire massive column was made from 18 colossal blocks of marble from the valued Tuscan quarry of Carrara. And it still stands today among the remains of the enormous Roman Forum, specifically on its north side, near the Quirinal.

The construction of such a monument was unprecedented until then in Imperial Rome, and how could it be otherwise, it occurred to the emperor who came to have more territory under his domain, Emperor Trajan, who curiously was born in the Spanish city of Italica, in the vicinity of today's Sevilla, obviously in those days belonging to the Roman Empire, when Spain was known as Hispania.

Precisely a statue of Emperor Trajan was supposed to crown the Column, but in the 16th century, by order of the PopeSixtus V, that sculpture was removed and a bronze was placed representing San Pedro, which still crowns the column.

Today you can go through the entire interior of the column thanks to an internal spiral staircase, which makes this monument one of the main attractions for those who visit the city of Rome and want to see the remains of imperial era.

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