This column, which is over 13 meters high, has the great honor of being the last construction to rise in great Forum of Rome, since it was built in the year 608, when the greatest successes of the imperial city had already passed. And in fact, it was built in honor of Emperor Phocas, who did not rule in Rome, but in Byzantium, since at that time Byzantium (the current Istanbul) had become the great heir to much of the Roman Empire.
Column of Seals
This column is entirely built of marble, although it has a base raised on bricks, which was not quite usual.
And, why did Rome erect such a constructive milestone in its Forum in honor of a foreign emperor? And even more so, in honor of Phocas, an emperor known for his brutality and cruelty, since he did not hesitate to murder his predecessor and his son in order to occupy the throne. However, he knew how to win the trust and respect of Rome with a single action, since he ceded the old Pantheon of Agrippa toPope Boniface IV, who would Christianize it
On the other hand, it is also clear that the presence of this column also somehow embodied Byzantium's rule over Rome.
But make no mistake, and this column was hardly written specifically for this emperor. It is much more plausible that it was a recycled element of some other construction.It cannot be forgotten that the columns are made up of a series of pieces, called drums, which are placed one on top of the other and linked by means of metal pieces.
So we would not know its origin, although given its stylistic characteristics, scholars of Roman art dare to date it to approximately the 2nd century. And its pedestal was also recycled, since it is known that it was previously the base of a statue of another emperor, Diocletian, since there was an inscription alluding to him, which of course was changed for another mentioning Phocas. Of which there would also be a sculpture on the top of the capital of the column, which in this case has been lost. Which does not detract from the gallantry of this column that, after all, is the best preserved of the monumental complex of the Roman Forum.