Thursday, December 17, 2009

Column of Trajan

The Column of Trajan represents the pinnacle of Roman monumental architecture; in one single, long comic strip-like spiral, the emperor Trajan's architects and sculptors tell the story of the conquest of Dacia by Roman legions in the 2nd Century AD. The next four pictures show a progression of the column.

According to legend, the height of the Column of Trajan was determined by the height of the hill that was hauled away from the construction of the basilica and forum of Trajan.What is cool about the column is that it shows Roman military tactics, such as the testudo, shown above, where legionnaires would lock their rectangular shields together to provide protection as they assaulted the walls of a fortress.Above, the god of the Danube River looks up in curiosity as humans march across a bridge built over his body.In the base of the column, the ashes of the emperor Trajan and his family were interred. There is a staircase up to the top, but it is not open to the public. Below is just one of the massive columns that made up the basilica around the Column.See the site, in the middle of Rome, here.