Trajan's Forum. View towards Basilica Ulpia.
2nd c Roman Roman Imperial Architecture
ROMAN IMPERIAL Anonymous
(c. 27 BCE - 284 CE)
The emperor Trajan erected a number of monuments to commemorate and tell the stories of his victories. The most important is known as the COLUMN OF TRAJAN , which was erected in the middle of the new forum that he built in Rome. You can see three views of it here. The column stood atop his tomb, in which his ashes were placed. You can see the great scale of the monument when you look at the man walking passed the base, shown in the image on the left.
The column itself is shown in the center. In front of it are some columns from the Basilica Ulpia. A narrative relief giving details of Trajan's victorious campaign against the Dacians spirals up the 100 foot high column. A detail of the lower portion of the column is shown on the right.
As you can see, the narrative winds up the column. Its typically Roman form is considered a NARRATIVE RELIEF, with the blending and separation of scenes that resembles a contemporary comic strip. The repetition of the same major characters as the story of Trajan's Dacian campaigns unfolds may have been derived from the picture scrolls that were popular during this time. Codexes or books were not widely available until several centuries later. The heads are stacked one above the other and, unlike the carefully paced and balanced Greek reliefs, everything is crowed with detail. You can see the support crew getting water from a stream coming down a mountain while other members of the team gather fruit from the trees. Above a cohort of soldiers follows their mounted officers and the standard of their legion.
Originally, an eagle resided at the top of the column which was replaced by a statue of Trajan himself, and then, during the Renaissance, by a representation of St. Peter.
ROMAN IMPERIAL | Forum of Trajan | Roman Imperial | Roman
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