Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Rome Postscript - Trajan's Column

As a sort of postscript to our trip to Rome I thought you might like to see the pictures I took of Trajan's Column.

The Internet connection in Italy was painfully slow so I waited until I got home to put up the shots I took. With a 28mm collection for the Dacian Wars being put together for later this year I had more than just a passing interest in this monument.

The depictions of boats really emphasise the naval aspect of the Dacian War

Great detail on the bridge of boats and the Legionary standards

I'm guessing this could be the boss overseeing events

These chaps look like Numidian cavalry

The shield patterns and designs are so well illustrated. All that is lacking is the colour

More Numidians!

Roman Auxiliary Cavalry seeing off  some Cataphracts on the right

You know what this is. Every Imperial Roman Army has to have one

Note the Dacians desperately defending the gate

Auxiliary and Legionary infantry

Legionary Standards

I think this is Dacian cavalry attempting to flee across a river. Note the Cataphracts top right

Note the detail on the Legionary shields, with standards and the Eagle in the background

The start of the operation at the bottom of the column with the frontier forts and supplies stacked close by

Engineers hard at work

Bloody battle with a few club men getting stuck in. Baggage wagons in the background


  1. Stunning Jonathan, Great pictures!

    1. Cheers Paul. The more you study them the more little bits of detail that you hadn't noticed before seem to leap out at you

  2. Terrific photography of the Trajan's Column! You have whet my appetite for my trip.

    1. Cheers Jon, if you're like me I think you will be looking at this for quite a while, and I only really spotted the detail once I got the pictures back on the computer. The sun in Rome is strong and staring up at white marble is rather hard on the eyes. Have fun.

  3. Trajan liked columns , see also the Tropaeum Traiani which he had built in 102 to also commemorate his Dacian wars, although tastefully reconstructed in the 1970's out of concrete the 50 odd freezes ,showing the same type of things as you saw on the Rome version , were fortunately preserved in the near by museum.

    1. Cheers Steve, I hadn't,t seen that, I'll have a look. I should also say we also found the column of Marcus Aurelius late one evening on our way back from the Trevi fountain. It commemorates his victory over the Marcomanni, Quadi and Sarmatians, sadly it did not appear to be in such good condition and the style of over large heads carved on the subjects was not as appealing as the style of the Trajanic one.

    2. Sorry Steve, I inadvertently deleted your response, so to quote

      "Sticking up a column to advertise a victory was the thing to do but unfortunately not many survived , the only other one in Rome of any height is the Column of Phocas so you did well to find 2 out of 3 . There are bound to be some in Rome 2.0 (Constantinople) but you cannot beat the originals. Remember that Trajan's would have been brightly coloured and have real weapons , mind you that was the case with most of their sculptures".

    3. It would have been fantastic to have seen the weapons and colours of the original, then us ancient figure painters would have had it as easy as the Napoleonic ones. Although may be not, as I have quite a few Napoleonic references that disagree on detail!!

      The thrill of seeing these things "in the flesh", so to speak, is that you get to see where the WRG references were drawn from, and you get some assurance that not all ancient history is totally educated guess work.