"Colonna Traiana (Trajan's Column)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 12th May 2011
This column was erected in 113 A.D. and illustrates the course of war with the Dacians on the territory of modern Romania. The column is made of a series of 18 marble drums ending with the Doric capital. Inside of it are 185 steps leading to the top.
The Column stands in front of the Churches of the Madonna del Loreto and of the SS. Nome di Maria, next to the ruins of the Basilica Ulpia. The set constitutes one of the most characteristic and famous sites in Rome. The monument served as the grave of the Emperor Trajan and stands on a high cubic plinth decorated with bas-reliefs.
There are 23 spirals of bas-relieves 200meters long with 2,500 figures illustrating in detail the various phases of Traian's military achievements in the Dacian campaigns of 101-102 and 105-106 A.D. The carving was carried out in less than four years. On the summit of the column was a gilded bronze statue of Traian, disappeared in uncertain epoch, which place was occupied since 1587 by a statue of St Peter, by Tommaso Della Porta.
The entrance gate leads to a room where a cinerary urn that contained the Emperor’s ashes was kept. Above the entrance a panel is supported by two Winged Victories with the inscription of a dedication to Trajan.
The total height of the column is 30meters (40m with the statue). The remains of emperor were placed in a cella inside of the base of the column in a golden urn. In the 14th century beside it was erected a chapel dedicated to St Nicolas, and a hermit who took care of it placed on the top of the column a bell with a long rope, so that it was turned into a kind of bell-tower. The chapel was destroyed by the order of Paul III. The artistic value of the column is extraordinary and reflects the period of maximum blooming of arts and tastes of the epoch of Traian. Unfortunately the smog keeps on damaging this monument as well as all the other Roman treasures.
The outside appears like an ancient book (volumen) that depicts the conquest of Dacia (the current Rumania) that was the Emperor’s largest military exploit. The story starts with the crossing of the Danube on a pontoon bridge and finishes with the deportation of the conquered Dacians. The image of the Emperor Trajan appears at least sixty times in the scenes of the buildings of camps, sieges and speeches to the troops. The original polychromy and the insertion of metal elements both lost today rendered the vision particularly attractive. The top of the Column was crowned by a statue of Trajan that disappeared in the Middle Ages and was replaced by Pope Sixtus V with a statue of St. Peter at the end of the 16th century. The author of the monument was the so-called Maestro delle Imprese di Traiano (Master of Trajan’s Exploits).
Colonna Traiana (Trajan's Column)
Via dei Fori Imperiali
Foro Traiano, 1
00187, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Campitelli (Foro Romano- Campidoglio-P.Venezia) (Roma centro)
Colonna Traiana (Trajan's Column) is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "139"
Bus: H - 40 - 60 - 64 - 70 - 117 - 170/ 60 - 75 - 85 - 87 - 117 - 175 - 186 - 810 - 850
Underground Metro: Metro B Fermata Colosseo