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Trajan’s Column

If you want to reserve a guided tour in English language with an expert, private guide to admire the Trajan's Column, please contact our reservation office writing to info@ticketsrome.com or call the number +39 055 2670402.

The Column of Trajan was a unique monument constructed in 113 AD and it consisted of a 100-foot tall marble column set atop a massive rectangular base, topped by a gilded statue of the emperor himself. Columnar monuments, albeit smaller in scale, were not new to the Romans; there were three things, however, which made this monument particularly novel: the chamber carved in its base to house Trajan's ashes, the spiral staircase which wound upwards to a viewing platform at its top, and, the continuous sculpted frieze which decorates the exterior of the column. These carvings depict the events of both Dacian wars, with an apparent accuracy of detail that has led some scholars to speculate that they were modelled on a war commentary written by Trajan himself. The scenes cover the entire range of Roman military activity, from fighting to collecting food, from marching to building. They also show many details of the land the Romans passed through - and of the enemies they fought.

Columna Trajano roma

The base, covered with detailed carvings representing spoils of war captured from the Dacians. The carvings which cover the Column itself, though easily accessible to us today through photographs and casts, would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for an ancient Roman spectator to appreciate in full. From ground level, only the lowest spirals are visible in detail. To make matters more difficult, the small size of the court in which the column was placed would not have allowed people to step very far back from the monument, increasing the difficulty of viewing the upper spirals. It has been proposed that the roofs of the two flanking libraries could have been used as viewing platforms.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus, Roman Emperor AD 98-117 Trajan was born in about the year AD 53 in Spain, the son of a Consul and thus a member of a noble Roman family. He showed such prowess in public and military service that he was chosen by Nerva to be his successor on the Imperial throne. Trajan was formally adopted in AD 98 by Nerva, who then promptly died and left the not-so-young man as emperor. Only three years later Trajan embarked on the first of wars against the Dacians, fairly highly civilized Germanic 'barbarians' who lived across the Danube in the area of modern Romania. The Dacians were led by the intelligent and skilful Decebalus, who made the war hard for the Romans. Trajan and his army were victorious, and he returned to Rome the next year to celebrate a fine triumph and to receive the award of the title "Dacicus."

Trajan embarked on further conquests later in his reign, but it was for the Dacian wars and his subsequent grand building projects in the Eternal City that he is most remembered - and rightly so. Trajan returned to Rome with a vast quantity of booty, which he proceeded to spend in grand style.

Today, Trajan’s column draws tourists from all around the world and it remains to be one of Rome’s many treasures. 



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