Building Trajan’s Column
The Column of Trajan was constructed in 113 CE to remind the citizens of Rome about the two military victories of Roman emperor Trajan in a war in Dacia, which is now the modern Romania. The amazing carved reliefs that spiral around the column recreate the campaigns in Dacia including Trajan himself, addressing the troops, leading the army, rewarding auxiliaries and judging prisoners. The column is still standing in the heart of modern Rome and is among the most admired monuments in the Roman world.
Reading an Ancient Comic Strip
The victory of the Roman emperor Trajan over the Dacians in back-to-back wars is carved in numerous scenes that spiral around a 126-foot marble pillar in Rome known as Trajan’s Column. It’s a tale that reads like an ancient comic strip.
Carved into the structure are 2,662 figures in 155 scenes. Trajan appears in 58 of them. Viewers were meant to follow the story from bottom to top standing in one place rather than circling the column 23 times, as the frieze does.