Trajan`s column

Trajan’s column
This was in last years
A.D. 113
If you were allowed a column to be
covered in relief, all about you…
What images would you
have on it?
What images would a leader
or an Emperor want to have
on their column it for the
purposes of Propaganda?
What stuff from the Arch of
Constantine comes from
Trajan’s period…this may
help us figure out what his
column shows.
What it looks like
Trajan’s column – famous on
The Simpsons!
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teaching\art\YouTube - I Simpson - The
Italian Bob.avi
of your workbooks
Location: Rome – formed part of the forum
built by Emperor Trajan (north of main forum)
 Architectural type: Relief sculpture
 Purpose: Commemorates Trajan’s victories over
the Dacians and propaganda to remind Romans
of Trajan’s success as military leader
 Subject matter of sculptural reliefs: Success of
Trajan against the Dacians
 Dates of construction: find in Paul Artus
 Dimensions: find in Paul Artus
of your workbooks
Date of the structure:
Where was it to be found: Trajan’s forum, Rome
Who built it: Trajan
What is the total height?
What is the length of the frieze? Find in Paul Artus
What does the structure commemorate? Trajan fought
2 campaigns in Dacia in AD101-102 & 105-106 &
booty of these financed the forum’s construction.
 What is the structure made of? Carrara marble
 How is emperor Trajan depicted? See Paul Artus p.53
under ‘Portrayal of Trajan’
What problems did the structure face? The uppermost
bands would be hardest to see.
P .53 of workbooks
What were 3 way that were
used to help the viewer see
the column?
Find in Paul Artus, p.52
under ‘Problems to
3 ways the column was to
commemorate the
achievements of Trajan:
Find in Paul Artus, p.50
p. 52 Workbook
In what ways was the original
appearance of the column
different to what we see today?
See, Paul Artus p.50 ‘Things lost
from the original’
What image is seen of Trajan in the
reliefs? In what ways is this
different or similar to that of Titus
in the reliefs on the arch of Titus?
Think about how trajan is shown as
different to Titus
What image of Trajan is seen in the reliefs? In what ways
is this different from or similar to that of Titus in the
reliefs in the Arch of Titus?
Trajan shown in realistic manner, as soldier among other
In contrast, Titus shown as superhuman & godlike. Trajan
is human sized not superhuman
Trajan personally involved in action
Trajan dominates actions because he is in all scenes
Trajan is shown in action, during actual events of
Titus is shown on an eagle, ascending to heaven in his
apotheosis, he is attended by divine personifictions &
crowned by winged victory
p. 54 workbooks
Answer the questions using Paul Artus book to
help you
7. Other figures gaze towards him
8. The barbarians are shown wearing heavy
clothing including pants, shaggy hair and caps
9. They help tell the narrative of the story by
breaking up the narrative into meaningful bits,
while at the same time continuing the flow of
the story
in lower Dacia, roughly made houses
Trajan’s  Starts
and boats. Army setting out (carrying
River god Danube (river Danube
Column supplies).
defined region of Dacia’s border) river god
depicted links back to hellenistic Greece e.g.
shaggy hair and beard.
Easy mix of human and imaginary figures.
Close attention to detail, designer of reliefs
drew from official records e.g some soldiers
have badge of their battalions
Trajan and soldiers are walking over a pontoon
(bridge over boats)
Troops attack in a testudo or
Tortoise formation, shields
locked above their heads
Legions of soldiers performing
military manouvers.
Dacians have shaggy hair, floppy
caps and beards tunic capes and
Capture of Dacian King
Perspectives are everywhere
(mixed up) different ground
lines, higher, lower, facing
different ways. High and low
relief>> life and vitality, action,
movement, variation.
Continuous narrative focussed
on Rome as a ‘military machine’
Continuity provided by friezes
which change in height from
bottom to top. Human figures
grow in size.
2500 human figures, 155
separate scenes wind 23 times
around the column.
Trajan can be identified by
being a little bigger than the
others, a low brow, heavy
fringe across forehead, pointed
nose, wide thin lips. He is the
only individual who is
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