The Detailed Reliefs of Trajan's Column

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

Trajan's Column, one of the works featured in the class meeting dedicated to Ancient Rome in History of Art at Mount Angel Seminary, commemorates victory of the emperor Trajan over the Dacians.  Finished in 113 A.D., it built on the Hellenistic practice of large columns as commemorative monuments.

The Romans added a long narrative frieze to the Hellenistic practice.  The column is made of marble drums, and the exterior shaft is covered with 625 feet of sculpture with approximately 2500 figures.  The original statue of Trajan at the top of the column was replaced by a statue of St. Peter.

Trajan's Column and the ruins of Basilica Ulpia in Trajan's Forum - Credit: Public Domain

These castings of Trajan's Column are from the cast courts of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:

Public Domain

Public Domain

Public Domain

Public Domain

Public Domain

Public Domain

Information for this post has been drawn from the fourth edition of Art Across Time (public library) by Laurie Schneider Adams.