Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy. It was built to remember Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. It was probably built by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is in Trajan's Forum, near the Quirinal Hill, north of the Roman Forum. It was completed in AD 113. It has a spiral bas relief, which shows the wars between the Romans and Dacians (101–102 and 105–106). Its design has inspired numerous victory columns, both ancient and modern.
The column is about 30 metres (98 ft) in height, 35 metres (125 ft) including its large pedestal. It is made from a series of 20 hollow Carrara marble pieces. Each one weighs about 32 tons, with a diameter of 3.7 metres (11 ft). The 190-metre (625 ft) frieze winds around the column 23 times. Inside the column, a spiral staircase of 185 steps gives access to a viewing platform at the top. The capital block of Trajan's Column weighs 53.3 tons, which had to be lifted to a height of c. 34 m.
Ancient coins show plans to put a statue of an eagle on top of the column. However it was built with a statue of Trajan. This statue disappeared in the Middle Ages. On December 4, 1587, the top was crowned by Pope Sixtus V with a bronze figure of St. Peter. When it was built the column was next to two libraries, which perhaps held the soldier-emperor's account of the Roman-Dacian Wars.
- Jones, Mark Wilson (1993), "One Hundred Feet and a Spiral Stair: The Problem of Designing Trajan's Column", Journal of Roman Archaeology 6: 23–38
- Lancaster, Lynne (1999), "Building Trajan's Column", American Journal of Archaeology (Archaeological Institute of America) 103 (3): 419–439, doi:10.2307/506969, JSTOR 506969
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