Trajan's Column

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Trajan’s Column


a monument in Rome erected by the Emperor Trajan between 111 and 114. The column was designed by the Greek architect Apollodorus of Damascus. The marble structure is 38 m high and comprises a cubic pedestal, a base, and a shaft with a capital of the Roman Doric order. It was originally crowned by a bronze eagle, which was later replaced by a statue of Trajan; since 1587 a statue of St. Peter has stood at the top of the column. Trajan’s Column is famous for its reliefs, which wind around the shaft in a spiral. The reliefs have an overall length of 200 m and are 1 m wide. Masterfully executed and containing more than 2,500 figures, they depict Trajan’s Dacian campaigns and provide a valuable source of information on the life and military technology of the Romans and Dacians.


Kruglikova, I. T. Dakiia v epokhu rimskoi okkupatsii. Moscow, 1955.
Blavatskii, V. D. Arkhitektura drevnego Rima. Moscow, 1938.
Cichorius, C. Die Reliefs der Traianssäule, vols. 1–2. Berlin, 1896–1900.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nero, amongst a heap of horrible vices, still retained an uncommon passion for building; but luxury and dissoluteness had a greater share in it, than true magnificence.--Apollodorus excelled in Architecture, under the emperor Trajan, by which he merited the favour of that prince; and it was he who raised the famous Trajan column, subsisting to this day.
The ancient writers represent the Tyrians as the first among whom architecture was carried to any considerable pitch, which they afterwards communicated to the Egyptians; these to the Grecians; and these again to the Romans; from whom, after several vicissitudes of fortune, in the declension of the arts, and the ravages of the Visigoths, it has at last descended to the politer part of European nations, in all that beauty to which it arrived under the care of Vitruvius, in the reign of the emperor Augustus; and all that delicacy it received from the labours of Apollodorus, who erected the remarkable Trajan column, subsisting to this day: so that, by the improvement of the moderns, architecture is brought into the form of a mathematical art.
During the informative stages, while the drawings were evolving into graphic equivalents of first thoughts, I adhered closely to the ideal proportions of the capital letters inscribed on the Trajan column in Rome, the definitive model of our Western alphabet.