Standing nearly 100 feet tall at the end of what remains of Trajan’s Forum is the column in honor of the same emperor – Trajan’s Column. Imagine wrapping a 656 foot long picture around a very tall tree – that is what you basically have with this column. It is an artistic marvel as the picture is really a sculpted marble frieze that winds up the entire length of the column.
The frieze contains more than 2,500 people intricately carved in the relief along with horses, buildings, trees, and other images. It commemorates Trajan’s military victories during the Dacian campaigns in the early 2nd century. This frieze took about four years to make.
As you look at the column, you can see holes in it – that is because there are actually steps the wind up through the middle of the column, although it is closed to visitors. At the very top of the column is a statue of St. Peter, who replaced Trajan in 1588.
You can view the column for free near Trajan’s Forum – just across the street from the Victor Emmanuel Monument and near the Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill. While you can’t get really close to the column, you are close enough to see some of the details of the frieze which makes this column such a fascinating piece of Roman art.
The Roman emperor Trajan was an interesting fellow. Born into non patrician family in Hispania Baetica, modern day Andalucia (Spain.)
Under Trajan, who was emperor from 98-117 AD, the Roman Empire grew to its largest size. He conquered the Nabiteans, the culture that built Petra in Jordan. He brought great riches to Rome from his conquest of the Dacians (present day Romania) and their gold mines.
He is thought of as one of the Good Emperors of Rome. He was called a virtous pagan as he lived before the Christian era.
Trajan's Column, in the center of Trajan's Forum celebrates Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. Erected about 113 AD the column is 30 meters high (98 ft) and 3.7 meters wide (11 ft)
The most impressive thing about this is not so much its mere size and presence, really, the reliefs on the column itself are quite amazing (and amazingly well kept.) Trajan's ashes were buried at the foot of the column after his death in 117.
Sadly Mussolini buit a road - the Via Del Fori - down the middle of the forum. As well as covering over various ancient remains, this split the forum in two. If you walk along the Via Del Fori from the colloseum the imperial forums are on the right.
From the spirals of the Trajan column we can follow all the details of the invasion of Dacia (presently Romania) but we are left ignorant of the reason of this war: money!
Rome was importing everything, had important military expenses and lacked precious metals for coinage. In modern terms we would say that Rome suffered an important trade deficit what lead to a currency drainage. Emperor Nero decreased the amount of silver in the "denarius" and the gold in the "aureus" coins. More coins were produced but the debasement of the coinage produced a search and hoarding of the good "money" what increased the monetary problems of Rome.
Present travellers from overseas complaining about the low value of their money will understand from this that money devaluation existed already two thousand years ago. Nothing new under the sun.
As emperor Trajan was not only a good military commander but also a good administrator he aimed at restoring the financial and monetary situation of Rome.
Invading the rich Dacia where king Decebale showed hostility to Rome seemed a good opportunity.
Trajan came back to Rome in 106 A.D. with war booty of 165 tons of gold and 300 tons of silver! That solved the monetary problems of Rome for some years. Not surprising that Trajan was called "Optimus Princeps" best of princes.
Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column, which commemorates Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars.
It was probably constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan's Forum, built near the Quirinal Hill, north of the Roman Forum. Completed in AD 113, the freestanding column is most famous for its spiral bas relief, that artistically describes the epic wars between the Romans and Dacians (101–102 and 105–106).
Its design has inspired numerous victory columns, both ancient and modern.
Tourists who visited the Capitoline Hill or the Vittoriano monument have all seen that imposing semicircular construction in red brown bricks on the other side of the Via dei Fori Imperiale and on the right of the well known Trajan column. Not so many have been inside because restoration works went on for several years and the Museum of the Markets of Trajan opened only in 2007.
I was very pleased to visit for the first time the Trajan markets, built in 100 - 110 AD by Apollodorus of Damascus an architect who worked for Emperor Trajan. These market buildings have been erected on six levels on the foothills of the Quirinal hill.
This complex shows an aspect of the organisation of the antique Rome which is quite different from that shown by the Temples, Coliseum and other grandiose monuments.
With the Mercati di Traiano we enter an administrative and logistic centre. The concept of logistics is much more adapted to the function of these constructions than the idea of a "shopping centre". The architect succeeded to give a monumental aspect to this functional building.
The upper levels were used for offices while the lower part, in front of Trajan's Forum, had shops selling various products. In the middle ages houses, still existing, were built on top of the Trajan market.
Well preserved and spectacular is the Via Biberatica with its antique pavement.
The visit is pleasant because large balconies offer beautiful views on the markets and on the various Fori Imperiali as well as the Vittoriano monument.
The entrance is by the Museum on Via IV Novembre n° 94.
Open Tuesday - Sunday 9 - 19 h. Tickets office closes 1 h before.
Closed: Monday, 25/12, 1/01 and 1/05.
Price inclusive museum (2012) : ordinary 11 €, reduced 9 €.
The first period of the Republic dates from 510 to 87 B.C., from expulsion of Tarquinius to the Dictatorship of Sulla, while the second is 87 to 30 B.C., from Sulla to Augustus. The important years and events are as following:
- 496, the Latins and the Tarquins declared war against the Republic but were defeated at Lake Regillus,
- 477 to 396, wars with Veii and Etruscans. Veii was taken by Camillus after 10 years siege,
- 390, the Gauls led by Brennus won a remarkable victory over Rome after which they sacked and plundered the city. They eventually returned to their own land and Rome was gradually rebuilt, from 343 to 290,
- 264 to 146, the Punic Wars which culminated in the destruction of Carthage enabling Rome to become the leading naval power in the Mediterranean,
- 146, the conquest of Greece,
- 60 to 53, the first Triumvirate by Caesar, Pompey and Crassus,
- 58, Caesar's campaigns in Gaul and Britain,
- 48, Pompey was defeated at Pharsalus, while Caesar assasinated during a Senate Meeting,
- 43, the Second Triumvirate by Octavian, Anthony and Lepidus,
- 31, Octavian (future Emperor called Augustus) defeated Anthony and Cleopatra remaining the sole ruler of Rome.
The Emperor M. Ulpius Trajan was born in Italica, a place in todays Spain. He is best known for the expansion of the Empire to the east, beyond Dacia (Rumenia today). His oponent was the Dacian Prince Decebalus, a true military genius who imposed an ignominious peace upon the Roman emperor Domitian.
In 101 A.D. Trajan took the Dacian capital by force and and imposed extremely hard conditions which Decebalus didn't want to endure. Four years later there was a new battle and Dacians fought desperately, but their army was destroyed. The heroic prince committed suicide while Trajan returned to Rome laden with treasure.
In honour of the splendid victory Trajan decided to built a Forum that would surpass all other city squares in splendor and scale. Trajan entrusted the project to the great architect Apollodorus of Damascus. Apollodorus designed splendid square, named after the Emperor, which soon became the most admired place in the city.
The Column, which symbolizing the victory over Dacians, after 19 centuries was returned to its original majesty and splendor by careful restoration. The ashes of the emperor were once set into the base of the column and his statue stood on top. The column consists of 19 blocks of marble and spiral staircase which leads to the top. The band of figures spiral around the column, documenting the arms, art and costumes of the Romans and Dacians.
This medieval tower 50 m high, at the extremity of the Quirinal hill, just behind the Mercati Traiano is one of the remarkable landmarks of Rome.
The tower with a base of 10,50 x 9,50 m was initially built entirely using the tufelli technique between 1200 and 1250 under Pope Innocent III of the Conti family. At a later date, between 1250 and 1280, it was faced in the bricks still visible today. The tower has an inclination to the North-East of 1,36°. (That explains the problems with my photos; I thought it was the Frascati I had been drinking at noon!). Calculations made during the restoration works in the nineties predict that the inclination will continue with 1° over the next 600 years. So no panic.
The Torre delle Milizie was the main building of a castle erected in the upper part of the Trajan Markets known at the end of the 13th c. as the "Castello delle Milizie" There was a third floor on the tower but this was destroyed by the earthquake of 1348.
The tower belonged to the family Annibaldi and at one time to Pope Bonifacio VIII Caetani. Under the Caetani the tower was reinforced and became one of the strongest fortresses of Rome and could be compared with Castel St. Angelo.
In the 15th c. the tower returned to the Conti family and became part of the Covent of St. Catharine which was demolished in the begin of the 20th c. and the tower became a national monument.
By the garden at the back of the Trajan Market museum one can come at the feet of the tower but the inside visit is not possible.
It has been said that this was the tower from where Nero looked at the terrible fire of Rome in 64 BC. but this was shown to be wrong. The tower is from the Middle Ages.
Italy knows how to put on a show - spectacular exhibits are always here - and showcased with typical Italian creativity. If you have not been to Rome in a couple of years, you are in for a grand surprise! Opened in Autumn 2007, Trajan's Market now includes a Museum situated in the Great Hall and Central Block of the Mercati di Traiano - the Great Hemicycle section of his Forum. Rome does, indeed, know how to put on a show for us - they understand lighting, display, and give us every archetectural advantage. Outdoor walkways and indoor windows provide extraordinary views.
Dedicated to ancient architecture, the museum is the first of its kind. Shown here are displays of original fragments found in the Forums. You can view fragments also as shelved by our archeologists and placed in the stalls once used by ancient vendors.
From 2005-2007, the site has been the subject of cutting edge structural and protective restoration. The Museo dei Fori Imperiali is topographically and concepturally linked to the greater urban system of the Imperial Forums - Ceasar (46 B.C.), Augustus (2 B.C.), Templum Pacis (75 A.D.), Nerva (97 A.D.) and Trajan (112 and 113 A.D.).
You will start your tour in the Great Hall with an intro to the Forum area and presentation of each Forum based on the most important finds discovered within it. In the Central Block are pieces from Augustus' Forum, which was the model forum used in the Roman Provinces.
Built at the same time as Trajan's Forum, the monumental complex dominated by Mercati di Traiano (rediscovered from 1926-1934), was a multi-functional public work with administrative functions for the Forum. Although rebuilt and transformed over time, it was originally composed of units on six different levels which run in a Great Hemicycle along the base of the Quirinal Hill side. Detailed descriptions serve us very well along with the audio devices as we stroll through these impressive ancient ruins
A travelogue is in progress with detail on many items of particular interest.
Open: Tues - Sun 9am to 7pm - closed on Monday
Dec 24 & Dec 31 - 9am to 2 pm -- Closed Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25
Tickets: Full price 6,50 Euro - reduced 4,50 Euro
FREE to Italians & Citizens of EC under 18 & over 65
Albergo Del Senato Rome
5 Reviews and 1440 Opinions The Pantheon is my favorite building in Rome and might be my favorite building in the world. The...
Campo De' Fiori Rome
5 Reviews and 894 Opinions It has been completely renovated but still with a very traditional elegant decor. I am not sure if...
Hotel Lancelot Rome
5 Reviews and 793 Opinions This Christmas, for the first time ever, we were away for the holidays. The family arrived at...
see all Rome member meetings