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3 / History and Memory

Column of Trajan
Column of Trajan
Artist / Origin Roman artist(s)
Region: Europe
Date 113
Period: 1 CE - 500 CE
Material Marble
Medium: Sculpture
Dimensions H: 125 ft. (38.1 m.) (with base)
Location Trajan’s Forum, Rome, Italy
Credit Courtesy of Giraudon/ Bridgeman Art Library

expert perspective

David BernsteinProfessor of European and English History, Sarah Lawrence

Column of Trajan

» Roman artist(s)

expert perspective

David Bernstein David Bernstein Professor of European and English History, Sarah Lawrence

In the second century, the Emperor Trajan waged an epic campaign on the Danube frontier. And these deeds were commemorated in one of the most astonishing works of art from antiquity. It is a hundred-foot-high column that has a narrow strip of relief sculpture depicting the events, highlighting the role of the emperor. Almost certainly people in England and Normandy knew the Column of Trajan. It was much remarked upon by the many pilgrims who had gone to Rome. Perhaps its narrow strip narrative inspired the design and format of the Bayeux Tapestry.” 

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