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. The Social History of Roman Art, Pg. 125) to them outside of their initial visual impact. One of such Roman monuments I will be focusing on in this paper is Trajan's Column in Trajan's forum complex located in Rome. The Column was erected as a result of military victory for the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan. However, its hidden agenda was most likely one of advertisement directed towards foreign travelers and traders of improving the Roman Empire's reputation and appeal to make it easier to further expand. Before the propaganda value of Trajan's Column can be fully appreciated, its location and surrounding structure's significance should be understood. The Column's location in the forum complex is along a horizontal axis presented below in Figure 1.
Figure 1 – Plan of Trajan's Forum Complex and Axis
the basilica. Trajan's Column itself is a “35-metre high column on a podium built between about AD 106 and 113 as part of the emperor Trajan's massive forum complex in the heart of Rome. or at the very least notice it. the Column's subtle message of Roman glory and appeal was sent into those foreigners in question. but rather the open space.The significance of an axis in architecture is that anything along an axis means that it is important. Therefore.” (Stewart. This means that whoever explored the forum complex would inevitably encounter Trajan's Column. The Forum of Trajan. with the Column itself between the Basilica Ulpia and the Temple of Trajan. the Column of Trajan must have been a popular monument to observe up close and in detail. Note from Figure 1 that all the entrances to the Temple of Trajan. Pg. However. The Social History of Roman Art. The Column's position along the axis itself is centered and demonstrates even further significance to the overall complex. The Forum of Trajan was place of business and trade. Peter. the Column's biggest impact was not to those who came to the Temple or Basilica. . As a result. The majority of those who came to Trajan's forum complex were most likely traders from outside of the Roman Empire and tourists. unlike the Basilica Ulpia and the Temple of Trajan. 117) Figure 2 down below depicts the massive size and height of Trajan's Column compared to its surrounding structures. The material used to build the Column was likely to be expensive marble reserved only for important Roman structures. and the Forum all line up along the same axis as Trajan's Column.
where the Column is located. 2 – Drawing of Trajan's Column in Forum Complex To the Romans. . Also note that wherever Trajan is depicted in the frieze. and the best place to do such propaganda would be in Rome. 389) Trajan's Column did just that through not only its sheer size and location. The frieze is a historical document that continuously spirals upwards to the top of the Column. Pg. The Histories. Their culture was centered around showing off their wealth and success to outside bodies. Spiraling along the Column is a continuous frieze depicting actual events and history of military victory and spoils of war during Trajan's rule. “Everything [built was] in order to gain a reputation in their country for valour. foreigners included. but also through the strong implications of the artwork on the Column itself.”(Polybius. their artwork from sculptures to monuments were meant to be seen by all eyes. there is no definite hierarchy scale between Trajan and the other miscellaneous figures around him as shown as the center figure in Figure 3.Fig.
and it compliments Trajan's sculpture on top of the Column quite nicely. equality is implied towards those who get adopted into the Roman Empire. Peter. The frieze is rather inviting despite the fact that it is depicting battle and violence. In fact. Trajan's Column's frieze does the opposite of that trend and appears to portray only the positive aspects of being under the Roman Empire. Pg. . However.Figure 3 – Detail of Frieze with Emperor Trajan Because there is not apparent hierarchic scale present on the frieze. The frieze of Trajan's Column truly is an “'invisible' work of art” (Stewart. The Social History of Roman Art. 3 seem to be building new structures. Common sense would say that those taken over are lower than the ones who did the taking over. This is the case because the artwork of the frieze cleverly weaves in a positive mood into the battles depicted. the frieze may be the embodiment of the people part of the Roman Empire and its prosperous future. Note the common builders in Fig. 125).
At first glance. the chance to observe the Column came many times. The translation of Trajan's Column would be that those under the rule of the Roman Empire will experience success and prosper.Trajan's sculpture sits on top of the Column and is visible to the entire forum complex. The Roman's were especially skilled at getting people to sympathize or lean towards them. Note that the frieze is physically underneath the sculpture as well. In The Histories. that the foreigners operating in Trajan's Forum were unlikely to be there only once. Peter. Recall. . 389. Excerpt 53). the sculpture is simply there to commemorate Trajan on his success in war. but for foreigners. “the multitude and not only those who had a part in these achievements. Based on the previous observation of the frieze. Polybius states for the sake of Roman valor. when the facts are recalled to their minds and brought before their eyes. but those who had none. Pg. the more likely they were to receive the underlying message the monument was trying to send into them. As the majority of them would have been traders. By repeatedly seeing the Column. Though not visually obvious. This was not only true for a Roman person to another Roman. are moved”(Stewart. by reading deeper into its hidden meaning by taking into account the frieze. Trajan's Column played a major part in the expansion of the Roman Empire by essentially advertising the Empire's appealing factors to the foreign travelers who came and went from Rome. the sculpture may symbolize the Roman Empire. the sculpture may stand for more than just the emperor. The Social History of Roman Art. However.
p.Bibliography Reading Sources Stewart. The Social History of Roman Art. Figure 2: University of California. Web. Peter.proxy. 2008.edu/library/welcome. Cambridge. Page 118. Cambridge. "ROMAN STYLE.html>. <http://library. 2008.library.artstor. 26 July 2012. Web.artstor. ed. ." N.d. Peter.edu/faculty/jswedene/FLEM_CH_4_NOTES_ROMAN_LECTURE_TOTAL.org.org. UK: Cambridge University Press. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.ucsb. <https://www. 1962.lssu. n.html>. H. Art Department.. Polybius.d. By E. n. 26 July 2012. The Histories (excerpt: VI." Library. Warmington. The Social History of Roman Art. Santa Barbara.53-54). Figure 3: Stewart. UK: Cambridge University Press. "Off-Campus Access: Login. Images Figure 1: Lake Superior State University. 3:389-93.