General Topography and Setting

 

Plan of the northwest side of the Forum of Trajan. The Column stood in a courtyard placed between flanking libraries. The covered hall of the double-apsed Basilica Ulpia bordered both libraries and the Column.
Plan of the northwest side of the Forum of Trajan. The Column stood in a courtyard placed between flanking libraries. The covered hall of the double-apsed Basilica Ulpia bordered both libraries and the Column. Plan by Ulrich after MacDonald (1982), Meneghini (2007), and Packer (2001)

 

DSC00867 copy_thumbThe Column of Trajan is located at the far northwestern end of a set of open forum spaces known today as the “Imperial Fora.”  The plan above shows the location of the Column in a colonnaded courtyard placed between flanking libraries and the immense Basilica Ulpia.  The Column is also visible in the model below behind the Basilica Ulpia of the Forum of Trajan (the forum itself dominates the view in the right center of this image).  Trajan’s forum complex was started in 107 CE, the same year he celebrated his second victory over the Dacians.  Most of the work was finished by 112; the Column itself was dedicated a year later, in 113.

The Forum of Trajan in its urban setting (banner)

This cropped image above is part of the famous model of Rome in the Museo della Civiltà Romana, located at “EUR” (Esposizione Universale di Roma) in Rome.  The model itself was started in 1933 under the direction of Italo Gismondi (1887-1974), who drew upon the topographical study of Rome (published as the Forma Urbis) made by the famed Rodolfo Lanciani (1845-1929).  The model, built at 1:250 scale to represent Rome at the time of Constantine, was dedicated when the museum was inaugurated in 1955, although work on the “Plastico” continued for many years afterwards.  Over the last four decades many specific features of Rome are now interpreted differently, based upon new archaeological discoveries.  In the view shown here, for example, the existence of the large temple seen to the left of the Column, represented as the shrine built to the deified Trajan, may not in fact have stood in this position.  Instead, a monumental gateway may have granted access to the court holding the Column, as depicted in the images included in the gallery below.

Models and General Views of the Column of Trajan:

generalviews

Models and views of the Column in its urban setting.

[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_6468-trajan-2016-ig.jpg]2800View of the Column of Trajan
View of the Column of Trajan from the south, in the vicinity of the Forum of Julius Caesar.<br />RBU2016.6468
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_model-of-trajans-forum_0168_web.jpg]55390Forum (and Column) of Trajan from the West
A model of the Forum of Trajan in the Museo della Civiltà Romana, EUR, Rome.In the traditional reconstruction envisioned by Gismondi, the forum was bordered on the northwest side by the imposing Temple of the Deified Trajan, which faced the Column of Trajan (visible behind the Basilica Ulpia). <br />Ref: RBU2012.0168
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_view-t-column_3989-web-small.jpg]2160Trajan's Column, Rome (View from the Janiculum Hill)
View of the Column of Trajan (center) from the Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo), Rome. The telephoto view compresses the surrounding topographical features.<br />RBU2013.3989
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_img_0142_adj_web.jpg]47870Forum of Trajan with Basilica Ulpia and the Column from the East
A new model in the Museo della Civiltà Romana restores Trajan's forum based on the most recent excavations in central Rome that have taken place since the year 2000. In the foreground, the open plaza of the forum dominates this view. The Basilica Ulpia, with its two exedrae, closes off the northwest side of the forum complex. Behind the Basilica the top of the Column of Trajan is visible.<br />Ref: RBU2012.0142
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_model-of-trajans-column-2012_web.jpg]45281Forum of Trajan: Libraries and Column
A new model in the Museo della Civiltà Romana shows the north entrance to the Forum of Trajan. A monumental octastyle porch opens on to a small courtyard which surrounds the Column of Trajan. Multi-storied libraries face the Column on the northeast (foreground) and southwest sides. In the background the clerestory level of the Basilica Ulpia is visible.<br />Ref: RBU2012.EUR2
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_trajans_column_view239_rbu1997_web.jpg]42510Trajan's Column from the West 1997.
The visibility of Trajan's Column from distances today would have been impossible in antiquity when the Column was enclosed in a courtyard situated on the northwest side of the Basilica Ulpia.<br />Ref: RBU1997.239
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_trajans_column_view245_rbu1974_web.jpg]40710Trajan's Column and Forum in 1974
View from the East of the Column of Trajan and the open area of the Forum of Trajan as it appeared in 1974.<br />Ref: RBU1974.245
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_6506-column-of-trajan.jpg]1830Column of Trajan from the Markets of Trajan.
View towards the Basilica Ulpia and the Column of Trajan from the Markets of Trajan.<br />RBU6506.2016
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_trajans_column_view238_rbu1974_web.jpg]40650View of Trajan's Column 1974
View from the southeast.<br />Ref: RBU1974.238
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_1030col1_ppt.jpg]40602Trajan's Column
View of Trajan's Column in 2003 with partial scaffolding. Dedicated 113 CE.<br />Ref: RBU2003.1030
[img src=http://www.trajans-column.org/wp-content/flagallery/generalviews/thumbs/thumbs_img_3516-web.jpg]28220Saint Peter on Trajan's Column
Saint Peter gazes towards the Vatican from the top of Trajan's Column. View from the Capitoline Hill.RBU2013.3516

National Geographic (with Art director Fernando Gomez and Animator Hans Weise) has produced an interesting stop-action animation that shows the scheme for lifting the marble drums of the Column into place.

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