Roman Military Standards: Trajan’s Column

Roman military standards (signa) are depicted regularly on the Column with careful attention to detail.


The numbers below each of the images refer to the Cichorius Scene numbers.  This set shows standards as seen in the episodes connected with the First Dacian War.

Scene 8/VIII: three signa with horizontal wreaths (coronae), town/fortress walls with gates, eagles and portraits (imagines) at the center of circular frames (some of which are shields).

Scene 33/XXXIII: two signa with horizontal and vertical coronae, portraits (imagines) in circular frames, topped by rectangular shields.

Scene 51/LI: two signa similar in appearance to Scene VIII, including the walls and gates.

Scene 77/LXXVII: libation dishes (paterae) placed vertically, topped by open hands (manus) framed by wreaths.  The appearance of the hand “is now generally taken to be a relic of the days when the ‘maniple’ was the tactical subdivision of a legion, though this had long been replaced by a system of cohorts and centuries, each century being about half the strength of the old ‘maniple’ (Lepper/Frere 1988: 98). Among the standards, second from the left, is an eagle (aquila) standard.

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