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Statuette of Trajan

Statuette of Trajan



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Trajan’s Column is a massive victory column located in the historical heart of the city of Rome. It’s situated on Trajan’s Forum, a large public space of ancient Rome constructed by Emperor Trajan who ruled over the empire from 98 to 117 A.D.

The ruins of this forum including the column are located just north of the most famous ancient Roman marketplace, the “Forum Romanum” or “Roman Forum.”

On the opposite end of the forum, there’s also “Trajan’s Market,” the ancient shopping mall that was also constructed during his reign and which has been preserved remarkably well. Trajan’s Forum today / Pixabay


Bucharest mayor inaugurates 'controversial' naked Trajan emperor and Dacian wolf bronze statue

The statue of a naked Emperor Trajan carrying the Dacian wolf, that has been subject of dispute beween the Bucharest City Hall and the National Museum of History, on whose stairs the statue was placed in fall last year, was recently officialy inaugurated. The sculpture had been under plastic wrap since November last year.

Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu recently varnished the statue, which already raised questions concerning the fine line between art and obscenity (in picture, above).

Previously, the director of the National Museum of History Ernest Oberländer Târnoveanu said the statue will not be there for too long, even though it was legally placed there, with all the required approvals. But he said the statue is already controversial, as many believe it to be hideous or ridiculous.

The statue represents emperor Trajan with a she-wolf, which reminds of the Dacian flag, thus representing the myth of the Roman – Dacian genesis creating the Romanian people. Trajan is generally considered a 'good' Roman emperor, he crops up as one of the 'virtuous pagans' in Christian tradition, There's even an old story that Pope Gregory the Great briefly resurrected him and performed a quick baptism, allowing the venerable Trajan to promptly 're-die' and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The statue was created by sculptor Vasile Gorduz and is part of a series of three identical pieces created by the artist. The other two are in Seville, the nearest modern city to Trajan's birthplace, and in Rome. The statue in Romania would complete series by commemorating Trajan's victory over the Dacians and the inclusion of the area that is roughly now modern Romania in the Roman Empire.

Others expressed different opinions. “It is a modern work, from one of our best sculptors, of an impeccable professionalism. […] I think these people would refuse even Brancusi (famous Romanian sculptor – e.n) these days,” said Mihai Oroveanu, director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and president of the Public Monuments Commission, quoted by Mediafax.

Vasile Gorduz, who died in 2008, was a Romanian sculptor and sculpture teacher at the Art University in Bucharest.


Trajan&rsquos Column in Paris

A partial replica in the moat.

This partial replica in the moat is part of what was a complete replica of Trajan&rsquos Column made for Napoleon III. Work to mould the began in the spring of 1862 and the subsequent casts made from these moulds were originally placed on display in the Louvre. Napoleon III was quite the scholar, and had a special interest in archaeology, particularly Roman history he was in fact the founder of the National Archaeology Museum. One of the Emperor&rsquos favourite subjects is said to have been the Roman military and weapons, and the column at the time was considered to be the principle source of information on Roman weaponry. But also a political motive for wanting the replica in Paris should not be dismissed. After all, the French Emperor wrote a book on the history of Julius Caesar in which he likened himself, and his uncle Napoleon I, to the Roman leader.

Archaeology Travel Tips for Paris:

&bull Further details and information for visiting the Musée des Antiquités Nationales.
&bull The Paris Archaeology Guide has details of many other must see sites in Paris.


Details and Dimensions

The enormous square on which the forum was erected measured more than 600 by 360 feet. Two sides of the square carried semicircular plinths known as exedrae. The piazza was also lined with porticos. On the south, an arch showing Trajan in triumph in a chariot drawn by six horses marks the entrance to the forum. Opposite is the Basilica Ulpia, where another equestrian statue of the emperor was placed. This area was lined with white marble cobblestones.

The sides of the piazza were home to markets, which were housed in the area of the exedrae. Close to the Basilica on its northern flank was another square. Here a temple in Trajan’s honor was built. On either side, to the north of the Basilica Ulpia, were a pair of libraries. As was the usual custom in imperial Rome, one of these was home to Greek documents and the other to those written in Latin. Trajan’s Column, a 100 foot tall triumphal sculpture, stood between them.


Bucharest City Hall and History Museum dispute 'controversial' Emperor Trajan statue

The Bucharest City Hall and the National Museum of History are disputing the location for a statue of Roman emperor Trajan, which was set up on the stairs of the National Museum of History. The sculpture, showing a nakes emperor Trajan and the Dacian wolf, has been under plastic wrap since November last year but was not yet varnished.

LATER UPDATE (May 1) - The statue was recently varnished by Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu (in picture, above).

The director of the National Museum of History Ernest Oberländer Târnoveanu said the statue will not be there for too long, even though it was legally placed there, with all the required approvals. But he said the statue is already controversial, as many believe it to be hideous or ridiculous.

The statue represents emperor Trajan with a she-wolf, which reminds of the Dacian flag, thus representing the myth of the Roman – Dacian genesis creating the Romanian people. Trajan is generally considered a 'good' Roman emperor, he crops up as one of the 'virtuous pagans' in Christian tradition, There's even an old story that Pope Gregory the Great briefly resurrected him and performed a quick baptism, allowing the venerable Trajan to promptly 're-die' and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The statue was created by sculptor Vasile Gorduz and is part of a series of three identical pieces created by the artist. The other two are in Seville, the nearest modern city to Trajan's birthplace, and in Rome. The statue in Romania would complete series by commemorating Trajan's victory over the Dacians and the inclusion of the area that is roughly now modern Romania in the Roman Empire.

Others expressed different opinions. “It is a modern work, from one of our best sculptors, of an impeccable professionalism. […] I think these people would refuse even Brancusi (famous Romanian sculptor – e.n) these days,” said Mihai Oroveanu, director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and president of the Public Monuments Commission, quoted by Mediafax.

Vasile Gorduz, who died in 2008, was a Romanian sculptor and sculpture teacher at the Art University in Bucharest.


Forum Trajani

From Samuel Ball Platner, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, rev. Thomas Ashby. Oxford: 1929, p. 237-245.

The last, largest and most magnificent of the imperial fora, built by Trajan with the assistance of the Greek architect Apollodorus, and dedicated, at least in part, about 113 A.D. (Cass. Dio LXVIII.16.3 LXIX.4.1 Vict. Caes. 13.5: adhuc Romae a Domitiano coepta forum atque alia multa plusquam magnifice coluit ornavitque, which may perhaps mean that the work was planned and possibly begun by Domitian see S. Sculpt. 149 SScR 135 NS 1907, 415 CQ 1908, 144). When completed by Trajan it consisted of the forum proper, the basilica Ulpia, the column of Trajan, and the bibliotheca, and extended from the forum Augustum north-west between the Capitoline and Quirinal hills, with the same orientation as the other imperial fora. Unlike these it did not contain a central temple of which it formed a virtual porticus (for the possible significance of the sacellum Libertatis, see below). After Trajan's death, however, Hadrian erected the great temple of Trajan on the north-west side of the bibliotheca (Hist. Aug. Hadr. 19.9 CIL VI.966, 31215), which thenceforth formed an integral part of the forum whole, and made it conform somewhat to the imperial type. Although the walls of the forum of Trajan and the forum of Augustus seem to have been separated by a short distance, they must have been connected by a wide avenue at least, and thus Caesar's plan of connecting the forum Romanum and the campus Martius (Cic. ad Att. IV.16.8) was finally carried out.


Column of Antoninus Pius

The Column of Antonius Pius (Colonna di Antonino Pio) was built in 161 A.D. Initially, a column of red granite was placed on a pedestal, decorated with carvings, and topped with a statue of Antonius Pius. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the column was for a long time in an abandoned state. The foundation of the memorial went underground part of the column was irretrievably lost. In the 17th century, the column was removed from the under layer of earth, thanks to the efforts of Carlo Fontana. The pedestal survived well, it was restored and preserved for descendants. But the surviving part of the granite column was later used for facing the obelisk in the area of ​​Montecitorio (Palazzo Montecitorio).

Today, you can admire the memorial of Antonius Pius during a visit to the Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani). Only the surviving pedestal is displayed, depicting the emperor rising to heaven. Among other reliefs, allegorical images of Rome and the Mars field are distinguished.


The construction of the temple

The temple was constructed on a high podium covered with marble, in the middle of the site on the top of the acropolis hill. The large space necessary for the erection of this temple was obtained by levelling the rock in the side of the mountain. Because the natural topography of the acropolis limited construction, a platform supported by arches was built to support the temple and its courtyard. The steep slope on its side was traversed by a giant substructure.

On the slope of the rock Roman engineers built strong parallel supporting walls which were covered with barrel vaults. This method helped to economize on material and the construction was only limited by the height of the wall. The substructure towards the valley finishes with an ashlar stone wall 23 meters high. The upper part of this wall, with a large arch in front of each vault, only constitutes the facing of the construction. In the lower part, however, the vaults were filled to form a passageway. In the western area, where the ground is lower, two rows of vaults were built one behind the other.

In late antiquity the decay of mining led to a decrease in available metals. Its increasing value inspired the plundering of dowels and clamps from ancient buildings. The iron joining elements from the Trajaneum's substructure were removed and the supporting walls of the terrace were cut through in order to get to the metal parts.

In Byzantine period the temple wall facing the valley was included in the acropolis fortifications and restored several times. Some parts of the substructure were used as cisterns and warehouses. The low-lying openings were closed with slabs of stone, the walls were plastered with mortar and the crowns of the vaults were broken through to enable scooping out the water. Later, until the end of the 19th century, the marble components of the building served as material for lime burning.

The rectangular podium is 68 meters long and 58 meters wide. Because the temple stands on the highest point of the acropolis hill, it is supposed that it was erected in the place where other, Hellenistic building had earlier stood.

In accordance with Greek traditions the main part of the building was free-standing. On three sides it was surrounded by stoas with monolithic columns and a special form of Corinthian capitals. The stoa on the back of the temple is higher than others by 5 meters, because of the terrain unevenness.

The temple is of a peripteros type i.e. it was surrounded by a portico with a single colonnade. There were 9 columns on both longer sides and 6 columns on shorter sides of the structure.

Next to the temple there is an altar where the statues of the emperors once stood. In Revelation 13:15 this was described as the image of the beast. Near the entrance to the Trajaneum two inscriptions were found. The first one is from the city of Thyatira and it congratulates Pergamon for becoming neokoros for two imperial cult temples. This title granted by the Roman Senate and the Emperor under the Empire to certain cities which had built temples to the Emperor or had established cults of members of the Imperial family. There were approximately 40 cities holding the neocorate, most of them concentrated in the province of Asia, but also in neighbouring provinces. The second inscription dates from the time of Trajan and it declares him the lord of the land and the sea.


Ephesus, Fountain of Trajan

Ephesus (modern Selçuk): ancient Greek town in western Turkey, one of the largest and best excavated cities of the ancient world.

Fountain of Trajan

According to the building inscription on the lower storey of this monument, the nymphaeum or fountain of Trajan was built in the year 114 CE by the asiarch (chairman of a priestly college) Tiberius Claudius Aristion, who dedicated it to the emperor. Standing along the Street of the Curetes, it was the end of the main aqueduct of Ephesus.

Resembling the stage of a theater, this fountain surrounded a basin with a length of almost 12 meters and a width of 5½ meters. The "stage wall" was 9½ meters high. In the center was a high, temple-shaped apse in which the statue of the emperor was placed. To judge from the foot that has survived, it must have been almost four meters tall. In the other niches were other statues, mainly gods (including the deified emperor Nerva) and mythical figures like Androclus, the legendary founder of Ephesus.

The building was destroyed by an earthquake - probably the one that shattered the region in 362 CE - but there were repairs.


Watch the video: Column of Trajan (August 2022).