Monday, January 20, 2014

Trajan's Column and Forum, Rome

Trajan's Column is an impressive monument by the sheer fact of its survival. Emperor Trajan built the column to commemorate his victories in Dacia (modern Romania). The column was completed in AD 113 at a height of 131 feet.

Trajan Column and church

The column is decorated with many details from the Dacian campaigns. Naturally, the original figure at the top was Trajan himself. In 1587 he was replaced with a statue of Saint Peter.

Column decorations

New head man in Rome

As for the survival of the column, Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) was moved by a depiction on the column of Trajan helping a woman who lost her son in the campaign. The pope begged for Trajan's soul to be released from Hell. Legend goes that God did release Trajan and then appeared to Gregory to ask him not to pray for any more pagan souls. The legend continues that Trajan's remains were exhumed from the base of the column. His skull and tongue were intact and told of his release from Hell. The land around the column was assumed to be sacred and the column was spared in future hostilities.

The road leading up to the column goes along Trajan's Forum, the remains of which are barely excavated.

Trajan's Forum

The road also includes statues of many Roman emperors.

Emperor Nerva (yeah, I never heard of him either!)

Emperor Augustus

Emperor Trajan

Emperor Iacobus

The next day we went by and saw a troop of jugglers performing. They tossed knives to each other while a volunteer stood in the middle. Then they revealed their true talent with some shiny orbs!

Knife tossing

Shiny orbs!

A tricky balancing act!

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