Ancient Rome Trajan’s column

Trajan’s Column is a 30-meter-tall column or stone post.  It was built in 113 AD, for Trajan, who had been the ruler of Rome.

The Column shows pictures of the wars that Trajan had with the Dacian people, which would be people from Romania now.  Trajan had two big fights with the Dacian’s, but it was the second war that he won.

Who was Trajan?

Trajan was a Roman soldier, who was very liked and very good at helping the Roman army to win battles.

Because he was a good soldier and was liked by the Senate, the old ruler of Rome chose Titus to take over.  Titus was crowned Emperor or ruler of Rome in 98 AD.

When he was a soldier, Titus helped the Roman Empire to grow to its biggest size.  As the ruler, he helped to make sure that there were many years of peace with the other countries.

The Column

Trajan’s Column is about 30 meters tall.  When it was first built, it had a bronze statue of Trajan at the top of it.

There were also two great big libraries near the bottom of it for books and paper.  The area around the column was called Trajan’s forum.

Over time, the libraries were taken down, and the column was left to stand on its own.  At some point during the middle ages, the statue of Trajan was taken down.

In 1587, the Pope had a statue of St. Peter put on the top of the column.  The current figure is still there today.

The inside of the column is hollow and has a spiral or round staircase in it.  There are about 185 steps on the staircase.  The stairs go all the way to the top of the column to a platform outside.

At the very bottom of Trajan’s column is a solid base, and it is believed that Trajan’s ashes were put inside this part after he died.

Column Art

On the outside of the column, there are lots of pictures.  These pictures are split up into two parts.  The bottom ones show Trajan and his first war against the Dacian’s.

Trajan’s second war against the Dacian people can be seen in the top images.  There are also pictures of both men and women.

The picture of Trajan can be seen about 58 times on the outside of the column.

His image can be seen many times because the whole pictures are there to tell the story of the wars.  It’s like a Roman cartoon but made in stone.

Building the Column

The column is made from a very heavy and long-lasting stone called marble.  Even in Roman times, it would have been hard to build such a big building.

The Romans often used a Treadwheel, which was an ancient crane to build large buildings.  But, the treadwheel could only reach heights of 15 meters, and the column of Trajan is 30 meters!  To build this column, they would need something bigger.

Archaeologists or history detectives have found stories and remains that new tools were made to build the column.

They believe that the Roman’s made a big tower that was used to lift the marble stones great heights to make the column.   This building tower would have used lots of ropes pull the marble stops up and in to place.

Trajan’s Column Facts

  • At first, a statue of an Eagle was going to put on the top of the column.  But, this was later changed to a bronze statue of Trajan.
  • No-one knows what happened to the statue of Trajan.
  • Most of Rome can be seen from the viewing platform at the top of the column
  • It has a spiral staircase inside the column
  • Trajan’s ashes were put in the bottom of the column after he died
  • Each of the marble stone blocks weighs about 32 tonnes – which is a lot!
  • There are ten windows on each side of the column
  • Some of the pictures on the outside of the column are of women.  It was not normal for women to be in pictures of battles.
  • Trajan was called the best ruler of Rome by the Senate.

Trajan’s Column Questions

  • How big is Trajan’s column?
    30 Meters
  • How many steps are on the inside staircase?
  • Who is the statue of, at the top of the column?
    St. Peter
  • What type of stone are the column blocks made from?
  • How many big wars did Trajan have with the Dacians?