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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
A Description of the Trajan Column
by John Hungerford Pollen

printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode,
printers to Queen Victoria
London, 1874

Text and engravings are in the public domain.
Any color photographs are © William P. Thayer 1997-


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SCENES OF THE SPIRAL BAND RUNNING UP THE SHAFT

p174 CIII. Last address of Decebalus and his self-destruction

This and the following sculptures of the spiral give us the closing scenes of the war. Decebalus and his chiefs are in a wooded defile of the rocks. A figure on the right is probably Decebalus himself. He is haranguing his veterans. p175The man next him wears a fringed sagum, and raises his right hand with a gesture of high resolve. On a rock above them other chiefs seem to hold a like debate. One or two turn with apparent horror and amazement from the only solution offered by Decebalus, to free themselves from disgraceful bonds and captivity, that of self immolation. To the left the king is seen again, he kneels on one knee and with a dagger in his right hand raised above his head is in the act of giving himself the fatal stroke. One chief lies already dead. Another is sacrificing a friend who kneels to receive his last blow. A few seem to escape horrorstruck to tell the news to their friends, and to offer the submission of hopeless men to the Romans.


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Page updated: 27 Nov 01