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Bill Thayer

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Scene 18
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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Scene 20


p124 XIX. Passage of a river

The Roman army is pushed forward to complete the rout of the enemy and cross the river (Tjerna?) at a ford. The banks are wooded. The legionaries headed by their signiferi are dashing across the river. Two signiferi lead bearing the standard of the manipuli. One steadies the upper part of the standard, which is raised above the head with his right hand. Both have oval shields, but no side arms. The emperor, followed immediately by the aquilifer bearing the staff of the lost eagle, has gained the opposite bank first, and awaits the passage of the legion. One soldier is stripped and carries all his arms and accoutrements in the hollow of his shield, which is held by both arms above p125his head. He wades through water up to his waist.132 Two cornicines are sounding from the further side. On a rock above the ford is a small fort, on the top of which is a wooden platform supported on massive timbers carried up from the outside.

The Author's Note:

132 Owing to the weight he carried the Roman soldier seldom could swim, Tacitus, V.14.

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Page updated: 22 Jan 09