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Bill Thayer

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Scene 22
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 24

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

 p126  XXIII. Disasters of the Dacian cavalry

A number of horsemen are struggling in the water. These are, perhaps, Dacian cavalry attempting an attack on a distant Roman fort during winter time over ice. The ice is insufficient to bear them, and they are seen struggling on the surface of the stream. One man has lost his shield. Two others up to their knees in water have recovered it. Friends on the bank give what help they can to the swimmers. Several horsemen unable to keep their seats are calling for help, and some are drowned, others scramble to the bank as best they can. Along the bank is a line of men mounted and on foot flying in confusion. Three of these horsemen are completely covered with scale armour. Not only the riders, but the horses are so protected. The heads, ears, and legs of the horses are completely covered, as well as the bodies, limbs, and feet of the men, even the eyes of the horses have a thin grating as a protection. This armour was called feathered, plumata, from the overlapping of the small plates. The heads of the riders are protected by conical head-pieces with cheek plates, but their faces and hands are bare. Two standards, one a labarum or draco and one the Dacian dragon, are hurried along by the fugitives.

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Page updated: 27 Nov 01