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Bill Thayer

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Scene 23
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 25

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

 p126  XXIV. Assault of a Roman Fort

A small detached Roman post is attacked by another portion of this force. The place is circular. It is surrounded by a wall of masonry. There are raised battlements or pinnae of the height of some fort, each having two-arched openings or loop holes at intervals. Between these are small battlements representing the height of one of the courses of masonry. A one-arched gateway is closed by doors, of which a transom at the springing of the arch and an upright bar down the centre can be distinguished. The Romans defend themselves manfully. They are half seen above the battlements, grasp long pila and spears in their hands, with which they strike down with all their might on the heads and shields of the assaulting party. They represent all the arms comprised in the legion, and of more than one legion. All these shields are oval; the ornaments on them are of seven different patterns, two are thunderbolts of different shapes, one set winged and with stars.

The Dacians attack the walls with great resolution. They are nearly as tall as the walls, but this is a device of the sculptor to bring his subject together, as the doorway half the height of the walls gives their real scale.

Many Dacians are shooting with bows, here disproportionately small. Three men bear a small battering ram, a beam of wood with a ram's head of metal on the end, with which they batter a part of the wall. Those armed with swords and defending themselves with shields await the result, and a favourable chance of mounting a breach. The whole scene is very animated, and as no breach is made we are left to conclude that the enemy is forced to raise the siege and retire.

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Page updated: 27 Nov 01