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Scene 29
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 31

SCENES OF THE SPIRAL BAND RUNNING UP THE SHAFT

p133 XXX. General action

A battle in which the Roman army is engaged in all its force. The Roman cavalry is engaged all along the back ground of the composition hand to hand with Dacians on foot. The Romans have their shields hung or fixed to the pommels of their saddles and fight with the lance. On one is a design of two large anthemia and a central boss. A Dacian shield in the middle line has a similar ornaments with two stars. In the back line the Romans seem to have penetrated right through the Dacian ranks, but the latter have advanced close on the Roman reserves, and a body of them on the right of the composition fights desperately with both the light and heavy legionary troops, some of whom, as well as a German auxiliary, turn back to save this part of the field. The centre is held by Dacians fighting resolutely. Two Roman foot soldiers, one heavily armed, have penetrated the Dacian lines along with the cavalry. One of them, with his shield held under his left arm, holds the right hand of a Dacian, who is wounded and sitting on the ground, while with his left hand he grasps this man's beard, giving him quarter as to a prisoner. Dead and wounded Dacians are seen in the foreground. On the shield of one are four dolphins.

Behind the field of this conflict the emperor is standing. He holds a baton or roll, and is without arms. A soldier thrusts forward into his presence a Dacian whom he has taken prisoner and bound. On high ground above this scene are two carrobalistae. Each carriage is in the form p134of a small single horse cart with two wheels. Three soldiers are engaged in discharging missiles from those engines. Two stoop down as if to bring the eye into position to take aim. The engines are not seen in profile, as their carriages are but fronting the spectator, so that the minor details of their construction cannot be distinctly made out. This is the first action during the war in which the Roman commander has recourse to artillery of this kind and the numbers and valour of the enemy make it evident that the employment of these resources of military science is necessary. A tree closes the scene of the action.


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Page updated: 27 Nov 01