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Bill Thayer

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Scene 91
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 93

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

 p170  XCII. Destruction of a large town by the defenders

A town of great size and strength. It is surrounded by walls, in some places double. Hollow semicircular towers are seen at intervals, and gates defended by towers and covered with skins or plated with iron. Roofed buildings of various sizes are seen inside the walls, some in two stories. Two round buildings can be distinguished, one in two stories. Both have conical roofs surmounted by a carved ball. All seem made of timber and covered with planks, nailed on. The inhabitants are setting fire to these buildings, apparently in despair of escaping capture and slavery. Next, the chiefs, to avoid the ignominy of captivity, take poison. One young man is received dead in the arms of his friends, and an old chief in a sheepskin cap stretches out his arms to take part in bearing so precious a burden. Others turn away and press their hands against their heads, sharing this despair. Another chief is dying, and a number more with and without caps stretch out their hands towards a chief, who has a cauldron before him, from which vials are being filled with the fatal draught. A man of similar rank beckons to or reproves a crowd of fugitives for not sharing in this act of self immolation. A father weeps over a dead son. Numbers lie dead already.

At the sight of this tragedy the crowd of fugitives, among whom are armed men and the bearer of one of the Dacian dragons, fly in horror, which is attested by their raised hands and gestures. They hurry out by a square gate in the furthest angle of the town. The angle of the opening in the inner wall by which one young man is flying is defended by one of the circular towers with conical roof, such as have already been described.

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Page updated: 27 Nov 01