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Bill Thayer

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Section 9
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.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Section 11

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

p118 X. Another Fortified Position

This fortification appears to be built close above the Danube, or one of its larger tributaries. A tree divides the operations of the builders from the forest last described. On a hill may be seen through the boughs of this tree a mule with a Spanish saddle, with a broad ledge hung from it, on which the rider sits sideways and can support both feet so as to enable him to study papers or plans placed on his knees while riding. The mule is held by a slave.

The fort, like the last, consists of separate enclosures within the largest. One block to the left of the composition is separately surrounded and fortified. Soldiers are busy about this portion constructing various wooden frames for portcullises, catapults, palisades, &c.

The outer wall appears to be built in zigzags, so as to give the defenders the command of the various faces, as well as to follow the inequalities of the rocky bank or heights on which the place is built. A workman is seen on the right, who appears by the rammer he is using to be ramming down concrete in a wall of great thickness, the faces only of which are of hewn stone. This is the more probable as we observe in several of these building scenes the prominence given to sand and gravel, which is handed in baskets to the builders. Another soldier, with a large beam of wood, is kneeling and listening to Trajan, who, with two officers, is inspecting the works in the foreground and giving directions.

Sentries mount guard in the re-entering angles of the walls. Trees are retained within the walls, and tents are distinguishable beyond them. To the left two soldiers carry another heavy beam. Below the main walls an enclosure of palisades set close together, with pointed tops, to protect meadow land and rickyards. Two ricks thatched with rushes are seen over the palisades, and a small pier supported on tripod piles driven into the river is constructed for facilitating the embarcation, and for discharging barge loads of haya and provisions. The water is seen to come right up to the palisades.

A separate building with walls and round towers stands on an eminence to the left in advance of the other works, before the door of which are praetorian guards standing sentry. This building is further from the river.

Thayer's Note:

a Those interested in this vegetable in the context of Trajan's Column should see Hay in Art, Nov 2003.

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Page updated: 19 Jun 04