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Bill Thayer

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Section 103
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 105

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

 p175  CIV. The emperor receives news of the death of king Decebalus

Trajan in full armour is standing at the praetorian gate of his quarters. A semicircular enclosure behind him contains the imperial tent, with the entrance and curtain looped up. The praetorian officers are behind him, and armed guards in attendance.

One Dacian chief is introduced within the praetorian enclosure, and kneels before the emperor protesting his submission with the action of his hands. Others are outside, and with the right arm extended announce, no doubt, the catastrophe just described. All wear the sheepskin cap, and are chiefs. One bears in his left hand a dish containing precious caskets and treasures.

The Roman cavalry are sent in pursuit of the relics of the Dacian army. There are still bands of cavalry in the field, and the emperor launches his own in pursuit. A strong force of mounted knights are charging at the galop in pursuit of the enemy. The action of the hands and arms shows that some carry the lance across, some to the right of their horses' necks; some brandish it over head holding by the middle in the fashion of modern Arabs. A fugitive Dacian turns to watch the point of a weapon behind him. Perhaps these are occasionally hurled forwards. But it is more probable that a mounted warrior would not part with so valuable a cavalry weapon. One man in the foreground has lanced the Dacian before him. This unfortunate warrior is falling backwards from his horse, which is raised back on its haunches by the movement. The scene is along a mountain pass between rocks and among trees. The pursuit progresses higher and higher amongst the hills.

 p176  As the pursuit advances the fugitives are overtaken by both cavalry and infantry, who fall in from passes in the hills. It is evident that the forces of Trajan have been sent in various directions so as to scour the ranges of hills, stop the passes, and completely hunt out the enemy wherever he continues to resist. Roman cavalry are here entering from a side opening in the hills, and infantry are further in advance having, as may be supposed, climbed places inaccessible to horsemen. The Dacians stretch their hands out, and seem to exhort each other to escape as they can. A Roman officer, with his hand pointing in advance, hurries up to his men. Dacian dead are seen on the ground still with a grip of their shields, and a curved sword lies on the ground near one. The dead wear caps.

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Page updated: 27 Nov 01