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Bill Thayer

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Scene 12
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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Scene 14

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

 p119  XIII. Fortified camp or oppidum

A fortified post is being constructed with the same care, and the work pushed on with the same activity as the last. A man lifts a heavy stone to another on the walls. A mason sits and receives a heavy stone, on what seems to be an intermediate wall just begun, and intended as a third line or circum­vallation, or for the foundation of a building of solid stone to be raised within it. A heavy stone is borne by two soldiers on a shoulder hod formed by two boughs one over each shoulder, or the two ends of a rope strained tight by the weight of the stone it holds.

In front men are digging and preparing to fortify an outwork. This outwork, from the cavity in which they work and from which baskets of sand and shingle are being lifted, appears to be intended for a small basin or harbour, such as will be seen completed in other bas-reliefs  p120 representing river side forts and towns. This basin is being surrounded by walls of hewn masonry which appear just above the ground, and it is separated from the river only by a narrow space of ground through which probably it is intended to cut an opening when the arch is completed. This fortress communicates with the lower ground, along which the road is carried by a bridge constructed like those already described. The side walls are seen following the edge of a precipitous side of the rocky eminence on which the fort is built, and sentries at intervals are standing on the edge of the cliff outside, so as to command a view of the open country. Higher up is a small enclosed citadel with walls, oval or circular, and semicircular tower at intervals, and an arched gateway. But this is not yet guarded by sentries. The emperor is looking on.

The horses of the emperor

Though the emperor Trajan rarely rode on the march, but shared the fatigues of his troops, he is followed by led horses in more than one of these compositions. Five horses held by five attendants (who, from their linen cuirasses, are intended for legionaries, but who are unarmed) are waiting behind the fortifications, for which a soldier is seen hewing down a tree. They appear to be kept ready for the emperor to ride round and inspect the various engineering works that are going on.

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Page updated: 3 Aug 20