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Bill Thayer

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Section 2
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 4

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

 p111  III. Council of war

The first act of Trajan after landing on the Wallachian shore is to hold a council of war. The emperor, the prefect of the praetorians, and another of his lieutenants, are seated on a suggestum, a platform represented by square lines, probably not stones, which could not be put together for so temporary an occasion, but square turfs erected breast height, as we see by the standard bearers and representatives of various arms of the legion round it. This bank is large enough to hold the curule seat of the emperor and of his next in command, and the third is accommodated with a seat of turf. There is room also for eight lictors with fasces that stand round the group. The lictors are dressed in the tunic, and the toga or cloak is drawn over the shoulders and arms, and tied in a knot below the neck, the ends falling down. More than one of the soldiers wear a focale or neckcloth loosely tied in front. The Romans seem to protect themselves by these means from the climate of Wallachia. The emperor is turning to ask the advice or give his instructions to his lieutenants,  p112 but the head of the figure is gone; the action of the hands and of the legs are vigorously rendered, and fully express the artist's meaning.

The horses of the emperor are hurried forward, and two dracones or cohort ensigns are carried along with them. A cannon shot has broken out a round hole in this part of the column, fortunately in the wall of the platform under the seats of the council.

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Page updated: 27 Nov 01