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Bill Thayer

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Scene 60
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 62

Scenes of the spiral band running up the shaft

 p150  LXI. Figure of Victory and trophies erected in honour of the war.

In the middle, between two trophies, a graceful figure of Victory is represented writing the words Vic. Dac. on a shield. She is winged, one wing is folded upright, the other reaches out horizontally as if she had just alighted on the spot. She is draped in a long peplum, with loose sleeves; the right sleeve is looped at the shoulder, but has slipped off half way down to the elbow exposing her graceful neck and shoulder. Her mantle is thrown over the left shoulder and brought round in front, where the two ends are twisted one into the other, from the hips it falls in graceful folds to the ground. Her hair is drawn off the forehead and knotted at the back of the head. Her left foot is raised on a Sarmatian or Dacian helmet, which is laid at the base of a small square altar.

Her left arm is thrown over the upper edge of an oval shield that rests on the altar, and she holds a stilus in her right hand with which she is about to commemorate the Dacian conquests. The shield is plain with a narrow rim of laurel leaves round it. It will be observed that this figure is little altered from the traditional type and attitude of the Victory of the Athenian temple of wingless Victory, though her foot is raised in that bas-relief, in order to untie her sandal. In the case of the Venus de Milo (a Victory?) now in the Louvre, the action of the hands and the feet have been identical with this composition.a

On the right and left of the victory are two trophies, that to the right (spectator's left) is composed of a Dacian cloak on a tree. On the summit is a conical helmet, with cheek pieces ornamented with vertical bands and quatrefoils. On the arms or transverse beam are hung shields. Dacian dracones and spears are crossed behind these shields. On the ground below are eight shields, one with a wreath in the centre. A helmet on the ground, another resting on the central shield, two dracones, a crooked scimetar, two labara cut into three deep notches at the bottom, a sheaf of arrows, and a short spear compete this trophy.

 p151  The centre of the left hand trophy is a scale cuirass over a loose tunic, and with a sagum draped round the neck and shoulders. Right and left are crossed shields, two spears and a sword one side, two spears the other, and arranged between the pairs of shields, two dracones. A long straight sword with richly ornamented scabbard hangs by a shoulder belt over the coat of mail on the right side. Below are six shields, two helmets, a labarum, two dracones, two broad bladed hammer-backed axes, three spears, two helmet, and a crooked scimetar, and a round empty quiver, perhaps a straight trumpet complete the arms in this trophy. Models of small architectural elevations, such as temples, &c. are added in the background of this left-hand trophy.

End of the first Dacian war.º

Thayer's Note:

a An utterly mystifying comment. One and a half of the Venus de Milo's arms appear never to have been found, nor has the statue ever been exhibited with arms, original or reconstructed. She is also extremely unlikely to have been a Victory, and this is the only place I've seen this identification suggested.

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Page updated: 9 Aug 20