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Bill Thayer

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Dacian War
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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Roman Art
under Trajan

Trajan returns from the second Dacian war

The emperor returned to Rome this time to celebrate a triumph and games on a scale of unexampled splendour. Dion assures us that the games lasted 120 days, as already stated, that 11,000 head of cattle were killed, and that 10,000 gladiators fought in the circus. He returned to his supreme government, and planned and carried out many wise measures. Here we will take leave of Trajan. His later deeds, his Parthian wars, his death at Selinus in the year 117, belong to history. He was wise in council, farsighted in policy, sagacious in dealing with men, unsuspicious, generous, and tolerant; an able strategist, brave, humane, patient, active, tolerant of hunger and thirst, with all the qualities that make up the Pagan hero. He was a sportsman, a boon companion, not above the grossest vices of his age, never cruel except to the Christians and Jews. "He was," says Merivale, "the last of the emperors who ruled the empire in the spirit of an old Roman, viz., for the benefit of the Roman and Italian people." His portrait is familiar to us from a number of statues (see p7). His head is square and compact, the forehead broad, and well covered with hair, the lower jaw long, the chin small, the nose large but well cut, the eyes set in, the lips fine, and compressed, with a general expression of firmness and decision. His remains were placed in a golden vase, either in the hand of his statue, or under the base of the column.111

While biographies and histories are scanty, and the Roman forum hidden under 40 feet of loam and debris, that of Trajan under 12 or 14, the only full and detailed history of his Dacian war stands erect and substantially unchanged.

The Author's Note:

111 Burton, Antiquities of Rome, 167.º

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Page updated: 25 Aug 20