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Column of Trajan Helical Frieze

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Column of Trajan Helical Frieze
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View looking at part of the helical frieze that winds up from the bottom to the top of the Column.  It is 656 feet long, contains a sequence of 155 scenes, and contains over 2,600 2/3 life-size figures.  It depicts the campaigns of Trajan against the Dacians (A.D. 102-3; 105-6).  The minute details are still well preserved!  Some scholars believe that the helical frieze was added after the sudden death of Trajan by his successor Hadrian.

Note also, the two vertical rectangular openings.  These slits are windows that allow light to enter the column to illuminate the interior spiral staircase!


The column of Trajan is 125 ft. high and is composed of twenty-nine huge blocks of white marble: 8 for the base, 19 for the column, and 2 for the pedestal on top.  It is now crowned with a statue of Saint Peter—installed 1588—but it once supported a 16 ft. bronze statue of Trajan.  There is an interior spiral staircase that leads to the top—with 40 narrow windows that "illuminate" the interior.  On the top, there was, and is, a platform upon which about 15 people can stand.