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Browse Exhibits (3 total)

The Ara Pacis

Welcome to the Ara Pacis exhibit.

See the Resources page for more useful websites that explore the Ara Pacis.

The Arch of Constantine

Welcome to the Arch of Constantine exhibit.

See the Resources page for more useful websites that explore the Arch of Constantine.

The Columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius

Introduction

The Column of Trajan and the Column of Marcus Aurelius are two imperial monuments in Rome dating to the second century CE.  Both are comprised of a pedestal and a single Doric column on whose capital rested a statue of the emperor.  The most distinctive feature of each column is the helical sculpted frieze that memorializes the military campaigns of the emperor: the Dacian campaigns of Trajan, and the German campaigns of Marcus Aurelius. It is not surprising, given their very similar design and function, that these monuments are frequently compared.

This exhibition is designed to facilitate such comparison.  The sculptural frieze of the Column of Trajan has been copied in drawings and plaster, is well photographed, and is the subject of a number of well-illustrated and documented sites on the Internet.  The Column of Marcus Aurelius, however, has received less attention.  Apart from the drawings of Bartoli and Piranesi, the best documentation of the column’s sculptural frieze is a set of photographs taken by D. Anderson and published by Eugen Petersen in 1896, before the depredations of air pollution and automobile exhaust degraded the column in subsequent decades. This exhibition draws on many of these sources in the public domain, and also includes images of the Column of Marcus Aurelius taken more recently by Joseph Cummins.  This collection of images is not a comprehensive record of either column, but rather a select group of images brought together from both columns for purposes of comparison.

See the Resources page for more useful websites that explore the columns.