Sample History Paper on Trajan’s Forum and Column

Trajan’s Forum and Column

The column is located in Italy and was commissioned by Trajan when he won in Dacian wars. It would therefore act as a reminder of the victory. Architect Apollodorus who came from Damascus oversaw the building of the column. It was commissioned and completed around the 113 AD. From a closer look, a person is able to see spiral bas relief that runs from the bottom to the top. The base is rectangular showing its support for the column which stands alone. The body of the column is cylindrical and has a square cover at the top where the stature of Trajan is placed. The length of the column is about 30 metres or ninety eight feet’s. Inside the shaft, we have the spiral staircase that contain one hundred and eighty five steps that leads to the view platforms where individuals can stand and view the surrounding environment. This column is estimated to weigh fifty three tons. This stature at the top has changed from time to time. During the 15th century, a figure depicted to be that of St. Peter was placed at the top commanded by pope Sixtus V. This image is still prevalent to date and people visit the place to view the work of great architecture.

The figure below represents the column that was commission as a symbol of victory.

Figure 1 represents Trajan column

From the picture above, we see the column standing at an upward position. The column is made of spiral body which shows from the bottom to the statue at the apex. A rectangular view platform is also visible with the surrounding made up of modern buildings. These buildings house the libraries used to reserves information about the soldiers and the Dacian’s war. They were defeated twice and this information needed to be kept in a safe place hence the building of these libraries within the vicinity as Grasby noted[1].

Trijan forum on its side was constructed within the surrounding of the column. Due to the damage brought about by the Dacian war, Emperor Trajan decided to rebuild the city at the end of this devastating encounter. Thus, a monument would be commissioned near the column which was surrounded by two hills by the name Capitoline and Quirinal respectively. A lot of excavation was to be done so that the building of the monument would commence. This took decades as the hills separated the region from other cities that were within the vicinity. However, the actual person who oversaw the construction was Emperor Domitian. There were many activities going in the construction sector in Roman Empire during this time such as construction of markets and renovation of several worship centers. This is because some of them have been destroyed during the war. Thus, it was the duty of the ruling body to see to it that everything comes into order by building up the infrastructural facilities that the community needed. The market would be used by traders in selling goods while buyers would visit the place for purchases. This would enable the country move forward in terms of development and economic activities.

Figure 2 represents Trajan Forum in Rome

The figure above shows the forum which is made up of several building such as the temple, column and libraries. These infrastructures are within the same region as they were planned and constructed by the same regime. They came about as a result of the victory that was experienced during Dacian war. Thus, the residents needed to build a city for themselves where they would trade. The emperor also needed a place to base his government hence improved the security of the country against their enemies as Jonathan found out[2].

The Forum is a combination of several building such as the portico-lined Piazza and two Exedrae which stretches for 300 metres and 185 metres respectively. To the northern part of the Piazza stands the basilica Ulpia. This building is a natural site as it is an outstanding structure with white marble, large equestrian statue and rectangular blocks covering the upper side. Therefore, it is a noticeable site from a distance. Next to this outstanding building is the temple that was dedicated to deified Trajan. The two libraries on the sides of the basilica are rich in Latin and Greek documents. These structures make the place look descent as well as represent the historical background of the people living in this region. In regards to the flooring of the areas around the Forum, government continually makes renovation to ensure that they resemble the national interest that ought to be the case with structures of such standing. At the same time, the forum and the column have been eroded by the natural phenomenon; this has demanded the attention of government in overseeing the development and renovation of such building and structures.

During 113 AD, the community in the region was experiencing immense pressure from the enemies as they would constantly attack the people in quest of ruling over them. This is because the two communities which are Dacian and Greeks were at logger head with each other. Peace was established the moment the Greeks won the war twice and they were able to push back the Dacian. This gave them the opportunity to rebuild their lives as well as the city that is now known as Rome. Rulers after rulers would come with their own agenda and opinion in regards to the naming and the structure of Forum or column. Due to religious influence, the status was changed from the original figure to a religious statue that would represent the views and wants of Christians living in Rome. In addition, the population was made of different religion and they needed to live in peace with each other. At this point, the figure or the stature is more leaned towards religious goals than the traditional goals which were tied to the victory that the community went through during war. At present, the structure is going through renovation to ensure that they remain strong to withstand weather changes.

An Analysis of the Architecture

Through the work of Apollodorus of Damascus, many artists and architect were inspired and they came up with new designs. The original plan was to build a monument for commemoration of the historical background and traditions of the individuals/soldiers who fought the war against Dacian. Therefore, it acted as a symbol of national unity for the community. Throughout the war, people were killed and others lost their properties to their enemies. This was a time of national cohesion between all Greeks from different parts of the state. They came together to fight the enemy by the name Dacian. After the won the war, they put up some of these structures within the city so that everybody could remembers the history of the community. Thus, I can say that these structures are relics of the events that took place during and after the war. When you move to other region in the country, the architecture takes the same form that was used by the formers architectures. In addition, artists from outside the country would come to this place to gather information about the structure. They would thereafter transfer the knowledge to their region where they would use the technique to structure and plan various infrastructural developments. Therefore, it was a model that was looked upon by much architecture determined at building structures that were durable and could stand the test of time.

Paul Veyne one of the French archeologists was greatly influenced by the column which stood vertically in front of the two libraries. He describes the structure as being hidden from visibility from all positions within the city. However, an individual can be able to view the column from the roofs of the two libraries. This means that the purpose of the column was to glorify Trajan for his brave work in leading the Greeks against Dacian. The monument at the top was traditionally built with an image of Trajan. This was to glorify him for the efforts that he showed during war. He was the planner of the two victories that the roman won over their enemies. Therefore, it was only fair for the community to honor him through the construction of the statue. Future generation to come would associate themselves with the history of the region and they would pay attention to the events that culminated to the current situation. Consequently, it would act as a reminder of the thing and the historical events that led to the flourishing of the community. It is also important to note about the location of the two libraries which are adjacent to the column. Without preserving the history of the community, no progress can be made by the population. The reason behind this is that people need to remembers and pay respect to their heroes who fought for the freedom. Spiritually, it would give them peace and comfort while they appease their ancestors.

Its influential status can be seen when the pope decided to change the statue of Trajan to that of St. Peter. This would significantly affect the state of Christianity in the region which is known for its rich tradition in catholic traditions.  The Romans would attach the same value and attention they attached to Trajan statue to the new Christian statue. It is also critically important to mention about the significant of St. Peter in the gospel. He is a key figure in the spread of the gospel amongst the non-Israelites. He was also persecuted for standing and preaching about the gospel. Thus, he is a very influential figure in the Christian family and setting in the community as well as outside the borders of Rome. As a consequence, Christians would have a place in the community and its influence was felt all over the country with the new status given by mounting it on top of the column. In the same location we have a temple and a Basilica. This would later turn out to be official location and headquarter for the Catholics because most of their activities were based in this place.

The two features are influential to the community due to the following reasons. First, it builds confidence that the community was safe from the enemies. This is a very critical stage in the setting of a strong economic body in the state. Investors are always looking for peace and security so that they can commit their funds into economy activities. This is the same case with traders who are concerned about the state of security in the market. If a country is not safe for doing business, then, the community will see freight of capital as well as traders. This will affect the economic state of the region. Moreover, the population increased due to the peace experienced in Rome. People and visitors would come into the region without fear of attack. Some of the confidence restored in the public came as a result of the standing of the statue in a stable state backed by the development within surrounding. Furthermore, private investors and developers were confident enough to build permanent buildings in the city. The vigor and state of the economy would be restored through building confidence on people and the governing body.

Secondly, the community benefited from the flow of tourism in the region which is at present on the rise. Therefore, the effects of the infrastructure can be felt at the ground in terms of income generation activities. Businesses erupted where they would be involved in offering services and products to the tourists. Diverse businesses have come up as intend to serve the prevailing market. Third, the community pride is restored and promoted through cultural and traditional figures such as the forum and column. These are not only statues that are elected for the sake of attracting visitors but also represent the community traditions.  This tradition is shared with other communities and people from all over the world. Thus, culture would act as goodwill for selling or promoting the tourism sector.

The Column and Forum are relevant features in the community because they give account of the architectural development. In the community that was characterized by consistence attack from Dacian, the remains or the presence of such building is critical due to the safety measures the government adopt to protect them. Instantly, the country would get protection of government gained the necessary power to rule and to fight the enemy. At present, the community is at peace due to the efforts that were demonstrated by the heroes who made the country secure. The common people also contribute to the welfare of the state due to the contribution/development made by forefathers. Thus, it is a national symbol that shows unity of people in building the state. The virtues brought about out by the use of the statue includes justice, restraints and moderation. Justice is one of the virtues that individuals need to have as a result of individual contribution to national unity. To be just, comprises a lot of things and activities such as doing the right thing towards others and serving others with diligence and competence. It is therefore an important aspect that people and communities should possess and emphasize on so as to dedicate their life to national service. Moreover, just people do not engage in corrupt dealings that may cost the community its goodwill and welfare in service delivery. Many Romans were able to adopt some of the attributes taught by Trajan and the soldiers who made a breakthrough in winning the war. Restraints in the second virtues that was highly practiced and evidenced during the fight between Romans and Dacian. The same trickles down to the community through massive investment in education and related programs. Restraints is closely associated with the acts of being loyal and committed to work for the majority.

This does not only improve public perception towards the nation but also ensure that the public and people in power assume responsibility as the primary virtues that guide them in their work.  The composition in the community also demands that individuals work and contributes to national development. This insinuates that people come together and share responsibility while those in power need to use and apply the same appropriately. Moderation is the last virtues on the list and it incorporates promotion of good values amongst citizens. Moderation in service and in national building is an important thing that was taught through actions of Trajan. In religious matters, Christians and Muslims needed to stay in harmony and practice their beliefs without stepping on one’s foot. This means that religion will not be used as a measure of national unity or separation rather as a social network between people who share the same values and traditions.

In conclusion, Forum and other structures in Rome such as the column are clear demonstration of the stable condition the country has become over time. Currently, the country is enjoying peace and tranquility that comes along way with security and good utilization of available resources in the community. This will therefore benefit the public regardless of race, social status and locality. This means that individuals in the country will access the services that are outlined and offered by the state. The forum has improved the confidence in people hence increased individual contribution towards development. The historical background and cultural diversity is also seen through the structure of the monument. Additional monuments have arisen in different parts of the state.  It is attributed to the influence that came about as a result of the contact that took place between Roman and other communities. The model that builds the cathedral and temple is also evidence in other parts of the world meaning that the idea of architectural development has spread all over the globe. Lastly, the war was a learning lesson for the community in Rome. They learnt to work and live together in harmony and embrace different culture as people are different in nature and perception. In the recent past, Rome has held important conferences in discussing the direction of the globe in regards to social and environmental welfare. This has exposed the country’s culture and tourism to the world where people can trade their diversity for the good of the populace. Moreover, globalization has made the world smaller due to the fact that people can sell and buy goods unlimited by location. This has led to sharing of critical information that has seen cultural change all over the globe. Due to such features of globalization, many people have toured the place to see and experience the culture and tradition.




Coulston, Jonathan. “Trajan’s Column.” Oxford Classical Dictionary 33, no. 4 (January 2016), 230-260. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.6524.


D.Grasby, Richard. Processes in the Making of Roman Inscriptions. New York: Sacketts (Books For Craft, 2011.


[1]  Richard D.Grasby, Processes in the Making of Roman Inscriptions(New York: Sacketts (Books For Craft, 2011), 55.

[2] Jonathan Coulston, “Trajan’s Column,” Oxford Classical Dictionary33, no. 4 (January 2016): 250,