Trajan's column : the sculpting and relief content of a Roman propaganda monument
This thesis examines the reliefs of Trajan's Column in Rome (dedicated A. D. 113). It explores sculptural processes and provides a full and critical commentary on the relief content. Section 1 reviews prior work on the column and explains how the present research was conducted whilst taking advantage of scaffolding erected in conjunction with conservation studies. Section 2 examines the role of the column as a propaganda monument, exploring the value of the depictions of Trajan's wars as a source of historical information. This runs parallel to an enquiry into the imperial propaganda functions of the project. These two lines of approach are set against the column's immediate architectural environment which suggests how the reliefs were observed by the public audience. Section 3 is a technical enquiry into the methods by which the column was fabricated, and the sculptures were planned and executed, based on minute observation and computer-assisted recording of the reliefs. Section 4 deals with each of the potential sources of information concerning historical events, warfare, architecture and the Roman army available to, and employed by the sculptors working in Rome. It concludes that input from the war zone on the Danube was minimal in comparison with models and verbal information available in the capital. In Section 5, the sixteen categories of human figures on the spiral frieze ('Figure Types') are dealt with in turn and examined in the light of comparative textual, artefactual and representational evidence with regard to their accuracy. Relationships with other contemporary monuments are also examined. The last Section reviews the place of Trajan's Column in Roman monumental art, examining its innovative features and-its influence on later works.