Memorial Columns

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Trajan’s Column, Rome; 106–13 | Column of Marcus Aurelius, Rome; 193 | Colonne Vendôme, Paris; 1806–10 | Nelson’s Column, London; 1843

Emperor Trajan commissioned a great complex of buildings in Rome that included a forum, a temple, a basilica, libraries and markets. The only part of it still standing and performing something like its original function is a monumental column, which once supported a statue of a great eagle – replaced after Trajan’s death by a larger-than-life-sized statue of the emperor himself (above left). The column is about 30 metres (100 feet) high, and is made up of 20 drums about 3.7 metres (12 feet) in ...

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