Trajan’s column is one of the most compelling monuments of imperial Rome, but one that presents several questions and problems of interpretation. Having read Brilliant’s overview of the column and Dillon’s focused exigesis on the meaning and interpretation of the relief, write a response keeping in the mind the following questions: Is the column to be regarded primarily as architecture, or primarily as a vehicle for propagandistic art? How could the average viewer appreciate the narrative thread and sculptural detail of the frieze? What is the meaning of the scenes and their particular arrangement and the message behind them? Brilliant argues that “the designer of the helical reliefs must be seen as a historian in stone”? Do you agree? or do you prefer Dillon’s approach? Why or why not?
If you would like to take a closer look at the column itself, this website is an excellent resource:
however, it currently is down – how long is not clear.