Trajan’s Column is a monument in Rome, Italy, raised in honour of the Roman emperor Trajan and constructed by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan’s Forum, built near the Quirinal Hill, north of the Roman Forum. Completed in 113, the freestanding column is most famous for its spiral bas relief, which commemorates Trajan’s victory in the Dacian Wars.
The structure is about 30 meters (98 ft) in height, 38 meters (125 ft) including its large pedestal. The shaft is made from a series of 20 colossal Carrara marble drums, each weighing about 40 tons, with a diameter of about 4 meters (13 ft). The 190 meter (625 ft) frieze winds around the shaft 23 times. Inside the shaft, a spiral staircase of 185 stairs provides access to a viewing platform at the top.
According to coins depicting the column, it was originally topped with a statue of a bird, possibly an eagle,1 and later by a heroically nude statue of Trajan himself which disappeared in the Middle Ages. In 1588, it was replaced by a statue of St. Peter (which still remains) by Pope Sixtus V.
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