About This Site:

This is a site for exploring the Column of Trajan as a sculptural monument. The core of the site is a searchable database of over 500 images focusing on various aspects of the design and execution of the column's sculptural decoration. These images (slides and drawings) were generated by and for sculptor Peter Rockwell, over the course of his study of Roman stone-carving practices. The aim of this site is to make these images available to the widest possible public, in a form that can contribute both to ongoing study by specialists and to enjoyment and appreciation of the monument by the general public. If you would like to know more about the technical aspects of workings of this site click on the following link: Technical Information.

What's Here and How to Use It:

1. The Introductory Essays provide brief background on the column and discuss some of the issues this site may help to illuminate: The Emperor Trajan and his Forum introduces the historical and physical context of the column. Experiencing Trajan's Column considers how the design and setting of the column contributed to its effect at the time of its creation. Carving Trajan's Column discusses the process and techniques that actually produced the column and its decoration. This essay provides valuable information about tools, techniques, and preservation; it focuses on the same kinds of interests and issues that shaped the collection of images that make up the database.

2. The Database includes over 500 images (each viewable in 3 resolutions), accompanied by information on location, subject matter, and technical features (where relevant). These images are mainly slides taken by or for Peter Rockwell in the late 1980s to the early 1990s. They do not represent a systematic photographic record of the entire column, or even of part of the column; rather they illustrate interesting features of sculptural design or technique. Accordingly, a majority of the images are details, but there are some larger views as well.

3. The Indices ("Indices" in header bar) are an excellent starting point for those new to the site. They include all of the keywords for subject matter and for technical features (including tools and tool marks), as well as other features, such as scene numbers (by the conventional numbering scheme of K. Lehmann-Hartleben).

4. The Search engine ("Search" in header bar) allows searches of almost all fields of the database. This will be of use to those with more particular interests and questions (for keyword searches, the Indices will often be more convenient).

5. The Cartoons ("Cartoons" in header bar) are another excellent starting point. These drawings, by Claudio Martini, present the sculptural decoration of the entire column, spiral by spiral. They complement and contextualize the more detailed images of the database. Each spiral is divided into four sections (sides of column); graphical and textual links allow for flexible navigation between the cartoons and database images for each spiral and section.

6. The Credits page. Find out who created this site and send us your comments.


Go To Record Number:   

The McMaster Trajan Project, 1999