Statue of Trajan

Material- marble, height- 246 cm, origin- Utica (Tunesia).

Trajanus (Trajan) was one of the most famous and successful Roman emperors. He reigned from 98 till 117 CE. Trajanus was a highly skilful strategist, and during his reign the Roman Empire expanded considerably.

The more than life-sized statue shows the emperor as a general. He wears a suit of abundantly decorated armour and a cloak. These decorations served a propagandist purpose. The griffins (winged lions with the head of an eagle) are symbols of power and force, and so are the head of the goddess Medusa and Jupiter’s thunderbolt. The ‘flaps’ under the suit of armour are decorated with figures from the mythological story of the establishment of Rome, such as the god of war, Mars, his sons Romulus and Remus and the she-wolf. Next to Trajanus is the trunk of a palm tree, the symbol of victory.

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Dutch National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, The Netherlands.

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