14. The Mother of All Forums: Civic Architecture in Rome under Trajan

14. The Mother of All Forums: Civic Architecture in Rome under Trajan


Prof: Good morning all.
Today’s lecture I have called,
as you can see, “The Mother of All Forums:
Civic Architecture in Rome Under Trajan.”
And I think you’ll see what I
mean when we look both at a Trajanic bath building,
and also the Forum of Trajan in Rome,
what I mean by ‘Mother of all Forums.’
These were gargantuan
buildings, bigger than anything that we have seen before,
and interesting in all kinds of ways.
We left off with Nerva,
with the emperor Nerva. And you’ll recall that Nerva
was old, and in fact also relatively sickly,
when he became emperor of Rome. You’ll also remember–and I
remind you of his portrait on the left-hand side of the
screen– you’ll also recall that he was
a member of the Senate, and that he was chosen by the
Senate, one of their own,
to become emperor of Rome, the first emperor to come from
the senatorial ranks in the history of Rome,
and he was very popular with the Senate.
But Nerva recognized quite
early on that, although he was popular with
the Senate and with the aristocracy,
he was not a favorite of the army, and he realized that was
not a good position to be in, and so he wisely decided,
very early on, that he would select the most
popular military man and the most highly successful military
man in Rome, a man by the name of Trajan,
as his heir. And so Nerva adopts Trajan–and
you see Trajan’s portrait on the right-hand side of the screen–
Nerva adopts Trajan in 97 A.D., so that in 98,
when Nerva dies–because he dies after only sixteen months
in office– when Nerva dies,
Trajan succeeds him without contest.
Trajan was an extraordinary
emperor for Rome. There are a number of important
points about Trajan that should be made that have an impact on
our understanding and analysis of his architecture.
One of those is he’s the first
Roman emperor to be born outside of Italy.
He was born in Spain,
the first emperor born in Spain.
That’s not to say that Spain
was the boondocks, by any stretch of the
imagination. Spain had already been
colonized by Rome and was very highly developed with regard to
its civilization. He also came to power as a
relatively young man. He was only 45 years of age–a
couple of years younger than Obama–
and consequently he was in–and he was in very good physical
shape, and so he had the physical
wherewithal to be the kind of energetic emperor that Rome
needed at this particular point. He undertook many military
campaigns, and very successfully,
and he was the emperor that extended Rome to its furthest
reaches, to its greatest borders,
to its most extensive borders, during his reign.
And actually these were borders
that were never gone beyond. After this point,
we’ll see that the emperor Hadrian consolidates the extent
of the Empire, as reached by Trajan,
and no one ever takes it beyond that.
So this is going to be the
furthest extent of the Empire that we’ll see in the course of
the semester. And he was also extremely wise
when it came to his choice of the kinds of buildings that he
wanted to put up, because he followed in the
footsteps of Vespasian and Titus,
by favoring major public architecture in Rome,
and by eschewing private architecture.
He wanted, above all,
to disassociate himself from Nero, and from Domitian,
who had favored palatial architecture,
as you’ll recall. And so he builds public
architecture in Rome, and allies himself in this
regard to such earlier emperors as Augustus and as Claudius and
as the Flavian dynasts, and we’re going to see that in
his building projects today. Like so many other emperors,
when he first came to power, he looked around to see which
buildings had fallen into disrepair,
and he decided to restore as many of those as he could.
And he chose very carefully.
Again, he obviously did not
choose buildings of Nero, many of which had already been
destroyed, in any case,
but rather looked back further, in fact, dug deep into the
Republic, a time, a simpler time in many
respects, and a time prior to the
shenanigans of the monarchically minded emperors like Nero and
Domitian, and he restored buildings from
the Republic and from the Augustan period.
And he looked back,
for example, to the Forum of Caesar in Rome,
the Forum Iulium, which you all know well,
and we’ve talked about it before, and I’m not going to
discuss it in any detail today. Just to remind you that it
began to be restored– that is, the Forum of Julius
Caesar– under Domitian,
and that that restoration was completed by Trajan at some
point during his reign, between 98 and 117 A.D.
And I remind you of that here.
You’ll recall its location,
right next to the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome.
You’ll remember that even
though it was restored by Domitian and Trajan,
it has fallen on hard times. And if you look at the Temple
of Venus Genetrix, you see that all that survives,
besides the podium and the staircase,
are three columns from that restored version,
by Trajan. You see the same three columns
over here, and then you’ll recall the
great open space, with colonnades on either side,
and then the market area, the shops or tabernae on
the left. I showed you this view as well,
pointing out one of the architectural blocks that
belonged to the restored building, the building under
Trajan. And you can see that Trajan
continues this interest in ornamentation that was
characteristic of the Flavian period: very ornamental
architectural decoration, very deeply carved,
with a strong contrast between light and dark.
So he does continue this
Flavian interest in very elaborate architectural
decoration. You’ll remember that the Temple
of Venus Genetrix, in the Forum of Julius Caesar,
had a pediment that had in the center of that pediment a scene
depicting Venus rising from the sea.
And there is other Venus
imagery, and I show you a detail–
and it’s on your Monument List–I show you a detail of
part of a frieze that depicts cupids–
chubby, winged babies, as you can see here,
cupids–who are carrying the arms–you can see one of them
with a sword sheath over here– they are carrying the arms and
armor of Mars: Mars,
of course, the consort of Venus, and Mars making reference
also to military victory. This frieze,
as far as we can tell, does belong to the Trajanic
renovation of the building, but it probably does look back
to an earlier Julian frieze that decorated the original temple in
Rome. And I use that restoration of
the Temple of Venus Genetrix, in the Forum of Julius Caesar,
as an example of the kind of restoration work that Trajan
embarked on, at the beginning of his
principate. But much more important to us
today are two buildings, the first a bath,
and the second a forum, that are examples of the
devotion that Trajan had to public architecture during his
reign. And I show you a view here,
in fact, a plan of the so-called Baths of Trajan in
Rome that were dedicated in A.D. 109.
As you can see from the
Monument List, we know the architect in this
particular case. It is Apollodorus of Damascus.
And his name says a lot about
him: Apollodorus from Damascus, modern Syria.
So it’s very interesting.
We have an emperor from Spain
and an architect from Syria, who worked together.
This is a sign that things are
beginning to change in the Roman Empire, as the Romans–as Trajan
extends those borders even further.
It brings in even more
multifaceted civilizations around the world,
and talent begins to pour into Rome from all of those places.
Apollodorus of Damascus,
as we’ll see today, was an extraordinary architect,
right up there with Severus and Celer,
and with Rabirius: in fact, one could argue even
the equal of Rabirius. And what’s particularly
interesting is that Apollodorus of Damascus,
like Severus and Celer before him, appears to have been,
above all, a great engineer. He actually accompanied Trajan
on Trajan’s military campaigns, and served as Trajan’s military
architect. So his first commissions were
building bridges– I’m going to show you a
reference to one today– building bridges,
or building forts and camps on Trajan’s military campaigns,
and then using that expertise, ingratiating himself with the
emperor, who sees that he is enormously
talented– because Trajan participated in
these campaigns himself– seeing how talented he was,
and then putting him in charge of his building projects in
Rome, which is really quite
interesting. And so these projects are not
only aesthetically pleasing and fascinating,
but also show extraordinary engineering skill on the part of
the major designer, namely Apollodorus of Damascus.
Now these Baths of Trajan are
very interesting in all kinds of ways.
You can already see,
by looking at the plan, their location.
They are located on the
Esquiline Hill and part of the Oppian Hill, which I don’t think
I’ve mentioned before–O-p-p-i-a-n,
the smaller Oppian Hill. And the Baths of Titus–well
let me remind you first that the Domus Aurea of Nero was built,
in part, on the Esquiline Hill. And you’ll recall the so-called
Esquiline Wing, which is the one wing of Nero’s
Domus Aurea that is still preserved underground.
You’ll recall that after Nero’s
damnatio memoriae, and the coming to power of the
Flavian dynasty, that Vespasian and Titus,
and even Domitian, razed to the ground Nero’s
buildings– Vespasian did that–and then he
and Titus and Domitian built new buildings,
on top of those, and chose to make those
buildings the kind of public buildings that the citizenry as
a whole would enjoy; from the Colosseum and
amphitheater to the Baths of Titus.
And you see again the Baths of
Titus here, located right again on top of this area that
originally belonged to Nero’s Domus Aurea.
Trajan follows suit.
He not only is interested in
public architecture, like Vespasian and Titus before
him, but he follows their lead in
building these buildings on top of earlier structures,
now destroyed, of Nero. So it’s again this same
message, giving back to the people the land that Nero had
taken illegally from Rome during his reign.
The Baths of Trajan are based,
in large part, on the plan of the Baths of
Titus, with some additions. But you can see the
extraordinary difference in scale.
The Baths of Titus were not
small, and yet the Baths of Trajan are at least three,
if not four or more, times the size of the Baths of
Titus. So this tells us something
again about the grandiosity of the vision of Trajan,
about the funds that he had at his disposal,
and he got those funds, in large part,
because of all these military victories in which he took all
kinds of spoils and booty, which he used to fund his
building campaigns in Rome. And it also tells us something
about his ambitions. Now I don’t want you to get the
impression that we never had big buildings before.
You can think back way to the
beginning of the semester when we talked about Julius Caesar
and his architecture, and his bragging that he had
built a– or one of the authors of that
period tells us that Julius Caesar had built a Temple to
Mars, the biggest in the world.
So in its own day it was,
supposedly, the biggest in the world.
But we’re getting even more
ambitious vis-à-vis scale.
And I think–perhaps again I’m
psychoanalyzing Trajan too much–
but I think the fact that this is a man who had the ambitions
that he did, to extend the Empire to its
furthest reaches, seems to be in keeping with the
kind of man who would want to make the buildings in Rome,
that he built, a kind of microcosm of that
hugely expanded Empire. With regard to the plan of the
baths, you will see that it follows
the so-called Imperial Bath type that was initiated by the Baths
of Titus, at least with regard to baths
that are still preserved. I mentioned to you,
when we talked about the Baths of Titus,
there may have been an earlier bath of Nero that actually
followed this same Imperial Bath form.
But we’re not absolutely sure
about its plan, that is, the Neronian Baths.
They existed,
but we’re not absolutely sure about their plan.
But if we look back at the
Baths of Titus, you’ll remember that what made
them distinctive, and what made them differ from
the earlier Stabian Baths or Forum Baths at Pompeii,
was the way in which they placed the bathing block in the
center, rather than to the side;
that they arranged the main rooms–the tepidarium,
the frigidarium and the caldaria,
in this case–in axial relationship to one another.
And then all the other rooms of
the bath were displayed around those, in a symmetrical way.
So axiality and symmetry
reigned supreme. And then otherwise we saw here
the rest of the precinct, with an elaborate entranceway
over here. We see roughly the same in the
Baths of Trajan, in that again the bathing block
is located right at the center of the structure,
and the main rooms are aligned with one another axially.
If you look up to where it says
Baths of Trajan that at the northern end is the entrance
into the baths. You enter from there,
into N, which is a natatio or swimming pool;
a piscina. And then you can see that is
surrounded by columns. On axis with the swimming pool
is the frigidarium, at F, and you can see,
just like that of the Baths of Titus,
it is a groin-vaulted room: a triple groin vaulted room,
as you can see by the three x’s over the rectangular area.
It has a kind of an apse or
exedra at the uppermost part, through which one comes from
the natatio into the frigidarium,
and you can see that is screened by columns.
Then from there into the fairly
simple, rectangularly shaped
tepidarium, that serves more as a kind of
passageway from the frigidarium,
into C, which of course is the caldarium,
or the warmest room, the sauna of the baths.
That also has a rectangular
shape, but with these radiating alcoves, radiating alcoves that
we’re going to see are screened by columns.
And they are,
of course, facing the southern end where the sun is,
and that would, of course, help to heat the
caldarium as well. And then what we see though
with regard to the Baths of Trajan,
that make them differ from the Baths of Titus,
and are part of this evolution of Imperial Bath architecture in
Rome, is the fact that the bathing
block is placed in this very large rectangular precinct.
And this large rectangular
precinct has a series of rooms around it, as you can see,
real rooms, and rooms that take all kinds of shapes.
Many of them are these
hemicycle type shapes, screened with columns from the
larger central space, but some of them also look like
the tabernae that we’ve become used to in plan.
We see all of those there,
and these were used, as far as we can determine,
as meeting halls, lecture halls,
Greek and Latin libraries. So there’s this extension of
the bath, from being just a place where
you went for wellness essentially,
to bathe and to relax and to have social interaction with
your friends. They are adding an intellectual
element to the bath buildings, so that you can also go there
if you want to read– if you want to go to the
library and read Greek books, read Latin books–go to
lectures, go to seminars, have conversations,
intellectual conversations, are also beginning to happen
here. So the bath becomes even more
of a mecca for people who are interested in intellectual life,
as well as bathing and social life,
which is a very important development culturally for the
Romans. Note here also this great
hemicycle, down here, which is part of the
bath building — a hemicycle that had seats on
it, which probably served for performances of whatever kind,
that would have taken place here.
So that’s another interesting
addition to the bathing scene, and should you remind you of
the kind of hemicycles that we saw,
for example, in the Sanctuary of Fortuna
Primigenia at Palestrina, or the Sanctuary of Hercules at
Tivoli, where they also had those
performance areas. So bringing in some of those
elements from sanctuary design, into bath design,
in the Baths of Trajan in Rome. The Baths of Trajan,
some parts of them still exist, but scattered,
and in fact they are located now in a kind of a pleasant
garden area, as you can see here.
This is a Google Earth view
that shows you their proximity to the Colosseum;
we see the edge of the Colosseum over here.
So the Esquiline Hill,
in large part. And you can just barely make
out here– if you look,
see this curved wall, down here,
that curved wall is in fact that hemicycle with the–
for the theatrical performances that I showed you,
just before. And that is actually the
entrance — for anyone going to Rome over break,
that’s actually the entrance to the Domus Aurea.
If it’s open–it periodically
closes, sometimes, if things are falling down–but
if it’s open, that’s how one gets there.
And over here you can actually
see this is the– I may have shown this to you
before– but this is actually the
oculus of the octagonal room of Nero’s Domus Aurea.
You can see it,
if you wander through this park,
you can see it from above, with a grate on top of it,
as well as down below, if you visit the palace itself.
And then up here,
you can see another– just right up above my
finger–you can see another curved wall,
and there’s another one somewhere down here,
that are part of those curved rooms,
those hemicycle-shaped rooms, that are these lecture halls
and meeting halls and so on. And actually that one,
the one that’s up here, actually has niches in the
wall, with shelves, which indicates to us that that
was used as one of the libraries.
The scrolls would have been
placed on those shelves, and then have cupboards in
front of them. So one can see remains–it’s
made out of concrete, faced with brick–one can see
remains on the top of that hill. But a model over here gives you
a better sense of what it looked like in antiquity.
We’re again looking at that
large hemicycle that served, with its seats that served for
performances here. We’re looking at the outer
precinct wall. We can see the semi-domes of
some of the hemicycles here. And we can also see the bathing
block; at the uppermost part,
the entranceway; the courtyard,
surrounded by columns, which is where the pool or
natatio was located. The covered area here was the
frigidarium; then the tepidarium.
The caldarium is here,
and here you can see those radiating alcoves,
with columns, that opened them up for vistas
and the like, as well as to the warmth of the
sun. So an incredible bathing
establishment, and one that has taken us a
step further in the evolution of imperial bath architecture in
Rome, and will serve as the major
model for the two most famous and much better preserved baths
in Rome, and that is the Baths of
Caracalla and the Baths of Diocletian,
which we’ll look at later in the semester.
But I’d like to turn from the
Trajanic baths to unquestionably the most important public
building that was commissioned by Trajan during his reign,
and I can’t overemphasize enough the importance of this
building in the history of Roman architecture.
And we’re going to see that it
is two part, in the sense that it has–it is a forum,
it has the forum proper, and it also has markets
appended to it. They are done in a different
architectural style, and herald something very
important; a very important development in
Roman architecture that’s going to be carried further by
Trajan’s successors. What we’re looking at here is a
spectacular aerial view of the part of Rome in which the Forum
of Trajan finds itself. We are looking at buildings
that we have looked at before; so we can get our bearings.
This is, of course,
the wedding cake of Victor Emmanuel, over here.
You can see a part of the oval
piazza, designed by Michelangelo,
of the Campidoglio. You can also see–what’s this,
down here? Forum?
Student: The Julian.
Prof: The Julian Forum,
the Forum of Julius Caesar, much lower ground level than
the rest of the city today. And you can actually see those
three columns, from the temple,
that I showed you just before, as well as the tabernae
of the Julian Forum. And note the relationship of
the Julian Forum to the Trajanic Forum.
He’s restoring Julius Caesar’s
Forum, at the same time he’s building his own.
I can also show you here–if
you look right above my hand you can see the Piazza Venezia and
the Palazzo Venezia. If you look at the center of
that building, right over the doorway,
there’s a balcony. That is the famous Mussolini
balcony; that’s the balcony from which
Mussolini made all his speeches, with his followers gathering in
the Piazza Venezia. And from that,
from the Piazza Venezia, the street that goes from there
to the Piazza del Popolo, is the Corso,
the racecourse, the Corso of Rome,
which is one of the major streets of Rome,
one of the major shopping streets of Rome,
as well as one of the major thoroughfares,
that takes you–if you go down halfway,
take a right, you are at the Via Condotti,
and ultimately at the Piazza di Spagna,
or the Spanish Steps, which of course is a trek that
everybody who visits Rome follows that path,
to see the Spanish Steps. Over here, the forum that we’re
going to be talking about today, the Forum of Trajan.
Much of that forum is
underground, and some of it was turned into a garden,
as you can see here: a pleasant park,
as you can see here. Here we are looking at some of
the columns from the Basilica that’s part of that forum,
from the very well-preserved Column of Trajan.
And also over here we’ll see
the markets of the forum. But I just wanted you to get
your bearings again in terms of where it’s situated in Rome,
and what it looks like today from the air,
although it is changing all the time.
And I wanted to show you a
Google Earth image as well, because this is much more up to
date than the aerial view that I showed you just before.
And you’ll see the same
buildings. You’ll see the Victor Emmanuel
Monument, and you’ll see part of the Campidoglio.
You’ll see the Mussolini
balcony and the Corso, and you’ll see the Column of
Trajan, and part of the Basilica.
But what you see here is that
park has been replaced by structures, because they are
excavating. I’ve mentioned this before,
they are excavating more of this now, with the hope of
someday rejoining the Roman Forum with the Imperial Fora.
That may not be able to happen,
because of traffic concerns, but it is certainly something
that’s on the drawing board. And at the very least,
right now, without narrowing the street, the main Via dei
Fori Imperiali, they are doing excavation in
that park area. And you can see what they’ve
brought up. This is not ancient,
it’s actually mostly Medieval houses.
I hope–I felt there are no
Medievalists among you– but I hope they’ll eventually
realize that these are– well, who’s to say?–that they
should probably remove these as well and take us back to the
original Forum of Trajan; I hope that happens someday.
They’re not very distinctive.
If one looks at them,
they’re just mainly rectangular rooms.
But nonetheless they’re at that
Medieval level now, and the question is whether
they’re going to go down any further.
But here you can see,
not only the remains of the Forum of Trajan,
but also the Forum of Augustus. Here’s the Temple of Mars Ultor
— that great precinct wall that divided it from the Subura,
also visible here. And here we see the great
hemicycle that we’ll look at today of Trajan’s Forum,
behind it the Markets of Trajan.
It’s important for us to look
back at the general plan of the Imperial Fora,
to see where the Forum of Trajan fits in.
We have already looked at the
Forum of Julius Caesar, with its Temple of Venus
Genetrix. We have looked at the Forum of
Augustus, with its Temple of Mars Ultor.
Remember the exedrae on either
side of that temple, the embracing arms,
that were new at that time, and an important component of
the Forum of Augustus. Vespasian adds his Forum Pacis
over here. Domitian adds a narrow forum,
the so-called Forum Transitorium that served as a
point of transit between the Roman Forum and the Subura here.
He puts a temple to his patron
goddess, Minerva, in that forum.
But it is, at his death,
it is taken over by Nerva and renamed the Forum of Nerva.
I mentioned to you,
when we talked about the Forum Transitorium,
that Domitian also had his eye on this property over here.
He had schemes as grandiose for
public architecture, at one point,
as for palatial architecture, but palatial architecture won
out and he put all of his effort into the palace,
on the Palatine Hill, and never realized any
construction in this area. When Trajan became emperor,
he decided that he would again focus on public architecture,
and that he would build a forum like none other before it.
And so he begins to do that.
Now that was no small feat in
this particular part of the city, because most of this area
was occupied by a hill; the so-called
Quirinal–Q-u-i-r-i-n-a-l–the Quirinal Hill,
in Rome, occupied most of this space.
So what he needed to do–it’s
great to have an architect engineer in your back pocket,
so he set Apollodorus of Damascus to work.
He said: “You’re a great
engineer. All you need to do is take down
a good part of the Quirinal Hill, to make way for this great
forum that I want to build.”
And lo and behold,
Apollodorus was absolutely up to the job, and that’s exactly
what he sets out to do. He removes 125 feet of the
Quirinal Hill, in order to make way for the
Forum of Trajan. And that very number,
125 feet, is actually commemorated in the Column of
Trajan, because the Column of Trajan
was built to that very same height,
125 feet, to show you, as you stand in the forum,
how much of that hill had to be cut back in order to make way
for the forum. You can see by looking at this
plan of the Imperial Fora as a whole–
and this is–not only did Trajan take the Empire to its
furthest extent, this is the last forum that was
added to the Imperial Fora, in Rome.
You can see,
by looking at it in connection to the others,
that if you count it, plus the markets–
which you see wending their way up what was left of the Quirinal
Hill here in plan– if you compare that to the
others, you can see that the Forum of Trajan,
and the Markets of Trajan, were almost as large as all of
the other fora– not counting the Roman
Forum–but all of the other Imperial Fora together,
which gives you some sense of why I called this “The
Mother of All Forums.” Now we’re going to look at the
plan of this, and I’m going to show you an
individual plan in a moment. But what I want to say,
while this is still on the screen,
is that I want you to look at the exedrae that you see on
either side of the main space of the forum,
and on either side of the basilica over here.
These are not coincidental.
They are certainly meant to
make reference to the exedrae of Augustus’ forum.
Trajan modeled himself after
Augustus. He became a kind of
neo-Augustus. He took on Augustus’ hairstyle
and his manners, and so he was trying to
associate himself, in his life,
with Augustus. He’s doing it here also,
through architecture, by placing those exedrae on
either side of his forum. Here’s a plan of the forum
itself, on the left-hand side of the screen, where we can see all
of its major features. You’d enter into the forum down
here. There was a very elaborate
entranceway, here. And you can see that the
façade is actually not straight,
but convex, convex: a convex façade,
which is very interesting, curved façade,
with an elaborate entranceway over here.
The entrance into the main part
of the forum, rectangular in shape.
There’s a base here for an
equestrian statue of Trajan. The exedrae on either side,
mimicking those of the Forum of Augustus.
Colonnades, also on either
side, and some additional columns here.
And we’re going to see that
just as in Augustus’ forum– another reference back to
Augustus– that the columns in this main
area are Corinthian below, but in the second tier there
are figures — not figures of caryatids,
but different kinds of figures, and I’m going to show you those
soon. Over here the basilica,
which is perpendicular to the forum proper.
This is quite different from
the Forum at Pompeii, where you’ll remember the
basilica was splayed off, to the side.
Here we have it as a more
integral part of the forum, and perpendicular to the main
space here. It’s a very large basilica.
It takes the name of Trajan’s
family. His family name was Ulpius,
U-l-p-i-u-s. This is the Basilica Ulpia in
Rome, with a central nave, and side aisles,
a couple of side aisles around it.
So a veritable forest of
columns, and then other exedrae, matching exedrae,
or, in this case, apses on either end.
Then through here you see the
location of the Column of Trajan, in a small piazza,
and to left and right, libraries, Greek and Latin
libraries. And then at the end, a temple.
We don’t know what Trajan
actually– the northern end of the
structure was not completed at Trajan’s death,
and we don’t know if he would have put a temple there.
It’s highly likely,
because what forum have we seen, without a temple at the
short end? They all had them.
So it’s a good guess that
Trajan had that in mind too. But the temple that was built
there was actually built after his death,
by his successor, Hadrian: a temple that Hadrian
put up to honor Trajan, and also Trajan’s wife,
Plotina, P-l-o-t-i-n-a. Now we know quite a bit.
A lot of the forum,
some of the forum, is still preserved,
and we have evidence for other parts of it that are not
preserved. This entrance gate, down here.
Believe it or not,
we have coins that have an entrance gate on them,
and nicely they say–fortunately they say,
down below, FORVMTRAIAN, Forum of Trajan.
So putting two and two
together, we have to go on the assumption that what we are
looking at here is a rendition, on a coin, of the entrance gate
into the Forum of Trajan, FORVMTRAIAN.
And if we look at it here,
we see some interesting things. We see, first of all,
that it has a single arcuation in the center — so one doorway.
It has a series of bays,
that have in them what we call aediculae,
a-e-d-i-c-u-l-a-e, aediculae,
which are little temple fronts that are–
niches with little temple fronts around them,
with columns and pediments. And then you can see statuary,
inside those. So a series of bays,
decorated with these aediculae with statues.
Then a series of circles with
blobs in them. I think those series of circles
with blobs in them are probably portraits represented on
shields, because we have remains of
actual portraits on shields from the inside of the forum.
So that seems to be the case
here as well. And then in the uppermost part,
we see that the gate looks very much like an arch,
in the sense that it supports a quadriga,
at the top, and that quadriga represents two
people, possibly the emperor–again,
we’re dealing with blobs here; we have to do the best we can
to interpret them– but they seem to be probably
the emperor, and possibly Victory crowning
him, the way we saw Victory crowing Titus in his chariot,
on his arch. Six horses in this particular
case, and then on either side trophies, these tree trunks
decorated with captured arms and armor.
And we’re not absolutely sure
what’s surrounding them in this case, whether they’re prisoners
or Roman soldiers. So this gives you a very good
idea of the entrance gate into this structure.
And I also want to point out,
if you look very closely at the columns and the elements above
them in the attic, you can see that the columns
project, and the attic seems to have
projecting entablatures. So it looks as if we have the
kind of scheme here that we saw in the Forum Transitorium,
with that wall decorated with columns that project out of the
wall, and that have projecting
entablature, giving this
undulation–undulating movement from projecting to receding,
projecting to receding, across the façade of the
entrance gate. The figures that were located
on the upper tier of the center–
of the main body of this forum again were not caryatids,
or female figures, but rather male figures:
male figures of captured Dacians,
because the war that Trajan had, that enabled him to
celebrate and to fund this building,
was his wars against the Dacians, D-a-c-i-a-n-s.
Dacia, ancient Dacia,
modern Romania today. Trajan had two military
campaigns there, one from 102 to–excuse me,
the first one from 101 to 102; the second one from 105 to 107.
He was victorious in both of
those, and this forum was built from the spoils of that war,
to honor his victory over the Dacians.
And we see therefore that the
figures that are in the uppermost tier,
of the main body of the forum, are depictions of captured
Dacians; of Dacian prisoners brought
back to Rome. You see two of them here.
Here a headless figure,
here a much more complete figure.
The headless figure still can
be seen on the site, and the one on the left-hand
side of the screen now in the Vatican Museums in Rome.
The one on the left gives you a
better sense of what these looked like in antiquity.
You can tell that these are not
Romans; wearing leggings,
a tunic, a fringed mantle, that the Romans did not wear,
a long fringed mantle. And then above you see that he
has, unlike Trajan’s closely cropped
Augustan-type hairstyle, you can see he has very long
hair, and also a beard, and this identifies him as a
very different– sort of boots that seem to be
made out of suede or felt of some sort.
So a very different kind of
image. Clearly these are again the
Dacian prisoners, one after another,
aligning that second tier. And for any of you interested
in the fact that the Romans made nearly exact duplicates of
things, mechanical copies,
you can see in this particular statue–
we rarely have this preserved, so it’s an interesting example
of these points– you see these little excess
pieces of marble. The Romans had created a kind
of pointing machine, which they used to make exact
replicas of originals. And they usually,
when the statue was done, they would usually obviously
take these away, carve them away,
which they didn’t do. This one probably was not used,
for some reason; it was copied and never put up
on the building, and so those points still
remain. This is a model of the Forum of
Trajan, as it would have looked in antiquity,
with that convex entranceway; the location of the equestrian
statue, the exedrae on either side here.
You can imagine the Dacians in
the second tier. The roofed Basilica Ulpia here.
The Column of Trajan,
flanked by the Latin and Greek libraries, and then over here
the Temple to Divine Trajan. The plan, again,
and here I just want to mention,
looking back at that plan, that there was also another
elaborate entranceway from the main part of the forum,
into the Basilica Ulpia, on its long side.
And once again,
how fortunate we are that we have coins that say
BASILICAVLPIA, Basilica Ulpia.
So we can guess,
I think quite accurately, that this must be the
entranceway to the Basilica Ulpia.
Here we see something different.
We see three openings,
not arcuated openings but trabeated openings,
straight lintels above. But look again in the way in
which they’re represented. It looks like they’re quite
solid, and that they project into the spectator’s space.
So again this idea of
projection, recession, projection, recession,
across this façade. This is very important because,
as I mentioned, Roman architecture,
using the traditional language of Greek architecture,
ultimately developed something that we call a baroque trend in
Roman architecture, and you see it happening here,
in Rome, based on the experiments of
Domitian’s Forum Transitorium. And you can see that same,
roughly that same scheme here. Up above, once again,
a chariot, in this case a four-horse chariot,
seemingly with one figure, and a series of standards,
being held, possibly by Roman soldiers.
The Forum of Trajan has been
the professional, the life work of a professor,
formerly of Northwestern University,
James Packer, who spent a very long time
pulling together all the evidence that the Forum of
Trajan still provides, to allow a very good
reconstruction of what that forum looked like.
It’s computer generated.
I urge you all to look at it.
If you just Google James
Packer, Forum of Trajan, UCLA–because that’s the,
or the Getty, either of those two,
because UCLA and the Getty supported this work–
you will be able to see computer simulations of his
work. There’s also a book by James
Packer on the Forum of Trajan, that’s on reserve for this
course. I send you to it,
less for the Forum of Trajan, but for any of you working on
city plans, again this could be a very inspiring book to look
at. Not that I expect you to come
up with something like this, but nonetheless I think it can
give you an idea of what one can do as one thinks about designing
one’s own city. He has done enough research to
allow a very accurate reconstruction of what this
forum would’ve looked like. We’re looking at the
entranceway into the Basilica Ulpia here.
We are looking at the marble;
you can see real marble and variegated marbles brought from
all over the world. So Trajan continues the Flavian
tradition of bringing marbles from all over,
from places outside of Italy–from Africa,
from Asia Minor, from Egypt and so on–
for the decoration of these buildings,
and an interest in multicolored marbles as facing.
We see also up here the Dacian
prisoners, and between them, in this instance,
these shields, with portraits on them.
We have remains of some of
those. So that’s an accurate
reconstruction, the same sort of thing that we
saw on the entranceway. Then up there an inscription,
several other Dacians, and some other decoration at
the apex. I’m going to show you just a
few of these quickly, from Packer’s book.
You see here a corridor with a
barrel vault, stuccoed and painted,
lots of statuary. There would have been lots of
honorific statuary in this structure.
Sometimes instead of the
shields, with portraits between the Dacians, we see piles of
captured arms and armor, as you can see in that view.
Here a couple more,
showing again the marble decoration of the walls,
varied in color. Here niches with portraits.
Over here, more shields with
portraits. And here you can see some of
the sculptural remains: some parts of a military figure
in a breastplate, a man–both of them headless–a
man in a toga. And over here part of one of
these decorative shields with a portrait.
We actually think this is a
portrait of Nerva, a portrait of Nerva that
would’ve been placed inside this shield and hung on the upper
part of the wall above the columns.
And this is important,
and on your Monument List. This is a view of the Basilica
Ulpia in Rome, what it would have looked like
in antiquity. You can see it conforms to
basilican architecture that we’ve looked at before,
with a central nave, divided by its two side
aisles– in this case,
as you’ll recall in plan– and those are Corinthian
capitals, as you can see down here.
You can see also that it’s a
gargantuan structure. Look at the size of the people,
the men in their togas, and the building itself.
And it had a flat roof with a
coffered ceiling, and you can see that it had a
clerestory. We’ve talked about the
clerestory before. We saw it in the House of the
Mosaic Atrium, for example,
the clerestory, which is the opening up of the
wall, in this case through Ionic
columns, to see the vistas that lie
beyond, and to let light into the structure.
And you can see the vista that
lies beyond, of the Column of Trajan and one of the libraries.
This is a photograph that I’m
incredibly proud of, because I took it from on top
of the Column of Trajan. It’s not that difficult to
climb the Column the Trajan because there’s a spiral
staircase in the center of it, that goes up to the top.
The part that’s hard is getting
permission to get in there. It’s always locked,
and you have to get special permission to do that.
So I did it only once,
but it was a great thing to do, and you go way up to the top,
and you can look down. You can see fantastic views of
Rome. But you can also get a very
good sense of what the Basilica Ulpia looks like today:
not much. But you can see the central
space. You can see some of the columns.
We can tell that those columns
were grey granite. So again, this interest in
contrasting marbles, grey granite with white marble,
in the Basilica Ulpia and elsewhere.
And you can also see the
relationship between modern ground level,
which is much higher, and ancient ground level,
and the possibilities that still remain,
if they want to excavate this part of the city —
what more of the Forum of Trajan may be able to be seen.
Some of it can actually be seen
under the street, and Packer and others have
actually gone in to look at what is there,
which is what has enabled him to make the kind of accurate
reconstructions that he has. Everywhere in this monument
there are references–yes, this is a forum;
yes, forums have practical purposes.
They’re a place for people to
meet and to market and to conduct law cases and so on,
in the basilica. But this monument reminds you
again and again and again and again that it is a monument in
stone to Trajan’s victories over the Dacians.
And not only do we see those
Dacians, as we looked at before, but we see lots of other
imagery that refers to military victory.
This is a fragment of what we
think was a frieze, in the Basilica Ulpia,
that depicts victories, female personifications of
victory, winged, either kneeling at
candelabra, or over here,
this woman, kneeling on the back of a bull.
You can see that she’s winged.
She’s holding the snout of that
bull back. She’s got a knife in her right
hand, and she is about to slit the throat of the bull.
And she is doing this to–not
only is victory over the Dacians being marked here,
but she is also representing the sacrifice that takes place
in honor of that victory, by being shown depicting
killing a bull. Back to the plan once again,
just to remind you that when we leave the Basilica Ulpia–
a doorway also in its long side–we end up in this small
plaza, where the temple–where the
Column of Trajan is located, flanked by Greek and Latin
libraries, on axis with the entranceway,
the equestrian statue of Trajan,
the other entranceway, the column, and ultimately the
temple, at the very end:
the temple ultimately to divine Trajan.
This is a model of what we
think the library may have looked like,
or both of the libraries may have looked like from the
outside — fairly smallish square
buildings with a portico in the front,
and then, most important, a balcony over here.
Why a balcony?
So that you could come out and
look at the Column of Trajan, and read some of the scenes
that encircled it. This is a reconstruction,
from Packer again, showing what he thinks the
interior of one of these libraries might have looked
like. It looks larger here than it
actually was. But you can get a sense of it,
with the reading tables, with the scrolls inside these
cabinets here, with the statuary,
and in this case he believes that it had a vaulted roof,
as you can see on top. The Column of Trajan,
you see it here in two views; an extraordinary work of art,
extremely well preserved. Why so well preserved?
Well likely because Pope Sixtus
V, in the Renaissance, used this column,
and also the column of the later emperor,
Marcus Aurelius, as important nodes in his
reconstruction of the city of Rome.
What he did,
however, at that time, was that he took the statues of
Trajan that would’ve stood on this one,
and Marcus Aurelius on the other, and replaced them with
statues of Peter and Paul. And it’s Peter who’s on the
Column of Trajan, and Paul who is on the Column
of Marcus Aurelius. But you can see how well
preserved they are here. The column shaft rests on a
base, decorated with arms and armor,
Dacian arms and armor, with a statue of Trajan up at
the– a bronze statue of Trajan at
the uppermost part. But what’s particularly
interesting is the sculpture– I’m not going to go into that
in great detail, but I want you to know about
it, because it does tell us something about architecture,
as we’ll see. It’s a spiral frieze,
done all in marble, of course, that wraps from the
base of the column, all the way up to the top.
And it tells,
in documentary form, the exploits,
the military exploits of Trajan,
in his two Dacian military campaigns–
those two campaigns that I’ve already mentioned–
divided in the center by a Victory writing on a shield.
There’s been a lot of
speculation; there’s nothing like this
earlier in Roman art quite like this.
And so it is a new innovation,
probably at the behest of–possibly out of the mind,
the creative mind, of Apollodorus of Damascus.
And some scholars have
suggested, and I think very convincingly,
it’s an intriguing idea, that because this was located
between two libraries, the likelihood–and that the
Romans had scrolls– the likelihood is what we are
dealing with here is one of these scrolls,
sort of wrapped around the column, from base to top,
unfurled and wrapped around the column from base to top,
with the text removed, with images instead of text.
And that makes a lot of sense,
again given that you could view it best from the two libraries
on either side. A detail of the base,
just to show you how very well preserved the sculptural
decoration is. This is not a course in
sculpture. I’m not going to go into this
in detail, but I want to quickly show you
some of the scenes, because again they can be
revealing, from the point of view of
architecture. This is at the very base.
We see a personification of the
Danube River, in that area up north,
in Dacia, where the Romans went to conquer those tribes.
And this is very important,
because we know that Apollodorus of Damascus was
responsible for building a bridge over the Danube River.
It was one of his great
engineering feats. And you actually see that
bridge located here, which even increases the
likelihood that Apollodorus of Damascus was the designer of
this particular structure. You see the Roman soldiers have
gotten off boats. They’re walking through an
archway. Here you see the Roman soldiers.
The Roman soldiers did not only
do battle, but they also Romanized the areas that they
went. We’ve talked about this a lot:
the colonization of the Roman world, Trajan extending the
borders to their furthest most points.
The Romans get there,
what do they do? They start to build
architecture. They start to build walls with
headers and stretchers. They start to build forts and
city walls, in which they put buildings with Roman amenities.
Remember, after the war is
over, they’re often given land by the general,
or the emperor — it becomes theirs,
and where they can live from that point on.
So they had every reason to
want to fill these towns with Roman amenities.
And we see the Roman soldiers
building cities in many of these scenes.
This is the most famous scene
from the column, in which we see a battle
between the Romans, inside one of these forts that
they’ve built. They are all with helmets and
shields. They have their hands around
something; we think these were probably
spears that were added in metal, originally.
The Dacians down below.
You can identify them by their
leggings and tunics and scraggly hair and beards,
here. They are attacking the camp.
The Romans are,
of course, going to be victorious,
but the Dacians are shown as heroic and valiant,
and enemies who are pretty much the equals of the Romans in
strength, which only underscores that the
Romans were stronger still, to have conquered them.
And then over here,
if you’ve ever wondered where the term ‘battering ram’ came
from, you can see it right here–I
told you the Romans invented everything–
you can see it right here: this pole,
with a ram’s head at the end, which is serving again as a
battering ram, as they try to tear down the
walls of the Roman fort. Perhaps the most poignant and
interesting scene happens way up at the top of the column,
where the leader of the Dacians, Decebalus,
D-e-c-e-b-a-l-u-s, is shown kneeling,
almost like one of those Victories,
on the bull. He has a knife in his hand.
What is he doing?
He is kneeling here.
He has decided–you can see the
Romans; he’s got Romans to the left of
him, Romans to the right of him. He’s about to be taken prisoner
by them and paraded in a triumphal procession in Rome,
in honor of Trajan. He doesn’t want to do that,
so he heroically, valiantly, takes his own life.
He is about to plunge that
knife into his heart, so that he doesn’t have to be
taken by the Romans. It’s very interesting to see
them depicting, the Romans depicting,
the Dacians in such a heroic way on this column.
I mentioned the museum in Rome
that is located in EUR, the Museo della Civiltà
Romana, the Museum of Roman
Civilization, that has casts and models.
I mentioned that they had casts
of all the scenes from the Column of Trajan.
I show you a view that I took
in that museum, just to give you a sense of how
one can see those, and how one can see those at
eye’s level, to get a good sense of them.
In antiquity they would have
been harder to read. But I should point out that the
background was likely painted blue,
and there probably would have been some additions,
like the metal spears, that might have made it easier
to read– almost like Wedgwood–might
have made it easier to read in antiquity.
And I also thought I would
mention– I’m sure all of you have been
down to Ground Zero, but if you go a block or two
away from Ground Zero itself, there’s the Fireman’s Memorial
there, that was put up to many of the
fireman who sadly lost their lives fighting those fires in
the Twin Towers. We see this here:
“Dedicated to those who fell and to those who carry
on” here. And what’s interesting about
this, if you look,
if you Google this and look at the website for the Fireman’s
Memorial in New York, you will find out that the
designer for this talks unabashedly of his admiration
for the Column of Trajan in Rome,
and that he used, as an artistic model,
for the way in which he massed figures here,
showing them in relationship to buildings,
he used, as his model, the figures on the Column of
Trajan, in Rome.
At the end again,
the column, surrounded by the Greek and Latin libraries,
the temple over here at the end.
You can see it’s a conventional
Roman temple: deep porch,
freestanding columns, staircase, one staircase,
façade orientation, just as we saw elsewhere.
Here we see an engraving
showing the spiral staircase that leads from bottom to top.
And over here,
that the staircase also goes down below, into a burial
chamber. Two urns were found in that
burial chamber; the urns of Trajan and Plotina,
which tells us, of course, that this also
served as Trajan’s tomb. So a victory,
not only one of his great victories, military victories,
but also victory over death. And then at the apex,
we see a good view of the top, with a statue of St.
Peter;
but we have coins depicting Trajan on–
depicting the original statue–the base,
the shaft, a portrait of Trajan, a naked portrait of
Trajan, a heroicized portrait of
Trajan, depicted after death, divinized at the apex of the
column. And if you read the inscription
on the coin, you see it refers to Trajan as Optimus Princeps.
Trajan received many titles.
One was Dacicus,
D-a-c-i-c-u-s, for his victories over the
Dacians; but at the end of his life
Optimus Princeps, the greatest princeps of
all time. The implication:
greater than Augustus. And it is arguable,
I think probably correct, that Trajan was the even
greater of the two. This is a restored view,
a spectacular restored view, of the building complex,
where you can see again the entranceway over here,
the equestrian statue, everything that we’ve
described. But I think it’s interesting,
if you think of yourself having entered into this forum,
standing here, looking back at the basilica
bearing Trajan’s name, looking toward the column and
the temple. What you would have likely seen
when you stood here was only the uppermost part of the column;
because most of it would have been blocked by the very tall
Basilica Ulpia. So it’s a very theatrical
representation, in the sense that you would be
standing here with Trajan, during life,
looking back toward that column,
looking back at the divinization of Trajan,
a bronze statue, which would have seemed as if
it was floating on top of the Basilica Ulpia.
This is a very dramatic
tableau, created here by Apollodorus of Damascus.
And I think it was not equaled
until the seventeenth century by architects like Gian Lorenzo
Bernini, who also created such spectacular tableaus.
Just to show you again the
location of the Markets of Trajan, in relationship to the
Forum of Trajan. While the forum was the Romans
imposing a rectangular plan on nature–
remember, they have to cut back the hill,
to make way for it–the markets are something quite different.
They are the Romans accepting
the shape of the remaining Quirinal Hill,
and allowing the shape of that hill to determine the irregular
shape of the markets. The markets,
unlike the forum that is made out of marble,
for the most part–as we’ve seen, variegated marble–
the markets are made out of concrete,
faced with brick: a very different material,
but a material that is absolutely appropriate,
when you want to cover a hillside with tiered buildings,
looking back very much to the spa at Baia,
looking back to Fortuna Primigenia,
at Palestrina. The same idea,
to turn this hill, what remained of the Quirinal
Hill, into essentially the precursor of the modern shopping
mall. You have shopping–there are
150 shops in the Markets of Trajan.
All of these things date,
by the way, to the same period, around A.D.
113, the forum and also the
markets. We see 150 shops here,
on a variety of levels. This is the bottom level,
that is located where the exedra, the first exedra is,
on the right side. A great hemicycle, with shops.
Here, a street,
called the Via Biberatica; that name is on your Monument
List. And then a covered bazaar up
here. All of this on different levels;
all of this done in a very innovative way,
with concrete faced with brick. You can also see here the very
large windows; the semi-dome,
that I’ll show you in detail in a moment.
These large windows indicate to
us that the architects are real masters of the concrete medium
here, able to de-materialize the
wall, by putting up these very, very large windows.
That’s how good they were in
building this, at this point.
The building block here is
essentially the taberna: not unlike what we saw in
Pompeii, this small space with a barrel
vault, an attic window above,
and in this case with a post and lintel scheme,
made out of travertine, to mark the entranceway into
the shop. They took this individual
motif, and they replicated it throughout this building,
over and over and over again, offering 150 possibilities.
Here you see a series of these
in a row, a series of these
tabernae, with their attic windows,
with their travertine decoration, with their sidewalks
— a kind of mini city within a
city. And then over here the
polygonal masonry of the streets, looking very much like
streets in Rome. Here is a view of the great
hemicycle, down on the first story.
We see the shops again.
What’s interesting here is in
the second story you see arcuated elements.
You can see the facing
with–the brick facing, although we do believe this was
stuccoed over, in this case.
Here, pilasters.
But look very carefully.
You’ll see these pilasters
support, in the center,
an arcuated pediment, and then on either side these
broken triangular pediments, as if the pediment has broken,
been broken, to allow the arcuated pediment
to show through. We have never seen that before.
Yes, we saw it in the paper
topics, but that stuff is later. We have not seen that,
up to this point chronologically,
in built architecture. We have seen it in
painting–Cubiculum at the Met, over here, for example–this
breaking the triangular pediment to allow something else to show
through. This is the beginning of this
experimentation that ultimately leads to this baroque element in
Roman architecture that I’m going to talk about.
Behind the hemicycle,
annular vault, with an additional set of
shops, and attic windows there as well.
This is the most famous street,
from the Markets of Trajan. It’s an incredible place to
wander, by the way. And they have just recently,
in the last couple of years, opened an entirely new museum
here, which has a lot of remains from
the forum, from the markets,
and a great deal of very useful information: an absolute
must-see for anyone going to Rome.
This is the famous Via
Biberatica of the Markets of Trajan,
where again you get the sense, once you’re in here that you’re
in a kind of city within a city, but with all these wonderful
shops. You can see how skilled they
are in using ramps, with polygonal masonry,
as well as sidewalks and stairs,
so that you can make your way up with either alternative here.
Again, the tabernae on
either side; the opening up of the walls,
with these incredible windows throughout.
A restored view of what the
whole thing looked like in antiquity: the hemicycle;
the decoration here of the central arcuated pediment;
broken triangular pediments over here–
a very interesting space, that I’m going to show you in a
second– vaulted with a semi-dome,
done out of concrete, with very large windows opening
up the space. The Via Biberatica,
that we already saw here, and then the covered bazaar up
there. A quick view of the semi-dome,
made out of concrete. It doesn’t have an
oculus, but otherwise it looks kind of
like the dome of the Temple of Mercury at Baia,
as you can see. And over here,
this wall that I’ve already described,
that shows you how well the Romans can work concrete,
now enabling them to open up the wall,
much more than they’ve been able to do so before,
and allow even more light into the structure.
The greatest part,
perhaps, of the Markets of Trajan is this building here.
It’s the covered bazaar,
and it really is a market bazaar, on two tiers.
You can see in this restored
view, this series of tabernae down below;
the attic up above. You can see that groin vaults
are used here, in an incredible way.
I’ll show you in a moment how.
A second story up here,
with additional tabernae,
opened almost completely to the sky,
an incredible feat on the part of Apollodorus of Damascus,
assuming he also designed these markets.
Here is the market hall,
as it looks today. What is its ancestor?
The Ferentino Market Hall that
we saw way back when, with its single barrel vault;
or some of the cryptoporticuses that we
also saw, with their barrel vaults.
It’s that idea,
that market hall idea. But look how sophisticated the
Romans have become in their use of concrete faced with brick.
They have realized that they
don’t even need a wall, to support vaults.
They can lift their vault on
top of individual piers, as they have done so
spectacularly here; lift them up.
I described this,
I think, in the introductory lecture as in a sense opening up
a series of umbrellas over the space.
They have opened it up so that
light can flow in from the sides;
light can flow in from either long end, just flooding the
whole system with light. Down below, again,
the typical markets, with their attic windows above.
But this is a real tour de
force, probably the greatest — certainly the greatest vaulting
that we have seen thus far, and again a test to just how
far the Romans have come from this to this,
by the time of the emperor Trajan.
And any of you headed to San
Francisco, if you go to the Marketplace
there, you will see that that owes so
much to Roman antiquity, with all the
tabernae-like structures on either side;
the vaulting. I mean, this sort of thing
absolutely presupposes this kind of architectural development.
In the one minute that
remains–and that’s all I need for this–
I just want to show you one last monument,
and make one basic point about it, that really has more to do
with the transition from Trajan to Hadrian,
than anything else. An arch went up,
not in Rome, but in a place called
Benevento, which is about an hour’s drive from Naples,
in the south of Italy, in Campania;
a place called Benevento. An arch went up between 114 to
118, honoring Trajan, and all of Trajan’s
accomplishments. You can see it’s covered with
sculpture, and each of those scenes represents one of the
accomplishments of Trajan. It was put up on the so-called
Via Traiana, taking Trajan’s name,
a road that was built from Rome to Benevento,
and was opened during Trajan’s reign,
and again, a compendium of all his accomplishments.
You can see very clearly that
it is based in general form on the Arch of Titus in Rome:
a single central arcuated bay; the pedestals supporting double
columns on either side; the inscription at the top;
the receding panels on either side of that inscription.
The major difference,
of course, between the two, that this has sculpture only on
the inside, and sparingly in the center and
around the frieze, and this has much more
sculpture, again telling us in much greater detail a list–
or describing a list of the great accomplishments of Trajan.
The main reason that I show it
to you today, besides to show that the
Flavians again served– Flavian architecture served as
an important model for Trajanic architecture,
is that a couple of the scenes in the attic above are very
interesting, and tell us something about the
succession. Hadrian does not appear in the
lower part of the arch, in any of the scenes,
but he appears in two of the scenes in the uppermost part,
which has led scholars, I think rightly,
to conclude that the arch was finished up to the attic before
Trajan’s death, and that Hadrian finished it.
And what did he do?
He put his own portrait up
there, with Trajan’s. Why was he motivated to do that?
Well he had an ego,
as we’ll see when we talk about Hadrian’s architecture.
But more than that,
it had something to do with the succession.
We know that Trajan died on
August 8^(th) in 117 A.D. We know that on August 8^(th)
he had no successor officially chosen.
Plotina, his wife,
was–she had no children of her own;
she was crazy about Hadrian, very much his sponsor,
and wanted to see him succeed Trajan.
It’s likely that Trajan had the
same idea in mind, but it’s a little strange,
because wouldn’t he then have adopted him before his death?
Why would he have waited?
But Plotina decides–she
consults with advisors. She says: “We’re not going
to announce Trajan’s death. We’re going to keep it a secret.
Tomorrow we’re going to
announce that Trajan has adopted Hadrian.”
That happens on August 9^(th).
And then it was only on the
11^(th), the 11^(th) of August that Trajan’s death was
announced to the public. So some hanky-panky was going
on behind the scenes. But whoever made the choice,
whether it was Trajan himself or Plotina, they made a great
choice: Hadrian, an extraordinary emperor as
well. And the one point that I want
you to hold, and keep with you over break,
and bring back when we get back together and talk,
when we get back together, about the Pantheon and
Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, the main point that I want you
to keep in mind is what we learned from the Forum of
Trajan, and that is that Trajan
combined, in an incredible way, with the help of Apollodorus,
traditional architecture in the form of the Forum,
with its marble columns and the like,
and innovative Roman architecture,
in the form of the brick-faced concrete market,
brought those together in one building,
in a way that is very different from anything we’ve seen up to
this point. And we’re going to see that
Hadrian keeps that tradition alive, not only in the Pantheon,
but also in his Villa of Tivoli.
Take care.
Good Spring Break to everybody.

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