* (sometimes Ulpium: Hist. Aug. Marc. 22. 7; Sid. Apoll.
Carm. 2.544; CIL vi. 1724
, 1749): the last, largest and most magnificent
of the imperial fora, built by Trajan with the assistance of the Greek
architect Apollodorus, and dedicated, at least in part, about 113 A.D. (Cass.
Dio lxviii. 16
. 3; lxix. 4
. I; Vict. Caes. 13. 5: adhuc Romae a Domitiano
coepta forum atque alia multa plusquam magnifice coluit ornavitque
which may perhaps mean that the work was planned and possibly begun
by Domitian; see S. Sculpt. 149; ScR 135; NS 1907, 415
; CQ 1908,
). When completed by Trajan it consisted of the forum proper, the
basilica Ulpia, the column of Trajan, and the bibliotheca, and extended
from the forum Augustum north-west between the Capitoline and Ouirinal
hills, with the same orientation as the other imperial fora. Unlike these
it did not contain a central temple of which it formed a virtual porticus
(for the possible significance of the sacellum Libertatis, see below).
After Trajan's death, however, Hadrian erected the great temple of Trajan
on the north-west side of the bibliotheca (Hist. Aug. Hadr. 19. 9; CIL
, 31215), which thenceforth formed an integral part of the forum
whole, and made it conform somewhat to the imperial type. Although the
walls of the forum of Trajan and the forum of Augustus seem to have been
separated by a short distance, they must have been connected by a wide
avenue at least, and thus Caesar's plan of connecting the forum Romanum
and the campus Martius (Cic. ad Att. iv. 16
. 8) was finally carried out.
The construction of Trajan's forum necessitated much excavation
and levelling. The space thus prepared was 185 metres in width, and
the extreme length of forum and temple precinct was about 310 metres.
The inscription on the pedestal of the column (CIL vi. 960
populusque Romanus imp. Caesari divi Nervae f. Nervae Traiano...
ad declarandum quantae altitudinis mons et locus tan<tis oper>ibus sit
) in connection with a passage in Cassius Dio (lxviii. 16. 3:ἔστησεν...κίονα μέγιστον ἅμα μὲν ἐς ταφὴν ἑαυτῷ ἅμα δὲ ἐς ἐπίδειξιν τοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἀγορὰν ἔργου παντὸς γὰρ τοῦ χωρίου ἐκείνου ὀρεινοῦ ὄντος κατέσκαψε τοσοῦτον ὅσον ὁ κίων ἀνίσχει καὶ τὴν ἀγορὰν ἐκ τούτου πεδινὴν κατεσκεύασε
) was formerly taken to mean that the height of the column
(100 Roman feet) was that of a ridge between the Capitoline and Quirinal
hills which had to be cut away, but geological evidence showed that it
never existed. This was confirmed by the discovery of an ancient street
and houses of the early empire beneath the foundation of the column (NS
, 414-427; CQ 1908, 141-144
). In view of this fact various
attempts have been made to explain the inscription, and especially
mons, in some other way (Boni, NA 1906, I Nov.; Proceedings of the
British Academy iii. 1907
,93-98; Binder, Die Plebs, Leipzig 1909, 42-5
Comparetti, RL 1906, 570-588
; Mau, Mitt. 1907, 187-197
Internationale Wochenschrift 1907, 664-668
; Sogliano, Atti dell' Acc.
d. Napoli xxiv. 1908
, 79-98; Nazari, Atti dell' Acc. di Torino xliii.
, 595-613; Rasi, Atti dell' Acc. di Padova, 1910, 167-176; Rasi,
Riv. di Fil. 1910, 56-62
; Graffunder, BPW 1912, 1736
Giornale d'ltalia, Rome 1906, Nos. 308, 310, 318; La Nazione, 7 Nov.
1907. Cf. the summary by Nazari (loc. cit. 595) ' Veramente questo
studio dovrebbe piuttosto intitolarsi le peripezie di un monte che si
credette esistito fino a questi ultima tempi, fu negato dal Boni il quale
gli sostituisce il vicino Quirinale, fu idealmente recostituito dal Comparetti
con marmi fatti venire dall' Egitto dalla Libia e da altri lontani e vicini
paesi, divenne per opera del Ramorino una montagna di capolavori
artistici, fu inalzato dal Sogliano scaricando immondizie e detriti portati
poi via da Traiano, e finalmente fu ridotto ad un bastione dal Mau ').
The least unsatisfactory explanation as yet suggested is that mons refers
to the extreme eastern shoulder of the Quirinal, the collis Latiaris, that
was cut back so far that the height of the excavation was approximately
100 feet (Hulsen, Geogr. Jahrbuch xxxiv. (1911)
, 203-205). Groh
(RL 1925, 40-57
) accepts this view, explaining that the mons was probably
situated to the north-west of the forum of Augustus; and suggests that
the column was not placed there, but further west, in order that Trajan's
tomb might not fall within the Pomerium.
The forum proper was a rectangular court (Gell. xiii. 25
. 2: in area
fori) 116 metres wide and 95 long (according to LF 22, who places the
south-east wall of the forum 25 metres farther from the forum Augustum
than other topographers), enclosed by a wall of peperino faced with
marble, except on the sides, where great hemicycles, 45 metres in depth,
projected outwards. Around three sides was a colonnade of different
kinds of marble, single on the south-east, and double on the north-east
and south-west. The entrance to the area was in the middle of the
south-east side, opposite the forum of Augustus, where in 116, the year
of Trajan's death, the senate erected a magnificent arch to commemorate
his victories in Dacia (Cass. Dio lxviii. 29
). This arch is represented
on coins (Cohen, Traj. 167, 169) as single, but with three columns on
each side of the passage way and niches between the columns. It was
surmounted by a six-horse chariot, in which stood the emperor crowned
by Victory (Baumeister, Denkmaler, fig. 1974)
. On the roof of the
colonnade were gilded statues of horses and military standards, provided
from the spoils of war (Gell. xiii. 25
), and in the centre of the area was
a bronze equestrian statue of Trajan himself (Amm. Marcell. xvi. 10
in atrio medio; Cohen, Traj. 1, 2). On each side was a smaller arch;
and the three entrances corresponded to those of the basilica Ulpia.
One of the colonnades in this forum was called porticus Purpuretica,
probably because the columns were of porphyry (Hist. Aug. Prob. 2;
(but cf. SHA 1916, 7
. A, 9; 1918, 13
. A, 46, where this statement is called
a pure invention); CIL xv. 7191
; BCr 1874, 50
In the intercolumnar spaces of the porticoes, and perhaps here and
there in the area, Trajan and his successors set up statues of many distinguished statesmen and generals (Hist. Aug. Marci 22. 7; Alex. Sev.
26. 4: statuas summorum virorum in foro Traiani conlocavit undique
; Sid. Apoll. Carm. 9. 301 and CILvi. 1724, Merobaudes; Sid.
Apoll. Carm. 8. 8 and Ep. ix. 16
. 25-28, Sidonius himself; Hier. Chron.
p. 195 (Sch.) and Aug. Conf. viii. 2
. (3), Victorinus; Hist. Aug. Tac. 9. 2,
the Emperor Aurelian). A large number of the inscriptions on these
statues have been found within the precincts of the forum, some of which
state that they were placed 'in foro Traiani ' (M. Claudius Fronto, CIL vi.
, M. Bassaeus Rufus 1599, Claudian the poet 1710, Flavius
Eugenius 1721, Fl. Peregrinus Saturninus 1727), in foro Ulpio
(Merobaudes 1724, Petronius Maximus 1749)
, while the rest omit any
such statement (CIL vi. 959
, 967, 996, 1497, 1540,1
1549, 1566, 1653,
1683, 1725, 1729, 1736, 1764, 1783, 1789, 3559=32989, and probably
In this forum the consuls, and presumably other officials, held court
(Gell. xiii. 25
. 2), and slaves were freed (Sid. Apoll. Carm. 2. 544-545);
here Hadrian burned the notes of debtors to the state (Hist. Aug. Hadr.
7. 6), Marcus Aurelius sold the treasures of the imperial palace to defray
the expenses of war (Hist. Aug. Marc. 17. 4; 21. 9; Eutrop. viii. 13
ep. de Caes. 16. 9), and Aurelian burned the lists of the proscribed (Hist.
Aug. Aurel. 39. 3; cf. Cass. Dio lxxi. 32
. 2); and here the laws were
frequently fastened up on bronze tablets (cf. cod. Theodos. xiv. 2
proposita in foro Traiani; Leges Novellae Valentiniani III, ed. Meyer-
Mommsen 19.4; 21. . 7; 2. 6; 23. 9; 27. 8; 31 7. et passim). Down
to 353 A.D. the senators kept their money and silver in chests in this
forum and the place of deposit was called Opes (Schol. Iuv. 10. 24).
The forum is represented on coins (Cohen, Traj. 167-169), and is mentioned
in Reg. (Reg. VIII, app.; Pol. Silv. 545).
The hemicycle on the north-east side of the forum area has been
partially excavated (NS 1907, 414-427
). Built of ornamental brick with
travertine trimmings, it consists principally of two stories of chambers
abutting directly against the side of the Quirinal hill (II. 30). The
rooms on the ground floor, which were probably shops, open on the
of the forum. Above the first story is a gallery
with Tuscan pilasters, into which the rooms of the second story open.
Above this gallery there was another story, the front of which was not
flush with the lower facade but pushed back on the slope of the hill.
The semi-circular space in front of this hemicycle was paved with white
marble and surrounded with a colonnade decorated with gilt bronze
Still higher, on the upper level of the Quirinal, is a series of halls, now
occupied by the barracks of the Milizia, approached by steps from
the forum level (Ann. Assoc. Art. cult. Arch. 1910-11 (Rome 1912)
The mediaeval name Magnanapoli is by some thought to be a corruption
of Balnea Pauli, but this is itself merely a sixteenth century invention,
based on a false reading in Juvenal vii. 233
. (See BALINEUM PHOEBI
Cf. Adinolfi, Roma nell' eta di mezzo, ii. 43, 47.
Hulsen quotes a privilege of 938 (Reg. Subl. p. 63, n. 24) which speaks
of Adrianus quondam de banneo Neapolim3
; and the name occurs in the
form mons Balnei Neapolis and mons Manianapoli in the thirteenth
century (HCh 351). Here must have been situated the church of
S. Salvator de Divitiis or in Cryptis (HCh 438).
Two drawings by Cronaca (?) show a portion of the south enclosure
wall of the forum proper, which was of blocks of white marble, and
decorated with an internal colonnade like the forum Transitorium,
with a line of tabernae outside. The frieze with a griffin and cupids,
now in the Lateran (SScR 150, pl. 33), belonged to this wall (Bartoli, in
Mem. AP I. ii. 177-192
), and from its style has been attributed to the
period of Domitian. It has also been thought that the brickfacing of
the north-east hemicycle is characteristic of his reign (RA 113). If,
however, this were so, we should have to attribute to Domitian the removal of the mass of earth from the slopes of the Quirinal which is communicated by the inscription on the column of Trajan-and this is of
The name porticus curva (Cassiod. Var. iv. 30
) should probably be
applied to the south-western hemicycle of this forum, and not to the apse
of the Secretarium Senatus; see CURIA IULIA
On the north-west side of the area of the forum was the basilica Ulpia
(probably completed in 112 A.D., CIL vi. 959
; FUR frgs. 25-26; Not.
app.; Cohen, Traj. 42-44; Hist. Aug. Com. 2. I : in basilica Traiani;
Geog. min. ed. Riese, p. 120: sicut et quae dicitur forum Traianum quae
habet basilicam praecipuam et nominatam
), rectangular in shape with
apses at each end. Its floor was one metre higher than the level of
the area, and was approached by flights of steps of giallo antico. The
main entrance was in the middle of the east side, from the area of the
forum, where there was a decorative fagade, represented with variations
on three coins (Cohen, Traj. 42-44). This consisted of a row of ten columns,
probably of yellow marble, in the line of the wall, with six others in
front on three projecting platforms. These columns supported an
entablature and attics on which stood quadrigae and statues of triumphatores. The central quadriga was escorted by Victories. The great hall
of the basilica was surrounded with a double row of columns, 96 in all,
probably of white or yellow marble, with Corinthian capitals, which
formed two aisles 5 metres wide, and supported a gallery on both sides
of the nave and at the ends. The nave itself was 25 metres wide, and the
total length of the rectangle, without the apses, about 130. The walls of
the basilica were faced with marble, and its roof was of timber covered
with bronze which is mentioned by Pausanias (v. 12. 6; x. 5
. II) as one
of the most notable features of the whole structure.
The central part of the basilica has been excavated, but the fragmentary granite columns now standing do not belong here, although
they have been placed on the original bases. Some of the original
pavement of white marble is still in situ (Lesueur, La Basilica Ulpienne,
restauration executee en 1823, Paris 1878; cf. D'Esp. Fr. i. 78
architectural fragments now visible in the forum have not been properly
assigned to its various parts (Toeb. i. 62-66
). For the reliefs attributable
to the frieze which decorated the wall surrounding the forum, some
of which were used for the decoration of the arch of Constantine, while
other fragments are in the Villa Medici and the Louvre, see PBS iii. 225
iv. 229-258; SScR 142-150 (and esp. 135, 151 n. 17, where it is
suggested that the whole series may illustrate Domitian's Dacian
campaigns) 418; Mon. Piot, 1910, xvii. 206-239; Sieveking in Festschr.
f. P. Arndt, 29, who attributes them to Hadrian, and in Mitt. 1925,
, where the fragment at Cannes is described.
On one of the fragments of the Marble Plan (FUR frg. 25; pp. 28, 31;
Jord. i. 2
. 460), in the north-east apse of the basilica, is the inscription
LIBERTATIS; and Sidonius Apollinaris (Carm. ii. 544
, 545: nam modo nos
iam festa vocant et ad Ulpia poscunt/Te fora donabis quos libertate
) seems to refer to this shrine, and to indicate that the ceremony
of manumitting slaves, previously performed in the ATRIUM LIBERTATIS
(q.v.), took place here. This was probably a sacellum, not merely a statue,
and its presence may indicate that this goddess was recognised as the presiding divinity of this forum, a choice significant of the liberal character
of the emperor.
On the north-east side of the basilica Ulpia was a small rectangular
court, 24 metres wide and 16 deep, formed by the basilica itself, the two
halls of the bibliotheca (see below), and, later, the temple of Trajan.
In the centre of this court the columna Traiani was erected in 113 A.D.
Nibby (Roma Antica ii. 183
) had already pointed out that the colonnade
joining the two libraries on the north was only removed when the column
was built (Toeb. i. 62
Its construction is ascribed in the dedicatory inscription on the
pedestal to the senate and people (CIL vi. 960
: senatus populusque
Romanus imp. Caesari divi Nervae f. Nervae Traiano ad declarandum
quantum altitudinis mons et locus tan<tis oper>ibus sit egestus
elsewhere to Trajan himself (Cass. Dio lxviii. 16
), who is said to have
built it to show the depth of excavation of his forum, and for his
It is also figured on several coins of Trajan after 113 (Cohen,
Traian 115, 284, 359, 555-6).5
It was called columna cochlis (Not. Reg.
VIIi), and was a columna centenaria, like the COLUMN OF M. AURELIUS
(q.v.), although the latter adjective is not actually applied to it in the
few extant references in ancient literature.
It is built of Parian marble. The shaft and basis, composed of
18 blocks, 3.70 metres in diameter, with the additional block that forms
the capital, and the plinth which is cut in the upper block of the pedestal,
measure 100 Roman feet (29.77 metres) in height. The height of shaft
and pedestal together is 38 metres, which corresponds with the figures
of the Notitia (columnam cochlidem altam pedes cxxviii semis
cxxviis) ). On its top was a statue of Trajan in gilt bronze, of which
we have no representation. Sixtus V erected the present statue of
S. Peter in 1588.
Within the hollow column a spiral staircase with 185 steps leads
to the top (so also Not.: gradus intus habet clxxxv
Light is furnished by 43 narrow slits in the wall (Not.: fenestras XLV).
The pedestal, 5.4 metres high and 5.5 square, is ornamented on three sides
with trophies. The south-east side has a door, and above it the inscrip-
tion. Within the pedestal are a vestibule, a hallway, and a rectangular
sepulchral chamber lighted by a window on the south-west side, in which
the ashes of Trajan in a golden urn were probably placed (Eutrop. 8. 5;
Cass. Dio lxix. 2
; Aur. Vict. ep. 13; Hier. ad a. Abr. 2132; Cassiod.
Chron. 141). This chamber was evidently robbed, for when re-excavated
in 1906 (NS 1907, 361-401
; CR 1906, 379
; Builder xc. 1906, 368), it
was found that a hole had been cut through the travertine foundation.
To secure the stability of the structure the chamber itself had afterward
been filled up with concrete, certainly after 1764, in which year one Radet
wrote his name on the lintel of the door (CR cit.).
The entire surface of the shaft is covered with reliefs, arranged on a
spiral band, which varies in width from about go centimetres at the
bottom to nearly 1.25 metre at the top. These reliefs represent the
principal events in the campaigns of Trajan in Dacia between 101 and
106 A.D., and also form a complete encyclopedia of the organisation and
equipment of the Roman army in the second century. The average
height of the figures is 60 centimetres, and they were cut after the column
had been erected, so that the joints of the blocks are almost entirely
concealed. These reliefs were also coloured most brilliantly (Bull. d. Inst.
; 1836, 39-41
Casts of these reliefs may be seen in the Lateran
Museum, St. Germain near Paris, and the Victoria and Albert Museum,
South Kensington, London (for these reliefs, see Frdhner, La Colonne
Trajane, Paris 1874; Percier, Restauration des monuments antiques
pt. ii. 1878 ; Cichorius, Die Reliefs der Trajans-Saule, 2 pts. Berlin 1896;
Petersen, Trajans Dakische Kriege 1903; D'Esp. Mon. ii. Iio; Fr.
; S. Sculpt. 166-213; CR 1906, 235
; PBS v. 435-459
; vi. 177
185; JRS 1917, 74-97
; SScR 153-190; Lehmann-Hartleben, Traians-
Saule, Berlin 1926: for the development of the theory that the form
of the monument was suggested by the papyrus roll and that the reliefs
were designed to be monumental illustrations of the history of his campaigns that Trajan himself (cf. Priscian. apud. Keil. ii. 205
. 6) wrote, see
Birt, Die Buchrolle in der antiken Kunst, Leipzig 1907, 269-315
). In this connection it is worth noting that the earliest
exemplification of the idea of a column decorated with a spiral band
may be seen in a fresco on the back wall of the central room (the so-called
tablinum) of the house of Augustus (Livia) on the Palatine (Mon. Inst.
The little church of S. Nicolas de Columna at the base of the column
is mentioned as early as 1029-32 (HCh 394-396). It disappeared between
1560 and 1570. For some heads of animals which may have come from
the forum, see LS ii. 127
; PT 178; and for the relief of an eagle in the
church of SS. Apostoli, which is traditionally attributed to this forum,
see MD 3539; SScR 206.
On either side of the column and abutting against the north-east
wall of the basilica were the two buildings of the library, the bibliotheca
Ulpia (Hist. Aug. Aur. 8, 24); also called bibliotheca templi Traiani
(Gell. xi. 17
; cf. CIL vi. 9446
: atria Traiani
Cass. Dio lxviii. 16
(Trajan)καὶ βιβλίων ἀποθήκας
). One building was for
Greek and the other for Latin books. In both were reading rooms, and
on the walls were placed busts of celebrated authors (Sid. Apoll. ix. 16
State archives, such as the edicts of the praetors and the libri lintei, or
acts of the emperors, were kept here (Hist. Aug. Aur. I ; Tac. 8; Numer.
II). At a later period, and for some unknown reason, the books were
transferred to the baths of Diocletian (Hist. Aug. Prob. 2; see Boyd,
17-19, 37-39). v. Domaszewski (SHA 1916, 7
A, 9; 1918, 13
considers all the statements of the author of the Hist. Aug. to be pure
inventions, arguing that the only correct name for the library is bibliotheca Traiani, and that the bibliotheca Ulpia was a library in Nemausus
(Nimes) of which the author was curator. See SCHOLA FORI TRAIANI
The forum of Trajan was completed by Hadrian, who erected the great
temple of Trajan and his wife Plotina, templum divi Traiani (Not. Reg.
VIII; Gell. xi. 17
. I; Hist. Aug. Hadr. 19. 9: numquam ipse nisi in
Traiani patris templo nomen suum scripsit
-an inaccurate statement,
cf. AJA 1905, 441-449
, or rather a pure invention (v. Domaszewski, cit.
1918, 13 A, 46). Fragments of the double dedicatory inscription (CIL vi.
=31215) have been found. The temple was octostyle peripteral,
and stood on a raised platform, round which was a porticus. Fragments of
its granite columns 2 metres in diameter, of smaller columns 1.80 metre
in diameter, and some corresponding capitals of the Corinthian order,
have been found at various times (Bull. d. Inst. 1869, 237
; NS 1886,
ff.; for possible remains of pavement of the colonnade, see NS 1904,
; BC 1904, 341-346
; and for a base which may have belonged
to it, JRS 1919, 192
). The reliefs (supra, 241) found within the area of
the forum may have belonged to the temple, but more probably to the
The forum of Trajan was probably the most impressive and magnificent
group of buildings in Rome (Cassiod. Var. vii. 6
; Vict. Caes. 13. 5;
Paus. locc. citt.), and a vivid picture is given of the astonishment of the
Emperor Constantius on the occasion of his visit to it in 356 A.D.
(Amm. Marcell. xvi. 10
. 15). The history of its destruction begins with
the sixth century, and throughout the Middle Ages it furnished an
almost inexhaustible supply of decorative material for the churches and
palaces of Rome (cf. BC 1901, 300-308
; DAP 2. xv. 367-368; LS passim).
See Jord. i. 2
.453-467; Gilb. iii. 234-237
; LR 312-321; DuP 117-119;
ZA 44-52; RA 113-116. For restorations, see Richter e Grifi, Ristauro
del Foro Traiano, Rome 1839; Canina, Edifizi ii. pls. 111-125; D'Esp.
Mon. ii. 103-109
; Fr. i. 76
, 77, 80; cf. also Mem.L. 5. xvii. 523, 524;
ASA 54-57, 84, 122.