Ancient Rome

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius was erected between 180 (the date of the emperor’s death) and 196 A.D, this column records the feats of Marcus Aurelius against the Germans and Sarmatians. An inscription states that in the latter year a certain Adrastus, the caretaker of the column, was authorised to re-use the wooden scaffolding to build himself a house.

Column of Marcus Aurelius (fragment), Roma, Italy

Column of Marcus Aurelius (fragment), Roma, Italy

The monument is modelled on Trajan’s column. Nineteen circular blocks of stones set one above the other stand 100 Roman feet high (just under 30 metres). The tall base, decorated by a frieze with figures of Victory and a scene of submission by barbarians, was demolished in 1589 by Pope Sixtus V who also replaced the emperor’s statue at the top with the figure of St. Paul.

St. Paul Statue, Column of Marcus Aurelius

St. Paul Statue – Detail of Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, Italy

The record of the deeds of Marcus Aurelius forms a continuous narrative spiralling round the shaft. The first carving shows the Roman army crossing the Danube by a bridge; this is follow’ed by various dramatic episodes alternating with genre scenes.

As on Trajan’s column the figure of Victory divides the narrative into two parts, which probably depict the campaigns of 172-173 and 174-175 AD.

Tickets & Tours for your Trip: