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The Loeb edition also offers an introduction, as well as Marcus Aurelius' other writings -- a smattering of sayings (collected from other sources, some passed down in Latin) and other odds and ends.
Essay on The Columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius | …
First of all, it should be said that both monuments were erected to honor achievements ancient Roman emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. Basically, both emperors were renowned for their contribution in the development and strengthening of Roman Empire. In actuality, the column of Trajan was erected as a symbol of his triumph and successes in the struggle with Dacian tribes. Trajan headed the army and defeated Dacians which represented a serious threat to the stability and normal development of Roman Empire in the North. In such a situation, it is quite natural that the column is almost entirely focused on the achievements of Trajan and his army in Dacia. The column of Trajan is a valuable source of information on the organization of ancient armies, weapon and technologies of ancient Romans and their enemies. In fact, the relief of the column depicts in details the elements of the everyday life of Roman soldiers and their opponents. At the same time, it should be said that the relief should be viewed, at least, from two perspectives because the column depicts two victorious campaigns of Trajan. On the one hand, there is the lower part, which shows the first campaign, while on the other hand, there is upper part which depicts the second campaign. In such a way, the monument spatially divides tow campaigns which are distanced in time. Obviously, the creator of the monument intentionally divides the relief into two distinguishable parts and lays emphasis on the creation of the two parts of the column which symbolize two campaigns. At the same time, on viewing the relief from the bottom to the top, the viewer naturally perceives the accomplishments of Trajan and Roman Empire under his rule, while on the top of the column is Trajan himself that symbolizes that all these achievements of Roman army and Roman people are accomplished due to the emperor, Trajan.
Column of Marcus Aurelius - Bing images
The lack of realism, the Column of Marcus Aurelius is in a way similar to the column of Trajan. However, the artist lays emphasis on different perspectives. To put it more precisely, the relief of the Column of Marcus Aurelius depicts people with disproportionally large heads. Obviously, this is dine intentionally, in order to show in details faces of people and convey their emotions and feelings through their faces. In such a context, the use of larger heads is justified even though it changes the general perspective of the relief. At the same time, it should be pointed out that through such depiction of people and focusing attention of viewers on faces of people depicted in the relief, the artist had managed to show that they were people who had similar feelings and emotions that viewer could have had. Consequently, the Column seems to be spiritually more realistic since it conveys quite controversial emotions, such as sufferings, joy, admiration, though the physical depiction of people is quite unrealistic. In addition, to strengthen a profound impression on viewers, the Column of Marcus Aurelius is deeper drilled compared to the Column of Trajan. As a result, the relief is more acute and clear that contributes to the more significant impact on the perception of viewers.
Fragment Of The Column Of Marcus Aurelius Stock Photo - Imag
Ideologically, the Column of Marcus Aurelius is similar to the Column of Trajan because it glorifies the victories of Marcus Aurelius in his struggle with Germanic tribes that threatened to the normal development of Roman Empire. However, unlike Trajan, who was depicted as an ordinary human, the Column of Marcus Aurelius has some miraculous elements, such as the rain miracle on the territory of Quadi that saved Roman army after the prayer of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. In such a way, the relief tends to include a supernatural perspective, which is absent in the Column of Trajan.