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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Trajan's Roman Legacy

 The market that Trajan built in 112 AD is remarkable in and of itself, and I am sure it was a marvel in Trajan's time.  The Romans had been building with concrete since Nero erected his Golden Palace in 64 AD, after the great fire that decimated housing throughout the area around the Roman Forum.  Vespasian, the emperor who came out on top of the power struggle that followed Nero's forced suicide, literally drained the lake on Nero's property and built the Coliseum, also with concrete.  Vespasian literally obliterated the vestiges of a bad emperor.
Trajan was a go big or go home kind of guy.  Trajan's column, built as both a triumph and a funerary monument is enormous and detailed.  The column contains over 150 scenes with 2,500 individuals carved in a continuous historical relief up into the air.  The conquest of the Dacians brought lots of gold into Rome and with it he built a modern marketplace as well as a large forum and this column.  The market, built right into the hillside, was the first known modern mall.  Rome was a city of about a million people by Trajan's time, and the market offered shop fronts and office space to conduct business in a compact and central area.  It is a marvel, even now.  Trajan used the best architect of the day, a man named Apollodorus of Damascus, who left his mark on the ancient world.  This is a must see sight that may get left off your travel schedule in Rome.

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