Most art history textbooks treat 'Trajan's Column' by concentrating on the details of the amazing helical frieze which envelopes the monument. In this paper I want initially to support those scholars who argue that the problems involved in viewing the frieze in detail were probably insurmountable in ancient times, so that we should re-evaluate our conventional approach. Next, the aim is to reassess the Column's functions as one way of approaching the meanings it would have had for individual viewers. Finally, I would like to make a few points about the Column as a symbol of Trajan's relationship with the Senate and People of Rome, and as a symbol of Roman power for later generations.
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