Tropaeum Traiani

Last updated
1977 reconstruction of the Tropaeum Traiani TropeumTraiani 11.jpg
1977 reconstruction of the Tropaeum Traiani

The Tropaeum Traiani is a monument in Roman Civitas Tropaensium (site of modern Adamclisi, Romania), built in 109 in then Moesia Inferior, to commemorate Roman Emperor Trajan's victory over the Dacians, in the winter of 101-102, in the Battle of Adamclisi. Before Trajan's construction, an altar existed there, on the walls of which were inscribed the names of the 3,000 legionaries and auxilia (servicemen) who had died "fighting for the Republic". (Latin: Tropaeum from Greek: Tropaion, source of English: "trophy").


Trajan's monument was inspired by the Augustus mausoleum, and was dedicated to Mars Ultor in AD 107/108. On the monument there were 54 metopes depicting Roman legions fighting against enemies; most of these metopes are preserved in the museum nearby. The monument was supposed to be a warning to the tribes outside this newly conquered province. [1]

By the 20th century, the monument was reduced to a mound of stone and mortar, with a large number of the original bas-reliefs scattered around. The present edifice is a reconstruction dating from 1977. The nearby museum contains many archaeological objects, including parts of the original Roman monument. Of the original 54 metopes, 48 are in the museum and 1 is in Istanbul.


The monument was dedicated with a large inscription to Mars Ultor (the avenger). The inscription has been preserved fragmentarily from two sides of the trophy hexagon, and has been reconstructed as follows:

IMP(ERATOR) VI CO(N)S(UL) V P(ater) P(atriae)

----]E 31. [2]

The inscription, which calls Trajan Germanicus from his previous victories in Germany and Dacicus for his new conquest of Dacia, can be translated:

To Mars Ultor,
Caesar the emperor, son of the divine Nerva,
Nerva Trajan Augustus, Germanicus,
Dacicus, Pontifex Maximus ,
Plebeian tribune for the 13th time,
[proclaimed] Emperor [by the army] for the 6th time,
Consul for the 5th time, Father the Fatherland,
Conquered the Dacian and the Sarmatian armies ...


On the monument was a frieze comprising 54 metopes. 48 metopes are hosted in the Adamclisi museum nearby, and one metope is hosted by Istanbul Archaeology Museum, the rest having been lost (There is a reference from Giurescu that two of them fell into Danube River during the transport to Bucharest). [3]

Roman General Tomb

Legionaries Memorial

"in honorem et in memoriam fortissimorum virorum qui pugnantes pro republica morte occubuerunt" [2]

1977 Reconstruction

The monument was restored based on a hypothetical reconstruction in 1977.

Archeological research

In 1837, four Prussian officers, hired by the Ottoman Empire to study the Dobruja strategic situation, performed the first excavations. The team was composed by Heinrich Muhlbach, leading Friedrich Leopold Fischer, Carol Wincke-Olbendorf and Helmuth von Moltke the Elder. They tried to reach the center of the monument by digging a tunnel, nothing was found after the digging. [4]

The monument was also visited by C. W. Wutzer from Bonn University, who recorded a short description of the monument and of some local legends. [4]

The monument was researched by Grigore Tocilescu, O. Benford and G. Niemann, between 1882–1895, [6] George Murnu in 1909, Vasile Parvan stop the researches in 1911, Paul Nicorescu studied the site between 1935–1945, Gheorghe Stefan and Ioan Barnea in 1945. From 1968 the site was researched under Romanian Academy supervision.

Civitas Tropaensium

Related Research Articles

<i>Lorica segmentata</i> personal armour used by soldiers of the Roman Empire, consisting of metal strips ("girth hoops" fashioned into circular bands), fastened to internal leather straps

The lorica segmentata is a type of personal armour that was used by soldiers of the Roman Empire, consisting of metal strips, fastened to internal leather straps. The Latin name translates to "segmented cuirass" and was first used in the 16th century; the Roman appellation is unknown.

Moesia historical region of the Balkans

Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River. It included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo and the northern parts of the modern North Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja and Southern Ukraine.

Trajans Column Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy

Trajan's Column is a Roman triumphal column in Rome, Italy, that commemorates Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars. It was probably constructed under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus at the order of the Roman Senate. It is located in Trajan's Forum, built near the Quirinal Hill, north of the Roman Forum. Completed in AD 113, the freestanding column is most famous for its spiral bas relief, which artistically represents the wars between the Romans and Dacians. Its design has inspired numerous victory columns, both ancient and modern.

Free Dacians

The so-called Free Dacians is the name given by some modern historians to those Dacians who putatively remained outside, or emigrated from, the Roman Empire after the emperor Trajan's Dacian Wars. Dio Cassius named them Dakoi prosoroi meaning "neighbouring Dacians".


The falx was a weapon with a curved blade that was sharp on the inside edge used by the Thracians and Dacians – and, later, a siege hook used by the Romans.

Adamclisi Commune in Constanța, Romania

Adamclisi is a commune in Constanța County, in the Dobrogea region of Romania.

The Dacian Wars were two military campaigns fought between the Roman Empire and Dacia during Emperor Trajan's rule. The conflicts were triggered by the constant Dacian threat on the Danubian province of Moesia and also by the increasing need for resources of the economy of the Empire.

Trajans Forum monumental square in Rome

Trajan's Forum was the last of the Imperial fora to be constructed in ancient Rome. The architect Apollodorus of Damascus oversaw its construction.

Manica (armguard) armguards used by Roman legionaries and gladiators

A manica was a type of iron or bronze arm guard, with curved and overlapping metal segments or plates, fastened to leather straps, worn by Roman gladiators called crupellarii, and later optionally by soldiers.

<i>Lorica squamata</i> scale armour used by the military of the Roman Republic and at later periods, made from small metal scales sewn to a fabric backing

The lorica squamata is a type of scale armour used by the ancient Roman military during the Roman Republic and at later periods. It was made from small metal scales sewn to a fabric backing.

Tropaion Greco-Roman monument celebrating victory

A tropaion, whence English "trophy" is derived, is an ancient Greek and later Roman monument set up to commemorate a victory over one's foes. Typically this takes the shape of a tree, sometimes with a pair of arm-like branches upon which is hung the armour of a defeated and dead foe. The tropaion is then dedicated to a god in thanksgiving for the victory.

Lucius Licinius Sura was an influential Roman Senator from Tarraco, Hispania, a close friend of the Emperor Trajan and three times consul, in a period when three consulates were very rare for non-members of the Imperial family, in 102 and 107 as a consul ordinarius. Fausto Zevi postulated that he was also suffect consul in 97, based in a plausible restoration of part of the Fasti Ostienses, which reads "..]us". However, two more recently recovered fragments of military diplomas show that the name of this consul is L. Pomponius Maternus, who is otherwise unknown. Most authorities have returned to endorsing C.P. Jones' surmise that Sura was consul for the first time as a suffect consul in the year 93. He was a correspondent of Pliny the Younger.

Battle of Adamclisi

The Battle of Adamclisi was a major battle in the Dacian Wars, fought in the winter of 101 to 102 between the Roman Empire and the Dacians near Adamclisi, in modern Romania.

A trophy is an award of mostly symbolic value, earned by the winner of a competition.

First Dacian War

The First Roman–Dacian War took place from 101 to 102 AD. The Kingdom of Dacia, under King Decebalus, had become a threat to the Roman Empire, and defeated several of Rome's armies during Domitian's reign (81-96). The Emperor Trajan was set on ridding this threat to Rome's power and in 101 set out determined to defeat Dacia. After a year of heavy fighting, King Decebalus came to terms and accepted an unfavorable peace. When he broke these terms in 105, the Second Dacian War began.

Suebian knot Historical male hairstyle ascribed to the tribe of the Germanic Suebi

The Suebian knot is a historical male hairstyle ascribed to the tribe of the Germanic Suebi. The knot is attested by Tacitus in his 1st century AD work Germania, found on contemporary depictions of Germanic peoples, their art, and bog bodies.

Civitas Tropaensium Roman castrum in Constanţa, Romania

Civitas Tropaensium was a Roman castrum situated in Scythia Minor in modern Constanţa County, Romania. Its site is now the modern settlement of Adamclisi. It was colonized with Roman veterans of the Dacian Wars, was the largest Roman city of Scythia Minor and became a municipium around 200AD.

Dacian warfare warfare involving the Dacian people

The history of Dacian warfare spans from c. 10th century BC up to the 2nd century AD in the region defined by Ancient Greek and Latin historians as Dacia, populated by a collection of Thracian, Ionian, and Dorian tribes. It concerns the armed conflicts of the Dacian tribes and their kingdoms in the Balkans. Apart from conflicts between Dacians and neighboring nations and tribes, numerous wars were recorded among Dacians too.

Decimus Terentius Scaurianus Roman officer and politician

Decimus Terentius Scaurianus was a Roman senator and general active in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries AD. He was suffect consul in either the year 102 or 104. He worked his way up through increasingly responsible positions. He commanded a legion from 96 to 98 and again during the Second Dacian War. After the war he was military governor of the newly conquered province from 106 to 111. He is known to have been decorated for his military service.

Trajanic art is the artistic production of the Roman Empire during the reign of Emperor Trajan from 98 to 117. In this period, Roman art further developed the innovations of the Flavian era, coming to definitively detach itself from Hellenistic influence.


  1. F.B Florescu Das Siegesdenksmal von Adamclisi: Tropaeum Traiani (1965)
  2. 1 2 "Tropaeum Traiani".
  3. "1900 Years since the Inauguration of Tropaeum Trajani from Adamclisi - 10 lei silver 2009 - Romanian Coins".
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Vasile Barbu, Cristian Schuster Grigore G. Tocilescu si "Cestiunea Adamclisi" Pagini din Istoria Arheologiei Romanesti ISBN   7-379-25580-0
  6. Cimec


Coordinates: 44°06′07″N27°57′18″E / 44.102°N 27.955°E / 44.102; 27.955