Tropaeum Traiani

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1977 reconstruction of the Tropaeum Traiani. Tropaeum Traiani from the North.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").

Civitas Tropaensium

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.

Adamclisi Commune in Constanța County, Romania

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

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.


Trajan's monument was inspired by the Augustus mausoleum, and was dedicated to the god 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]

Mausoleum of Augustus building in Campo Marzio, Italy

The Mausoleum of Augustus is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC on the Campus Martius in Rome, Italy. The mausoleum is located on the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, near the corner with Via di Ripetta as it runs along the Tiber. The grounds cover an area equivalent to a few city blocks, and nestle between the church of San Carlo al Corso and the Museum of the Ara Pacis. The mausoleum is currently in the process of a restoration with a prospective completion date of April 2019, upon which it will open to the public.

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.

Mortar (masonry) workable paste used to bind building blocks

Mortar is a workable paste used to bind building blocks such as stones, bricks, and concrete masonry units, fill and seal the irregular gaps between them, and sometimes add decorative colors or patterns in masonry walls. In its broadest sense mortar includes pitch, asphalt, and soft mud or clay, such as used between mud bricks. Mortar comes from Latin mortarium meaning crushed.


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 previous his 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 ...

Nerva Emperor of Ancient Rome

Nerva was Roman emperor from 96 to 98. Nerva became emperor aged almost 66, after a lifetime of imperial service under Nero and the rulers of the Flavian dynasty. Under Nero, he was a member of the imperial entourage and played a vital part in exposing the Pisonian conspiracy of 65. Later, as a loyalist to the Flavians, he attained consulships in 71 and 90 during the reigns of Vespasian and Domitian, respectively.

Pater Patriae, also seen as Parens Patriae, is a Latin honorific meaning "Father of the Country", or more literally, "Father of the Fatherland". It is also used of U.S. President George Washington, Italian King Victor Emmanuel II and Swedish King Gustav I.

Medusa monster from Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Medusa was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Those who gazed upon her face would turn to stone. Most sources describe her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, though the author Hyginus makes her the daughter of Gorgon and Ceto. According to Hesiod and Aeschylus, she lived and died on an island named Sarpedon, somewhere near Cisthene. The 2nd-century BCE novelist Dionysios Skytobrachion puts her somewhere in Libya, where Herodotus had said the Berbers originated her myth, as part of their religion.


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.


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]

Constantin C. Giurescu was a Romanian historian, member of Romanian Academy, and professor at the University of Bucharest. Born in Focşani, son of historian Constantin Giurescu, he completed his primary and secondary studies in Bucharest. In 1923, he graduated with a doctorate from the University of Bucharest with the thesis "Contributions to the studies of great dignitaries of the 14th and 15th century." He completed his education at the Romanian School in Paris (1923–1925) and upon return, he began his teaching career. He was editor (1933) of the Romanian Historical Review and founder (1931) and director (1933) of the National Institute for History.

Danube river in Central Europe

The Danube, known by various names in other languages, is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.

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 an underground 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


  1. F.B Florescu Das Siegesdenksmal von Adamclisi: Tropaeum Traiani (1965)
  2. 1 2
  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

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