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Column by Marco Aurelio (Antonina)
The Column that stands in the center of the square having the same name was erected between the year of the death of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 180 AD, and 193 AD.
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It is about 98 feet in height and supported by a base of about 39 feet. The base consists of a plinth and a pedestal that held a funerary inscription now lost. The pedestal was decorated with reliefs that were lost during the restoration wanted by Pope Sixtus V and performed in 1589 by Domenico Fontana.
In that occasion the original bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius was replaced by the statue of St. Paul on the top of the Column. Inside the Column a spiral staircase is illuminated by small slit windows. The Column is inspired to the Column of Trajan and depicts the wars fought by Marcus Aurelius against the Germans (172-173) and the Sarmatae (174-175). The two campaigns are separated by a Winged Victory.
As in the Column of Trajan the story starts with the crossing of the Danube on a ponto on bridge, followed by scenes of marches, building of camps, battles, sieges and speeches to the troops. The Emperor is almost always represented frontally to accentuate his majesty. The reliefs of the Column of Marcus Aurelius are realized with strong light and shade effects that allow a good view also from below. They are probably less refined than the ones on the Column of Trajan, but probably more expressive.
Piazza Colonna, Rome
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