Tropaeum Traiani

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 the god Mars Ultor in 107/108 AD. 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 decorated with a large inscription dedicated to Mars Ultor (the avenger). The inscription has been preserved fragmentarily from two sides of the trophy hexagone, so it could be reconstructed as follows:


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

----]E 31.[2]

The inscription from the main monument can be translated in this way:

"To Mars, the avenger, Caesar the emperor,

son of divine Nerva, Nerva
Trajan, Augustus, who defeated the Germans,
the Dacians, great priest,
for the 13th time tribune of the plebeians,
proclaimed emperor by the army for the 6th time, elected consul for the 5th time, father of our homeland,

after defeating 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

The monument was mentioned in 1801 by William Bentinck, still the manuscript was first published in 1874.

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

Main article: 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″N 27°57′18″E / 44.102°N 27.955°E / 44.102; 27.955

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