Standing just north of the DN3 and the village of Adamaclisi, an armoured, faceless warrior gazes over the surrounding plateau from a height of 30m. This arresting marble figure is a reconstruction of the TROPAEUM TRAIANI, a trophy-statue erected here in 109 AD to celebrate Trajan’s conquest of the Dacians. Every facet reflects unabashed militarism, not least the dedication to Mars Ultor. Carved around the side of its 32m base are 49 bas-reliefs or metopes portraying the Roman campaign. Each of the six groups of metopes comprises a marching scene, a battle and a tableau representing victory over the enemy, an arrangement identical to the one that underlies scenes XXXVI–XLII of Trajan’s Column in Rome, a copy of which is in Bucharest’s National History Museum. Around the statue are ruins of buildings once inhabited by the legionary garrison or serving religious or funerary purposes.

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