Bibujo de la Columna Trajana en Roma
Picture of
Traianian Column at Rome

One of the main objectives of Rome, after conquering lands, was integrating them in Roman world, not only in its politicl system, but also in social and cultural one. That is "romanizing" them. When people in a country felt themselves a part of "Roman world" they would never raise against governement, since their land was a part of it. In order to get it Romans used elements to remember their people that they belonged to a great Empire. Romans constructed monumental public buildings for leisure, temples for worship and a good urban structure. They also set idyllic statues of the different Caesars and Emperors and commerative buildings of events, specially great war triumphs.
Unfortunately, many of these buildings are nowadays lost: since they got a military meaning, they were destructed or ruined when Roman Empire lost its authority.
Most widespread Roman commemorative buildings were triumphal archs and columns.
  • Triumphal archs
    Arco de un vano
    Arch with one gate

    They were usually placed at the main entrance of cities in order to remember travellers and inhabitants the Greatness and Strenght of Roman world. At the beginning they were wooden archs where trophies and richness from wars were shown. This habitude changed: Romans built commemorative archs with inscriptions. They were a Roman creation and they succeded: many of them have been constructed until the present days.
    Archs were used not only for commemorating Roman victories or military generals: they also marked limits between provincial borders.
Looking at their structure and elevations, archs can be divided into archs with one gate, with three or quadrilateral.
    • Archs with one gate.
      The single arch with one gate crowned by an entablature with an inscription. It is often based on columns or engaged pillars. Architrave on columns supports a cornice: There a text explaining the cause of its erection can be read. Triumphal archs built on bridges should also be mentioned in this section, though they are described in the page on engineering works -the Bridge of Alcantara BASIC INFORMATIONand Martorell one-.
      Arco de Cabanes
      Elevation of the Arch of Cabanes

      In Hispania can be found the:

    • Arch with three gates.
      Arco de tres vanos
      Triumphal archs with three gates
      Archs with three gates were the most usual in Roman world, but not in Hispania. They kept their habitual structure: two lateral small gates and a wider and higher central one. They were often used as "control gates" to cities: the central one -bigger than the others- were designed for carts and animals; lateral ones for people: one for entering, the other as exit.
      The only arch of this kind in Hispania is the famous Roman Arch in Medinaceli:

    • Four-sided arch.
      Arco cuadrifonte
      Four-sided arch: Plan and perspective.
      As its name shows it has four sides. Its square -or slightly rectangular- plan supports in each side an arch that -it is clear- directly communicates with its opposite and, in a perpendicular way, with the others.
      It is the rarest of all Roman archs in Hispania. It only remains one: Arch of Capera.

  • Commemorative columns
    Columnas conmemorativas
    Commemorative columns
    There are few samples of commemorative columns in Hispania, though they were probably more frequent than it could seem. Four columns in the province of Ourense, in San Juan del Rio are the most outstanding. Two of them show the inscriptions devoted to Emperors Flavius Claudius Julianus and Constantinus Augustus.
    "Three columns of Ciudad Rodrigo", are also important: they had the function of marking borders between provinces of Mirobriga and Lusitania. They can also be erected to the glory of Emperor August. Their inscription let us read:
    Its translation:
    Emperor Caesar Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, after holding for twenty-eight times the Power of Tribune, ordered in his thirteenth Consulate as a Pater of the Land that these places were the borders for Mirobriga and he wanted that it be as valid as those of Bletisa.
    Doubtless, the best instance of these works is the famous Traian Column at Rome. It is decorated with a spiral of relieves dealing with scenes of his campaignes in Danube and with inscriptions.