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The Column of Marcus AureliusThe Genesis and Meaning of a Roman Imperial Monument$
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Martin Beckmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834619

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877777_beckmann

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Planning & Construction

Planning & Construction

(p.68) Chapter Four Planning & Construction
The Column of Marcus Aurelius

Martin Beckmann

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the Column of Marcus Aurelius as a complex monument, combining architecture, relief carving, statuary, and an inscription into a single, unified whole. The planning of these different elements would have been a complicated, multistage process, an understanding of which could provide an idea of the relative significance of the column's different parts in the minds of the people who created it. Which elements were given greatest priority in planning? Which details were decided at the highest level? Were all elements of the column planned at the same time, or were some left to be resolved later? The construction challenges were as great as those of planning: massive blocks of stone had to be quarried in northern Italy, transported to Rome, finished to perfection, lifted to unprecedented heights, and assembled with unfailing accuracy. Some of these challenges, particularly the weight of the blocks and the height to which they were raised, exceeded those faced by the designers of Trajan's Column.

Keywords:   Marcus Aurelius, complex monument, construction challenges, Trajan's Column, architecture

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