Trajan’s memorial plaque
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The Tabula Traiana is an inscription carved into a rock beside the Danube in the Đerdap Gorge, 2.5 km upriver from Tekija, dedicated to the Roman emperor Trajan. It is part of a group of classical monuments on the Roman road, which also includes the remains of the bridge built by Trajan across the Danube. Trajan’s plaque was originally located 1.5 m above the Roman road by the Danube. In 1969, the plaque, together with part of the road, was cut out and transported to a higher level in order to protect it from the increased water levels in the Danube caused by the construction of the Đerdap I hydroelectric power station.

Based on the inscription it is thought that part of the Đerdap road in the lower Gorge was built by Trajan as part of his plans for the war against the Dacians, and that this last and most difficult section was finished in 100 AD. The construction of the Roman road and the large number of fortifications point to the significance of Đerdap to the Roman Empire up until the final conquest of Dacia at the beginning of the 2nd century.

The inscription on the plaque is written inside the form of a tabula ansata, inscribed across six rows, of which only three can today be clearly distinguished. Of its ornate reliefs, only a freize depicting an eagle and the figures of winged genies have been preserved. Below the inscription is a kneeling figure, probably Danubius, the river-God. The cassettes are decorated with rosettes and depictions of eagles with outstretched wings, while to the side is a relief of two dolphins.

Translated from Latin, the inscription on Trajan’s plaque reads, “Emperor Caesar son of the divine Nerva, Nerva Trajan Augustus, victor over the Germans, Pontifex Maximus, invested for the fourth time as Tribune, Father of the Fatherland, Consul for the third time, excavating mountain rocks and using wood beams has made this road.”

INFORMATION

National Museum, Belgrade
Đerdap Archaeological Museum
Trg kralja Petra bb, 19320 Kladovo
tel: +381 (0)19 803-900
www.narodnimuzej.rs
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