The inscription in situ, Oct 1963. Courtesy James Mosley The Trajan column, located between the Greek and Latin libraries in front of the Basilica Ulpia in the Forum of Trajan, is a doric column with a spiral frieze, carved in low relief, depicting Emperor Trajan’s own account of his conquest of Decebalus and the annexation of Dacia (the campaigns of 101–102 and 105–106 AD). The monument, designed by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, was erected between 106–113 AD and dedicated in May 113. There is much to be said about the columns’ design1 and construction, or the frieze’s art, or the monument’s archeology and history, but, instead, lets just focus on the inscription on the base. The inscription (six lines and 37 words, many of which are abbreviated) is essentially a simple dedication of the monument. The letterforms, however, represent perhaps the most elegant, and certainly the most celebrated, example of the Roman letter. The inscription has served as the model Roman alphabet for almost two millennia.
Trajan is an old style serif typeface designed in 1989 by Carol Twombly for Adobe. The design is based on the letterforms of capitalis monumentalis or Roman square capitals, as used for the inscription at the base of Trajan's Column from which the typeface takes its name. Since the inscription and its writing form manifests in only one case, Trajan is an all-capitals typeface. Instead, small caps are commonly used, and a more complete set of glyphs contained in Trajan Pro (a 2001 update of the original typeface) includes a lower case of small caps.