The Marcus Aurelius column and Slovakia
In the 1st up to the 4th century, the territory of Slovakia, which at the time was by members of Germanic tribes, was in close contact with the classical world. In addition to trade and cultural influences, wars between the Romans and Germans were waged. The most severe battles took place from 160 to 180 A.D., during the Marcomannic Wars, in which the Romans led by Emperor Marcus Aurelius emerged victorious. However, after the emperor died on the battlefield, a victim of plague, a 30-metre triumphal column was erected in Rome in his honour. And it stands there today. The column features depictions of battles, some of which took place in the territory of Slovakia. In the late 19th century, copies of some of the scenes were taken and deposited in Berlin. Workers of the SNM – Archaeological Museum examined them, made casts of three scenes (the Roman border, the “miraculous rain” and the taking of Barbarians into captivity) and transported to the museum, where they are still exhibited. Their importance is emphasized by the fact that they represent the oldest iconographic documentation from the Slovak territory.