Trajan’s Column is a monument to Emperor Trajan’s victory in the wars with Dacia that took place between the years 101 and 106. It was part of a sequence of constructions built by or dedicated to Trajan. Over time, running from north-west to south-east, these included the Temple of Trajan, the Column itself that was flanked by two libraries, the Basilica Ulpia and the large expanse of Trajan’s main forum square.
This description assumes that you are standing in the middle of the curve viewing perimeter looking towards the Column. Positioned there, the Temple of Trajan would have been behind you as its remains lie underneath the Palazzo Valentini.
The libraries flanked immediately to the left and right sides of the Column. Sections of the parallel inner columns that define Basilica Ulpia’s main hall can be seen beyond Trajan’s Column. Trajan’s main forum square would have been hidden from view behind the Basilica as would his market, which is over of the far left.
In as much as this is possible, the carvings on the column appear to have been intended to be viewed from this north-west vantage point with key scenes in the narrative always shown on this side.
It is most notable today because of the exquisitely detailed relief work carved into the column, these give a clear narrative of Trajan's two victorious military campaigns.