The controversial statue of Trajan symbolizing the birth of Romania

In the year 106 AD, after several military expeditions, Emperor Trajan (born in Itálica, Seville, on September 18, 53) managed to conquer Dacia.

The current state of Romania is located in a part of that vast region, whose Romanization is evident in multiple cultural aspects, from its own name to its language, the only one in the area with Latin origin.

To celebrate the blend of cultures that would give rise to what is now Romania, the Bucharest City Council commissioned artist Vasile Gorduz to create a commemorative statue symbolizing the birth of the new nation.

Gorduz, one of the most renowned sculptors in the country, as well as a professor of sculpture at the city’s National University of Arts, created the plaster mold from which Ioan Bolborea made the final bronze that, since November 2011, has been installed in front of the steps of the National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest (it was inaugurated in April 2012).

The statue, which is 2 meters and 15 centimeters high, shows the effigy of the naked emperor Trajan holding the she-wolf of the capital in his arms. This one has its head attached to the tail of a Dacian Dragon, the motif used by those tribes in their war banners.

In this way the two are symbolized parents of the Romanian state, the ancient Dacians and Rome in the figure of its emperor.

However, the statue has been the subject of controversy from the very moment of its inauguration. No one seems to quite understand why the emperor is completely naked and in a rather unusual and rigid posture. Also, his hands are not actually holding the wolf, which seems to be floating in the air.

Even the director of the museum himself came to express his doubts about the artistic quality of the work. But it also has defenders of it, such as Mihai Oroveanu, director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, for whom it is an authentic work of modern art.

In any case, the answers to all those questions will never be answered because Gorduz died in 2008 without leaving the matter resolved.

But there is more, because the statue is not unique. Gorduz created two other exact copies that are in Rome (in front of the Romanian Academy) and in Seville.

In the case of Seville, it is known as the Monument to Trajan and is located on Paseo de la O, in the Triana neighborhood. All the sculptures donated by communities and countries on the occasion of the Universal Exposition of 1992 are installed on this promenade.

On the pedestal on which it is located there are two inscriptions, the first referring to its donation by the Romanian government to the city. And the second says:

Trajan has built a bridge over the Danube. Cassius Dio. Roman history LXVIII.13.

Going back to the original Bucharest, with everything it has already become an icon of the city, and also one of the favorite places for its inhabitants to take photos with their pets, holding them in the same way as the statue.

Sources: Romania Insider / BBC / SevillaDirecto / Wikipedia.