The Just Verdict of Trajan


Object Place: Brussels, Flanders


327 x 359 cm (128 3/4 x 141 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wool warp; wool, silk, and gilt-silver wefts; tapestry

Not On View


Europe, Textiles and Fashion Arts



This tapestry depicts scenes from a medieval legend of the Roman Emperor, Trajan. The emperor had decreed that any convicted murderer must suffer the same fate as his victim. Trajan would not deviate from this ruling even when his own son was found guilty of drowning a playmate by accidentally pushing him in the Tiber river. Against all pleas clemency, Trajan had the crown prince thrown into the river. The miraculous resurrection and return of both boys signified Heaven’s approval of Trajan’s unfaltering application of justice.


Collection Lord Sackville, Knole, Kent. Collection J. Pierpont Morgan. Collection French and Company, New York. Collection George R. White, Boston. Collection Mrs. Harriet J. Bradbury, Boston. Bequest of Mrs. Harriet J. Bradbury, July 3, 1930.

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Harriet J. Bradbury