ROMAN SQUARE CAPITALS: The Trajan's Column Inscription

 SENATVS.POPVLVSQVE.ROMANVS IMP.CAESARI.DIVI.NERVAE.F.NERVAE TRAIANO.AVG.GERM.DACICO PONTIF MAXIMO.TRIB.POT.XVII.IMP.VI.COS.VI.P.P. ADDECLARANDVM.QVANTAE.ALTITVDINIS MONS.ET.LOCVS.TANT[......]IBVS.SIT.EGESTVS

Indicate a lacuna in the text (here because a piece of stone has been knocked off) by placing square brackets round a number of dots equal in number to the letters which you think are missing.

This transcription only shows what is there. See below for a version expanding the abbreviations.

Discussion

Here is the photograph of the whole inscription.

What are the implications of a script for carving?

Straight lines are easier to chisel than curved ones. That said, this sculptor is superb at curves.
More subtly, there are certain optical illusions.

 Notice how the diagonal letters V and A overlap. The starting point of V is directly above the finishing point of A. Because the diagonals are parallel to each other, there is still space between the letters. A good modern typeface will also do this: see the same letters in the transcription. The cross-strokes on E and B are about halfway up; cross-strokes on A and R are lower down. Can you see why this is?

Proportions and Aspect

 'Square': the aspect ratio of N and O is virtually 1:1.Well-spaced (measure width between letters). Upright: minims are vertical, head-, cross- and base-strokes are horizontal.

Why are there lines over some groups of letters?

These indicate that the letters in question are to be read as numbers.
 The Romans used the letters I for 1, V for 5, X for 10, L for 50, C for 100, D for 500, and M for 1000
as numerals. It is marginally possible that someone might try to read these letters as words.

Are there any 'modern' letters missing?

Transcription including abbreviations, and translation:

 SENATVS.POPVLVSQVE.ROMANVS IMPERATORI.CAESARI.DIVI.NERVAE.FILIO.NERVAE The Roman Senate and People to the Emperor, son of the deified Nerva, Nerva TRAIANO.AVGVSTO.GERMANICO.DACICO PONTIFICI MAXIMO.TRIBVNI.POTESTATIS.XVII.IMPERII.VI. CONSVLI.VI.PATRI.PATRIAE. Trajan Augustus Germanicus Dacicus, High Priest, in the 17th year of his office as Tribune, his 6th as Emperor, his 6th as Consul, Father of his Homeland, ADDECLARANDVM.QVANTAE.ALTITVDINIS MONS.ET.LOCVS.TANT[......]IBVS.SIT.EGESTVS in order to make clear of how much height, the hill and place [.......] should be excavated.

Notice that expanded abbreviations are indicated by underlining. Gaps in the text are shown in square brackets. The letters you estimate are missing are shown by dots.

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