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Optimus Princeps
Ancient Roman religion

Trajan (

greatest territorial extent by the time of his death. He was given the title of Optimus ('the best') by the Roman Senate

Trajan was born in the

Antonius Saturninus. He then served as governor of Germania and Pannonia. In September 96, Domitian was succeeded by the elderly and childless Nerva, who proved to be unpopular with the army. After a revolt by members of the Praetorian Guard
, Nerva decided to adopt as his heir and successor the more popular Trajan, who had distinguished himself in military campaigns against Germanic tribes.

As emperor of Rome, Trajan oversaw the construction of

social welfare policies such as the alimenta, and new military conquests. He annexed Nabataea and Dacia, and his war against the Parthian Empire ended with the incorporation of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria as Roman provinces. In August AD 117, while sailing back to Rome, Trajan fell ill and died of a stroke in the city of Selinus. He was deified by the senate and his successor Hadrian (Trajan's cousin). According to historical tradition, Trajan's ashes were entombed in a small room beneath Trajan's Column


As an emperor, Trajan's reputation has endured – he is one of the few rulers whose reputation has survived 19 centuries. Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the wish

Five Good Emperors, of whom Trajan was the second.[4]

An account of the

Byzantine abridgements and epitomes, is the main source for the political history of Trajan's rule.[6] Besides this, Pliny the Younger's Panegyricus and Dio Chrysostom's orations are the best surviving contemporary sources. Both are adulatory perorations, typical of the High Imperial period, that describe an idealized monarch and an equally idealized view of Trajan's rule, and concern themselves more with ideology than with fact.[7]

The 10th volume of Pliny's letters contains his correspondence with Trajan, which deals with various aspects of imperial Roman government. It is generally agreed that Pliny, being part of the emperor's inner circle, provides a unique and valuable source of information through his letters with Trajan, the only surviving correspondence between a governor and his emperor. However, it has been argued that Pliny's correspondence with Trajan is neither intimate nor candid, but rather an exchange of official mail in which Pliny's stance borders on the servile. Some authors have even proposed that much of the text was written and/or edited by Trajan's Imperial secretary, his ab epistulis. [8][9][10][11] Given the scarcity of literary sources, discussion of Trajan and his rule in modern historiography cannot avoid speculation. Non-literary sources such as archaeology, epigraphy, and numismatics are also useful for reconstructing his reign.[12]

Early life

Gold aureus of Trajan depicting him alongside his namesake father, c. AD 115.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus was born on 18 September AD 53 in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica[16] (in what is now Andalusia in modern Spain), in the municipium of Italica (now in the municipal area of Santiponce, in the outskirts of Seville), a Roman colony established in 206 BC by Scipio Africanus.[17][18][19] At the time of Trajan's birth it was a small town, without baths, theatre and amphitheatre, and with a very narrow territory under its direct administration.[19] Trajan's year of birth is not reliably attested and may instead have been AD 56.[20]

The epitome of Cassius Dio's Roman history describes Trajan as "an Iberian and neither an Italian nor even an Italiote", but this claim is contradicted by other ancient sources and rejected by modern scholars, who have reconstructed Trajan's Italic lineage.

Osco-Umbrian origin.[28][29][30][31]

It is unknown whether Trajan's ancestors were

Roman citizens or not at their arrival in Spain. They would have certainly possessed Roman citizenship in case they arrived after the Social War (91–87 BC)
, when Tuder became a municipium of Roman citizens. In Spain they may well have intermarried with native Iberians, in which case they would have lost their citizenship. Had they lacked or lost the status of Roman citizens, they would have achieved it or recovered it when Italica became a municipium with Latin rights in the mid-1st century BC.

Trajan's paternal grandfather

(the home of the Flavian dynasty) and believed to be the home of Marcia's family.

The line of the Ulpii continued long after Trajan's death. His elder sister was

Narbonense, here above all through Pompeia Plotina, Trajan's wife.[19][37] Many of these alliances were made not in Spain, but in Rome.[37] The family home in Rome, the Domus Traiana, was on the Aventine Hill; excavations under the Piazza del Tempio di Diana found remains thought to be of the family's large suburban villa, with evidence of highly decorated rooms.[36]

Military career

civic crown and military garb such as a muscle cuirass, 2nd century AD, Antalya Archaeological Museum

As a young man Trajan rose through the ranks of the

Tribunus legionis. From there, after his father's replacement, he seems to have been transferred to an unspecified Rhine province, and Pliny implies that he engaged in active combat duty during both commissions.[38]

In about 86, Trajan's cousin

Paulina orphans. Trajan and his colleague Publius Acilius Attianus became co-guardians of the two children.[39] Trajan, in his late thirties, was created ordinary consul for the year 91. This early appointment may reflect the prominence of his father's career, as his father had been instrumental to the ascent of the ruling Flavian dynasty, held consular rank himself and had just been made a patrician.[40] Around this time Trajan brought the architect and engineer Apollodorus of Damascus with him to Rome,[41] and married Pompeia Plotina, a noblewoman from the Roman settlement at Nîmes; the marriage ultimately remained childless.[42]

The historian Cassius Dio later noted that Trajan was a lover

bisexual activity that was common among upper-class Roman men of the period. The emperor Julian also made a sardonic reference to his predecessor's sexual preference, stating that Zeus himself would have had to be on guard had his Ganymede come within Trajan's vicinity.[43] This distaste reflected a change of mores that began with the Severan dynasty,[44] Trajan's putative lovers included the future emperor, Hadrian, pages of the imperial household, the actor Pylades, a dancer called Apolaustus, Lucius Licinius Sura, and Trajan's predecessor Nerva.[43] Cassius Dio also relates that Trajan made an ally out of Abgar VII
on account of the latter's beautiful son, Arbandes, who would then dance for Trajan at a banquet.

The details of Trajan's early military career are obscure, save for the fact that in 89, as legate of

Antonius Saturninus, the governor of Germania Superior.[45] Trajan probably remained in the region after the revolt was quashed, to engage with the Chatti who had sided with Saturninus, before returning the VII Gemina legion to Legio in Hispania Tarraconensis.[46] In 91 he held a consulate with Acilius Glabrio, a rarity in that neither consul was a member of the ruling dynasty. He held an unspecified consular commission as governor of either Pannonia or Germania Superior, or possibly both. Pliny – who seems to deliberately avoid offering details that would stress personal attachment between Trajan and the "tyrant" Domitian – attributes to him, at the time, various (and unspecified) feats of arms.[47]

Rise to power

Bust of Nerva, who became emperor following the assassination of Domitian

Domitian's successor, Nerva, was unpopular with the army, and had been forced by his Praetorian Prefect Casperius Aelianus to execute Domitian's killers.[48] Nerva needed the army's support to avoid being ousted. He accomplished this in the summer of 97 by naming Trajan as his adoptive son and successor, claiming that this was entirely due to Trajan's outstanding military merits.[47] There are hints, however, in contemporary literary sources that Trajan's adoption was imposed on Nerva. Pliny implied as much when he wrote that, although an emperor could not be coerced into doing something, if this was the way in which Trajan was raised to power, then it was worth it. Alice König argues that the notion of a natural continuity between Nerva's and Trajan's reigns was an ex post facto fiction developed by authors writing under Trajan, including Tacitus and Pliny.[49]

According to the

Licinius Mucianus.[54] Sura is said to have informed Hadrian in 108 that he had been chosen as Trajan's imperial heir.[55]

As governor of Upper Germany (Germania Superior) during Nerva's reign, Trajan received the impressive title of Germanicus for his skilful management and rule of the volatile Imperial province.

Attius Suburanus.[60] Trajan's accession, therefore, could qualify more as a successful coup than an orderly succession.[61]

Roman emperor

On his entry to Rome, Trajan granted the plebs a direct gift of money. The traditional donative to the troops, however, was reduced by half.[62] There remained the issue of the strained relations between the emperor and the Senate, especially after the supposed bloodiness that had marked Domitian's reign and his dealings with the Curia. By feigning reluctance to hold power, Trajan was able to start building a consensus around him in the Senate.[63] His belated ceremonial entry into Rome in 99 was notably understated, something on which Pliny the Younger elaborated.[64] By not openly supporting Domitian's preference for equestrian officers,[65] Trajan appeared to conform to the idea (developed by Pliny) that an emperor derived his legitimacy from his adherence to traditional hierarchies and senatorial morals.[66] Therefore, he could point to the allegedly republican character of his rule.[67]

In a speech at the inauguration of his third consulship, on 1 January 100, Trajan exhorted the senate to share the care-taking of the empire with him – an event later celebrated on a coin.

Achaea and Bithynia into imperial ones in order to deal with the inordinate spending on public works by local magnates[72] and the general mismanagement of provincial affairs by various proconsuls appointed by the Senate.[73]

Optimus princeps

Statue of Trajan, posing in military garb, in front of the Amphitheatre of Colonia Ulpia Traiana in the Xanten Archaeological Park in modern-day Germany

In the formula developed by Pliny, however, Trajan was a "good" emperor in that, by himself, he approved or blamed the same things that the Senate would have approved or blamed.[74] If in reality Trajan was an autocrat, his deferential behavior towards his peers qualified him to be viewed as a virtuous monarch.[75] The idea is that Trajan wielded autocratic power through moderatio instead of contumacia – moderation instead of insolence.[76] In short, according to the ethics for autocracy developed by most political writers of the Imperial Roman Age, Trajan was a good ruler in that he ruled less by fear, and more by acting as a role model, for, according to Pliny, "men learn better from examples".[77] Eventually, Trajan's popularity among his peers was such that the Roman Senate bestowed upon him the honorific of optimus, meaning "the best",[78][79] which appears on coins from 105 on.[80] This title had mostly to do with Trajan's role as benefactor, such as in the case of his returning confiscated property.[81]

Pliny states that Trajan's ideal role was a conservative one, argued as well by the orations of Dio Chrysostom—in particular his four Orations on Kingship, composed early during Trajan's reign. Dio, as a Greek notable and intellectual with friends in high places, and possibly an official friend to the emperor (amicus caesaris), saw Trajan as a defender of the status quo.[82][83] In his third kingship oration, Dio describes an ideal king ruling by means of "friendship" – that is, through patronage and a network of local notables who act as mediators between the ruled and the ruler.[84] Dio's notion of being "friend" to Trajan (or any other Roman emperor), however, was that of an informal arrangement, that involved no formal entry of such "friends" into the Roman administration.[85] Trajan ingratiated himself with the Greek intellectual elite by recalling to Rome many (including Dio) who had been exiled by Domitian,[86] and by returning (in a process begun by Nerva) a great deal of private property that Domitian had confiscated. He also had good dealings with Plutarch, who, as a notable of Delphi, seems to have been favoured by the decisions taken on behalf of his home-place by one of Trajan's legates, who had arbitrated a boundary dispute between Delphi and its neighbouring cities.[87]

However, it was clear to Trajan that Greek intellectuals and notables were to be regarded as tools for local administration, and not be allowed to fancy themselves in a privileged position.[88] As Pliny said in one of his letters at the time, it was official policy that Greek civic elites be treated according to their status as notionally free but not put on an equal footing with their Roman rulers.[89] When the city of Apamea complained of an audit of its accounts by Pliny, alleging its "free" status as a Roman colony, Trajan replied by writing that it was by his own wish that such inspections had been ordered. Concern about independent local political activity is seen in Trajan's decision to forbid Nicomedia from having a corps of firemen ("If people assemble for a common purpose ... they soon turn it into a political society", Trajan wrote to Pliny) as well as in his and Pliny's fears about excessive civic generosities by local notables such as distribution of money or gifts.[90]

Pliny's letters suggest that Trajan and his aides were as much bored as they were alarmed by the claims of Dio and other Greek notables to political influence based on what they saw as their "special connection" to their Roman overlords.

Hellenistic dynasts and client kings.[96]

Severus was the grandfather of the prominent general

Greek-Roman relations

Bust of Trajan wearing the Civic Crown, Glyptothek, Munich

As a senatorial Emperor, Trajan was inclined to choose his local base of political support from among the members of the ruling urban oligarchies. In the West, that meant local senatorial families like his own. In the East, that meant the families of Greek notables. The Greeks, though, had their own memories of independence – and a commonly acknowledged sense of cultural superiority – and, instead of seeing themselves as Roman, disdained Roman rule.[105] What the Greek oligarchies wanted from Rome was, above all, to be left in peace, to be allowed to exert their right to self-government (i.e., to be excluded from the provincial government, as was Italy) and to concentrate on their local interests.[106] This was something the Romans were not disposed to do as from their perspective the Greek notables were shunning their responsibilities in regard to the management of Imperial affairs – primarily in failing to keep the common people under control, thus creating the need for the Roman governor to intervene.[107] An excellent example of this Greek alienation was the personal role played by Dio of Prusa in his relationship with Trajan. Dio is described by Philostratus as Trajan's close friend, and Trajan as supposedly engaging publicly in conversations with Dio.[108]

Nevertheless, as a Greek local magnate with a taste for costly building projects and pretensions of being an important political agent for Rome,

technically free Greek cities.[111] The main goal was to curb the overenthusiastic spending on public works that served to channel ancient rivalries between neighbouring cities. As Pliny wrote to Trajan, this had as its most visible consequence a trail of unfinished or ill-kept public utilities.[112] Competition among Greek cities and their ruling oligarchies was mainly for marks of pre-eminence, especially for titles bestowed by the Roman emperor. Such titles were ordered in a ranking system that determined how the cities were to be outwardly treated by Rome.[113] The usual form that such rivalries took was that of grandiose building plans, giving the cities the opportunity to vie with each other over "extravagant, needless ... structures that would make a show".[114] A side effect of such extravagant spending was that junior and thus less wealthy members of the local oligarchies felt disinclined to present themselves to fill posts as local magistrates, positions that involved ever-increasing personal expense.[115] Roman authorities liked to play the Greek cities against one another[116]
 – something of which Dio of Prusa was fully aware:

[B]y their public acts [the Roman governors] have branded you as a pack of fools, yes, they treat you just like children, for we often offer children the most trivial things in place of things of greatest worth [...] In place of justice, in place of the freedom of the cities from spoliation or from the seizure of the private possessions of their inhabitants, in place of their refraining from insulting you [...] your governors hand you titles, and call you 'first' either by word of mouth or in writing; that done, they may thenceforth with impunity treat you as being the very last!"

gymnasium ... they will have to content with one that suits their real needs".[122] The first known corrector was charged with a commission "to deal with the situation of the free cities", as it was felt that the old method of ad hoc intervention by the Emperor and/or the proconsuls had not been enough to curb the pretensions of the Greek notables.[123] It is noteworthy that an embassy from Dio's city of Prusa was not favourably received by Trajan,[124] and that this had to do with Dio's chief objective, which was to elevate Prusa to the status of a free city, an "independent" city-state exempt from paying taxes to Rome.[125] Eventually, Dio gained for Prusa the right to become the head of the assize-district, conventus (meaning that Prusans did not have to travel to be judged by the Roman governor), but eleutheria (freedom, in the sense of full political autonomy) was denied.[126]

Eventually, it fell to Pliny, as imperial governor of Bithynia in 110 AD, to deal with the consequences of the financial mess wrought by Dio and his fellow civic officials.

Claudiopolis, where a public bath was built with the proceeds from the entrance fees paid by "supernumerary" members of the council, enrolled with Trajan's permission.[131] According to the Digest, Trajan decreed that when a city magistrate promised to achieve a particular public building, his heirs inherited responsibility for its completion.[132]

Building projects

Supporting piers of Trajan's Bridge on the right bank of the Danube, in modern Serbia. Its wooden superstructure was dismantled by Hadrian, presumably to reduce the threat of invasion from the north.[133]

Trajan was a prolific builder. Many of his buildings were designed and erected by the gifted architect Apollodorus of Damascus, including a massive bridge over the Danube, which the Roman army and its reinforcements could use regardless of weather; the Danube sometimes froze over in winter, but seldom enough to bear the passage of a party of soldiers.[134] Trajan's works at the Iron Gates region of the Danube created or enlarged the boardwalk road cut into the cliff-face along the Iron Gate's gorge.[135] A canal was built between the Danube's Kasajna tributary and Ducis Pratum, circumventing rapids and cataracts.[136]


Forum Traiani was Rome's largest forum. It was built to commemorate his victories in Dacia, and was largely financed from that campaign's loot.[137] To accommodate it, parts of the Capitoline and Quirinal Hills had to be removed, the latter enlarging a clear area first established by Domitian. Apollodorus of Damascus' "magnificent" design incorporated a Triumphal arch entrance, a forum space approximately 120 m long and 90m wide, surrounded by peristyles: a monumentally sized basilica: and later, Trajan's Column and libraries. It was started in 107 AD, dedicated on 1 January 112, and remained in use for at least 500 years. It still drew admiration when Emperor Constantius II visited Rome in the fourth century.[137] It accommodated Trajan's Market, and an adjacent brick market.[138][139]

Trajan was also a prolific builder of triumphal arches, many of which survive. He built roads, such as the

Brundisium[140] and the Via Traiana Nova, a mostly military road between Damascus and Aila, which Rome employed in its annexation of Nabataea and founding of Arabia Province.[141]

Emperor Trajan in Pharonic aspect with hieroglyph name (), making offerings to Egyptian Gods, on the Roman Mammisi at the Dendera Temple complex, Egypt.[142][143]

Some historians attribute the construction or reconstruction of

propylon of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. His cartouche also appears in the column shafts of the Temple of Khnum at Esna.[142]

He built palatial villas outside Rome at



Trajan invested heavily in the provision of popular amusements. He carried out a "massive reconstruction" of the Circus Maximus, which was already the empire's biggest and best appointed circuit for the immensely popular sport of chariot racing. The Circus also hosted religious theatrical spectacles and games, and public processions on a grand scale. Trajan's reconstruction, completed by 103, was modestly described by Trajan himself as "adequate" for the Roman people. It replaced flammable wooden seating tiers with stone, and increased the Circus' already vast capacity by about 5,000 seats. Its lofty, elevated Imperial viewing box was rebuilt among the seating tiers, so that spectators could see their emperor sharing their enjoyment of the races, alongside his family and images of the gods,[145]

At some time during 108 or 109, Trajan held 123 days of games to celebrate his Dacian victory. They involved "fully 10,000" gladiators and the slaughter of thousands, "possibly tens of thousands," of animals, both wild and domestic.[146] Trajan's careful management of public spectacles led the orator Fronto to congratulate him for paying equal attention to public entertainments and more serious issues, acknowledging that "neglect of serious matters can cause greater damage, but neglect of amusements greater discontent".[147] State-funded public entertainments helped to maintain contentment among the populace; the more "serious matter" of the corn dole aimed to satisfy individuals.[148]


In red, Christian communities in the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan.

During the period of peace that followed the Dacian war, Trajan exchanged letters with Pliny the Younger on how best to deal with the Christians of Pontus. Trajan told Pliny to continue prosecutions of Christians if they merited that, but not to accept anonymous or malicious denunciations. He considered this to be in the interests of justice, and to reflect "the spirit of the age". Non-citizens who admitted to being Christians and refused to recant were to be executed "for obstinacy". Citizens were sent to Rome for trial.[149]

Further tests faced by Christians in Pontus are alluded to in correspondence between Pliny the Younger, governor of the Roman province of Bithynia and Pontus, and Emperor Trajan. Writing from Pontus in about 112 C.E., Pliny reported that the "contagion" of Christianity threatened everyone, regardless of gender, age, or rank. Pliny gave those accused of being Christians opportunity to deny it, and those who would not, he executed. Any who cursed Christ or recited a prayer to the gods or to Trajan’s statue were released. Pliny acknowledged that these were things that "those who are really Christians cannot be made to do."

Currency and welfare

In 107, Trajan devalued the Roman currency, decreasing the silver content of the denarius from 93.5% to 89.0% – the actual silver weight dropping from 3.04 grams to 2.88 grams.[150] This devaluation, along with the massive amounts of gold and silver acquired through his Dacian wars, allowed Trajan to mint many more denarii than his predecessors. He also withdrew from circulation silver denarii minted before Nero's devaluation. Trajan's devaluation may have had a political intent, enabling planned increases in civil and military spending.[151] Trajan formalised the alimenta, a welfare program that helped orphans and poor children throughout Italy by providing cash, food and subsidized education. The program was supported out of Dacian War booty, estate taxes and philanthropy.[152] The alimenta also relied indirectly on mortgages secured against Italian farms (fundi). Registered landowners received a lump sum from the imperial treasury, and in return were expected to repay an annual sum to support the alimentary fund.[153]

Military campaigns

Conquest of Dacia

Trajan's Column, Rome

Trajan took the Roman empire to its greatest expanse. The earliest conquests were Rome's two wars against Dacia, an area that had troubled Roman politics for over a decade in regard to the unstable peace negotiated by Domitian's ministers with the powerful Dacian king Decebalus.[154] Dacia would be reduced by Trajan's Rome to a client kingdom in the first war (101–102), followed by a second war that ended in actual incorporation into the Empire of the trans-Danube border group of Dacia.[154] According to the provisions of Decebalus's earlier treaty with Rome, made in the time of Domitian, Decebalus was acknowledged as rex amicus, that is, client king; in exchange for accepting client status, he received from Rome both a generous stipend and a steady supply of technical experts.[155] The treaty seems to have allowed Roman troops the right of passage through the Dacian kingdom in order to attack the Marcomanni, Quadi and Sarmatians. However, senatorial opinion never forgave Domitian for paying what was seen as tribute to a barbarian king.[156] Unlike the Germanic tribes, the Dacian kingdom was an organized state capable of developing alliances of its own,[157] thus making it a strategic threat and giving Trajan a strong motive to attack it.[158]

In May of 101, Trajan launched his first campaign into the Dacian kingdom,

Iron Gates of Transylvania. It was not a decisive victory, however.[160] Trajan's troops took heavy losses in the encounter, and he put off further campaigning for the year in order to regroup and reinforce his army.[161] Nevertheless, the battle was considered a Roman victory and Trajan strived to ultimately consolidate his position, including other major engagements, as well as the capture of Decebalus' sister as depicted on Trajan's Column.[162]

The following winter, Decebalus took the initiative by launching a counter-attack across the Danube further downstream, supported by Sarmatian cavalry,[163] forcing Trajan to come to the aid of the troops in his rearguard. The Dacians and their allies were repulsed after two battles in Moesia, at Nicopolis ad Istrum and Adamclisi.[164] Trajan's army then advanced further into Dacian territory, and, a year later, forced Decebalus to submit. He had to renounce claim to some regions of his kingdom, return runaways from Rome then under his protection (most of them technical experts), and surrender all his war machines.[165] Trajan returned to Rome in triumph and was granted the title Dacicus.[166] The peace of 102 had returned Decebalus to the condition of more or less harmless client king; however, he soon began to rearm, to again harbour Roman runaways, and to pressure his Western neighbours, the Iazyges Sarmatians, into allying themselves with him. Through his efforts to develop an anti-Roman bloc, Decebalus prevented Trajan from treating Dacia as a protectorate instead of an outright conquest.[167] In 104, Decebalus devised an attempt on Trajan's life by means of some Roman deserters, a plan that failed. Decebalus also took prisoner Trajan's legate Longinus, who eventually poisoned himself while in custody. Finally, in 105, Decebalus undertook an invasion of Roman-occupied territory north of the Danube.[168][169]

Portrait of King Decebalus in the Cartea omului matur (1919)

Prior to the campaign, Trajan had raised two entirely new legions:

Pannonia.[168][170] By 105, the concentration of Roman troops assembled in the middle and lower Danube amounted to fourteen legions (up from nine in 101) – about half of the entire Roman army.[171] Even after the Dacian wars, the Danube frontier would permanently replace the Rhine as the main military axis of the Roman Empire.[172] Including auxiliaries, the number of Roman troops engaged on both campaigns was between 150,000 and 175,000, while Decebalus could dispose of up to 200,000.[160] Other estimates for the Roman forces involved in Trajan's second Dacian War cite around 86,000 for active campaigning with large reserves retained in the proximal provinces, and potentially much lower numbers around 50,000 for Decebalus' depleted forces and absent allies.[173]

In a fierce campaign that seems to have consisted mostly of static warfare, the Dacians, devoid of manoeuvring room, kept to their network of fortresses, which the Romans sought systematically to storm

Second Dacian War). The Romans gradually tightened their grip around Decebalus' stronghold in Sarmizegetusa Regia,[172] which they finally took and destroyed. A controversial scene on Trajan's column just before the fall of Sarmizegetusa Regia suggests that Decebalus may have offered poison to his remaining men as an alternative option to capture or death while trying to flee the besieged capital with him.[173] Decebalus fled but, when later cornered by Roman cavalry, committed suicide. His severed head, brought to Trajan by the cavalryman Tiberius Claudius Maximus,[175] was later exhibited in Rome on the steps leading up to the Capitol and thrown on the Gemonian stairs.[176] The famous Dacian treasures were not found in the captured capital and their whereabouts were only revealed when a Dacian nobleman called Bikilis was captured. Decebalus’ treasures had been buried under a temporarily diverted river and the captive workers executed to retain the secret. Staggering amounts of gold and silver were found and packed off to fill Rome's coffers.[173]

The amphitheater at Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa

Trajan built a new city,

decurions, aediles, etc.).[178] Urban life in Roman Dacia seems to have been restricted to Roman colonists, mostly military veterans;[179] there is no extant evidence for the existence in the province of peregrine cities. Native Dacians continued to live in scattered rural settlements, according to their own ways.[180] In another arrangement with no parallels in any other Roman province, the existing quasi-urban Dacian settlements disappeared after the Roman conquest.[181]

A number of unorganized urban settlements (

Carpathians.[172] This may have been intended as a basis for further expansion within Eastern Europe, as the Romans believed the region to be much more geographically "flattened", and thus easier to traverse, than it actually was; they also underestimated the distance from those vaguely defined borders to the ocean.[186]

, London

Defence of the province was entrusted to a single legion, the

equestrian rank (procurator aurariarum).[190] On the other hand, commercial agricultural exploitation on the villa model, based on the centralized management of a huge landed estate by a single owner (fundus) was poorly developed.[191] Therefore, use of slave labor in the province itself seems to have been relatively undeveloped, and epigraphic evidence points to work in the gold mines being conducted by means of labor contracts (locatio conductio rei) and seasonal wage-earning.[192] The victory was commemorated by the construction both of the 102 cenotaph generally known as the Tropaeum Traiani in Moesia, as well of the much later (113) Trajan's Column in Rome, the latter depicting in stone carved bas-reliefs the Dacian Wars' most important moments.[193]

Nabataean annexation

In 106,

Hegra, over 300 kilometres (190 mi) south-west of Petra.[195] The empire gained what became the province of Arabia Petraea (modern southern Jordan and northwest Saudi Arabia).[196] At this time, a Roman road (Via Traiana Nova) was built from Aila (now Aqaba) in Limes Arabicus to Bosrah.[197] As Nabataea was the last client kingdom in Asia west of the Euphrates, the annexation meant that the entire Roman East had been provincialized, completing a trend towards direct rule that had begun under the Flavians.[194]

Parthian campaign

Anatolia, western Caucasus and northern Levant under Trajan

In 113, Trajan embarked on his last campaign, provoked by Parthia's decision to put an unacceptable king on the throne of Armenia, a kingdom over which the two great empires had shared hegemony since the time of Nero some fifty years earlier. Trajan, already in Syria early in 113, consistently refused to accept diplomatic approaches from the Parthians intended to settle the Armenian imbroglio peacefully.[198] As the surviving literary accounts of Trajan's Parthian War are fragmentary and scattered,[199] it is difficult to assign them a proper context, something that has led to a long-running controversy about its precise happenings and ultimate aims.

Cause of the war

Modern historians advance the possibility that Trajan's decision to wage war against Parthia had economic motives: after Trajan's annexation of Arabia, he built a new road,

Charax on the Persian Gulf was the sole remaining western terminus of the Indian trade route outside direct Roman control,[201] and such control was important in order to lower import prices and to limit the supposed drain of precious metals created by the deficit in Roman trade with the Far East.[202] That Charax traded with the Roman Empire, there can be no doubt, as its actual connections with merchants from Palmyra during the period are well documented in a contemporary Palmyrene epigraph, which tells of various Palmyrene citizens honoured for holding office in Charax.[203] Also, Charax's rulers domains at the time possibly included the Bahrain islands, which offered the possibility of extending Roman hegemony into the Persian Gulf itself.[204] (A Palmyrene citizen held office as satrap over the islands shortly after Trajan's death,[205] though the appointment was made by a Parthian king of Charax.[206]) The rationale behind Trajan's campaign, in this case, was one of breaking down a system of Far Eastern trade through small Semitic ("Arab") cities under Parthia's control and to put it under Roman control instead.[207]

Aureus issued by Trajan to celebrate the conquest of Parthia. Inscription: IMP. CAES. NER. TRAIAN. OPTIM. AVG. GER. DAC. PARTHICO / P. M., TR. P., CO[N]S. VI, P. P., S.P.Q.R. – PARTHIA CAPTA

In his Dacian conquests, Trajan had already resorted to Syrian auxiliary units, whose veterans, along with Syrian traders, had an important role in the subsequent colonization of Dacia.[208] He had recruited Palmyrene units into his army, including a camel unit,[209] therefore apparently procuring Palmyrene support to his ultimate goal of annexing Charax. It has even been ventured that, when earlier in his campaign Trajan annexed Armenia, he was bound to annex the whole of Mesopotamia lest the Parthians interrupt the flux of trade from the Persian Gulf and/or foment trouble at the Roman frontier on the Danube.[210] Other historians reject these motives, as the supposed Parthian "control" over the maritime Far Eastern trade route was, at best, conjectural and based on a selective reading of Chinese sources – trade by land through Parthia seems to have been unhampered by Parthian authorities and left solely to the devices of private enterprise.[211] Commercial activity in second century Mesopotamia seems to have been a general phenomenon, shared by many peoples within and without the Roman Empire, with no sign of a concerted Imperial policy towards it.[212]

As in the case of the alimenta, scholars like Moses Finley and

Gangetic Plains as one of the gold sources for the Roman Empire.[216] Accordingly – in a controversial book on the Roman economy – Finley considers Trajan's "badly miscalculated and expensive assault on Parthia" to be an example of the many Roman "commercial wars" that had in common the fact of existing only in the books of modern historians.[212]

Trajan, "the Palladium", white marble statue at Naples Archeological Museum, late 1st century AD

The alternative view is to see the campaign as triggered by the lure of territorial annexation and prestige,[212] the sole motive ascribed by Cassius Dio.[217] As far as territorial conquest involved tax-collecting,[218] especially of the 25% tax levied on all goods entering the Roman Empire, the tetarte, one can say that Trajan's Parthian War had an "economic" motive.[219] Also, there was the propaganda value of an Eastern conquest that would emulate, in Roman fashion, those of Alexander the Great.[220] The fact that emissaries from the Kushan Empire might have attended to the commemorative ceremonies for the Dacian War may have kindled in some Greco-Roman intellectuals like Plutarch – who wrote about only 70,000 Roman soldiers being necessary to a conquest of India[citation needed]  – as well as in Trajan's closer associates, speculative dreams about the booty to be obtained by reproducing Macedonian Eastern conquests.[221] There could also be Trajan's idea to use an ambitious blueprint of conquests as a way to emphasize quasi-divine status, such as with his cultivated association, in coins and monuments, to Hercules.[222]

Also, it is possible that the attachment of Trajan to an expansionist policy was supported by a powerful circle of conservative senators from Hispania committed to a policy of imperial expansion, first among them being the all-powerful Licinius Sura.[223] Alternatively, one can explain the campaign by the fact that, for the Romans, their empire was in principle unlimited, and that Trajan only took advantage of an opportunity to make idea and reality coincide.[224] Finally, there are other modern historians who think that Trajan's original aims were purely military and strategic: to assure a more defensible Eastern frontier for the Roman Empire, crossing Northern Mesopotamia along the course of the Khabur River in order to offer cover to a Roman Armenia.[225][226] This interpretation is backed by the fact that all subsequent Roman wars against Parthia would aim at establishing a Roman presence deep into Parthia itself.[227] It is possible that during the onset of Trajan's military experience, as a young tribune, he had witnessed engagement with the Parthians; so any strategic vision was grounded in a tactical awareness of what was needed to tackle Parthia.[226]

Course of the war

An 116 AD inscription of the Legio IV Scythica found near the Armenian capital Artaxata mentioning Trajan.[228]

The campaign was carefully planned in advance: ten legions were concentrated in the Eastern theatre; since 111, the correspondence of Pliny the Younger witnesses to the fact that provincial authorities in Bithynia had to organize supplies for passing troops, and local city councils and their individual members had to shoulder part of the increased expenses by supplying troops themselves.

Ghilan).[235] It is possible that Quietus' campaign had as its goal the extending of the newer, more defensible Roman border eastwards towards the Caspian Sea and northwards to the foothills of the Caucasus.[236] This newer, more "rational" frontier, depended, however, on an increased, permanent Roman presence east of the Euphrates.[237]

Obverse: bust of Trajan, with laurel crown; caption: IMP. CAES. NERV. TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG. GER. DAC. PARTHICO P. M., TR. P., COS VI, P. P.; Reverse: Trajan standing between prostrate allegories of Armenia (crowned with a tiara) and the Rivers Tigris & Euphrates; caption: ARMENIA ET MESOPOTAMIA IN POTESTATEM P. R. REDACTAE (put under the authority of the Roman People) – S. C. (Senatus Consultus, issued by the Senate

The chronology of subsequent events is uncertain, but it is generally believed that early in 115 Trajan launched a Mesopotamian campaign, marching down towards the Taurus mountains in order to consolidate territory between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. He placed permanent garrisons along the way to secure the territory.

Osrhoene – where King Abgar VII submitted to Trajan publicly[240] – as a Roman protectorate.[241] This process seems to have been completed at the beginning of 116, when coins were issued announcing that Armenia and Mesopotamia had been put under the authority of the Roman people.[242] The area between the Khabur River and the mountains around Singara seems to have been considered as the new frontier, and as such received a road surrounded by fortresses.[243]

After wintering in Antioch during 115/116  – and, according to literary sources, barely escaping from a violent earthquake that claimed the life of one of the consuls, Marcus Pedo Virgilianus[244][245] – Trajan again took to the field in 116, with a view to the conquest of the whole of Mesopotamia, an overambitious goal that eventually backfired on the results of his entire campaign. According to some modern historians, the aim of the campaign of 116 was to achieve a "pre-emptive demonstration" aiming not toward the conquest of Parthia, but for tighter Roman control over the Eastern trade route. However, the overall scarcity of manpower for the Roman military establishment meant that the campaign was doomed from the start.[246] It is noteworthy that no new legions were raised by Trajan before the Parthian campaign, maybe because the sources of new citizen recruits were already over-exploited.[247]

As far as the sources allow a description of this campaign, it seems that one Roman division crossed the

Seleucia and finally the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon.[248][249] He continued southward to the Persian Gulf, when, after escaping with his fleet a tidal bore on the Tigris,[250] he received the submission of Athambelus, the ruler of Charax. He declared Babylon a new province of the Empire and had his statue erected on the shore of the Persian Gulf,[251] after which he sent the Senate a laurelled letter declaring the war to be at a close and bemoaning that he was too old to go on any further and repeat the conquests of Alexander the Great.[241] Since Charax was a de facto independent kingdom whose connections to Palmyra were described above, Trajan's bid for the Persian Gulf may have coincided with Palmyrene interests in the region.[252] Another hypothesis is that the rulers of Charax had expansionist designs on Parthian Babylon, giving them a rationale for alliance with Trajan.[253] The Parthian city of Susa was apparently also occupied by the Romans.[254]

A coin of Trajan, found together with coins of the Kushan ruler Kanishka, at the Ahin Posh Buddhist Monastery, Afghanistan. Caption: IMP. CAES. NER. TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG. GER. DAC.

According to late literary sources (not backed by numismatic or inscriptional evidence) a province of

Iranian plateau eastward, as well as establishing some sort of direct contact between Rome and the Kushan Empire.[260] No attempt was made to expand into the Iranian Plateau itself, where the Roman army, with its relative weakness in cavalry, would have been at a disadvantage.[261]

Trajan left the Persian Gulf for Babylon – where he intended to offer sacrifice to Alexander in the house where he had died in 323 BC

Sanatruces, a nephew of the Parthian king Osroes I who had retained a cavalry force, possibly strengthened by the addition of Saka archers,[263] imperilled Roman positions in Mesopotamia and Armenia. Trajan sought to deal with this by forsaking direct Roman rule in Parthia proper, at least partially.[264] Trajan sent two armies towards Northern Mesopotamia: the first, under Lusius Quietus, recovered Nisibis and Edessa from the rebels, probably having King Abgarus deposed and killed in the process,[264] with Quietus probably earning the right to receive the honors of a senator of praetorian rank (adlectus inter praetorios).[265] The second army, however, under Appius Maximus Santra (probably a governor of Macedonia) was defeated and Santra killed.[266]

Later in 116, Trajan, with the assistance of Quietus and two other legates, Marcus Erucius Clarus and Tiberius Julius Alexander Julianus,[267][266] defeated a Parthian army in a battle where Sanatruces was killed (possibly with the assistance of Osroes' son and Sanatruces' cousin, Parthamaspates, whom Trajan wooed successfully).[268] After re-taking and burning Seleucia, Trajan then formally deposed Osroes, putting Parthamaspates on the throne as client ruler. This event was commemorated in a coin as the reduction of Parthia to client kingdom status: REX PARTHIS DATUS, "a king is given to the Parthians".[269] That done, Trajan retreated north in order to retain what he could of the new provinces of Armenia – where he had already accepted an armistice in exchange for surrendering part of the territory to Sanatruces' son Vologeses[270] – and Mesopotamia. It was at this point that Trajan's health started to fail him. The fortress city of Hatra, on the Tigris in his rear, continued to hold out against repeated Roman assaults. He was personally present at the siege, and it is possible that he suffered a heat stroke while in the blazing heat.[264]

Kitos War

Statue of Trajan, Luna marble and Proconessian marble, 2nd century AD, from Ostia Antica

Shortly afterwards, the Jews inside the Eastern Roman Empire, in Egypt, Cyprus, and Cyrene – this last province being probably the original trouble hotspot – rose up in what probably was an outburst of religious rebellion against the local pagans, this widespread rebellion being afterwards named the Kitos War.[271] Another rebellion flared up among the Jewish communities of Northern Mesopotamia, probably part of a general reaction against Roman occupation.[272] Trajan was forced to withdraw his army in order to put down the revolts. He saw this withdrawal as simply a temporary setback, but he was destined never to command an army in the field again, turning his Eastern armies over to Lusius Quietus, who meanwhile (early 117) had been made governor of Judaea and might have had to deal earlier with some kind of Jewish unrest in the province.[273] Quietus discharged his commissions successfully, so much that the war was afterward named after him – Kitus being a corruption of Quietus.[274] Whether or not the Kitos War theatre included Judea proper, or only the Jewish Eastern diaspora, remains doubtful in the absence of clear epigraphic and archaeological evidence. What is certain is that there was an increased Roman military presence in Judea at the time.[275]

Quietus was promised a consulate

Praetorian Prefect.[279] As all four consulars were senators of the highest standing and as such generally regarded as able to take imperial power (capaces imperii), Hadrian seems to have decided to forestall these prospective rivals.[280]

Death and succession

Early in 117, Trajan grew ill and set sail for Italy. His health declined throughout the spring and summer of 117, possibly acknowledged to the public by the display of a bronze portrait-bust at the public baths of Ancyra, showing an aged and emaciated man, though the identification with Trajan is disputed.[281][282] He reached Selinus,[a] where he suddenly died, on or shortly before 11 August.[287] Trajan in person could have lawfully nominated Hadrian as his successor, but Dio claims that Trajan's wife, Pompeia Plotina, assured Hadrian's succession by keeping Trajan's death a secret, long enough for her to produce and sign a document attesting to Hadrian's adoption as son and successor. Dio, who tells this narrative, offers his father – the governor of Cilicia Apronianus – as a source, so his narrative may be based on contemporary rumour. It may also reflect male Roman displeasure that an empress – let alone any woman –  could presume to meddle in Rome's political affairs.[288]

Hadrian held an ambiguous position during Trajan's reign. After commanding

Archon eponymos for Athens in 111/112.[291][292] He probably did not take part in the Parthian War. Literary sources relate that Trajan had considered others, such as the jurist Lucius Neratius Priscus, as heir.[293] Hadrian, who was eventually entrusted with the governorship of Syria at the time of Trajan's death, was Trajan's cousin and was married to Trajan's grandniece, which all made him as good as heir designate.[294][295] Hadrian seems to have been well connected to the powerful and influential coterie of Spanish senators at Trajan's court, through his ties to Plotina and the Prefect Attianus.[296] His refusal to sustain Trajan's senatorial and expansionist policy during his own reign may account for the "crass hostility" shown him by literary sources.[297]

Hadrian's first major act as emperor was to abandon Mesopotamia as too costly and distant to defend, and to restore Armenia and Osrhoene to Parthian hegemony, under Rome's suzerainty.[167] The Parthian campaign had been an enormous setback to Trajan's policy, proof that Rome had overstretched its capacity to sustain an ambitious program of conquest. According to the Historia Augusta, Hadrian claimed to follow the precedent set by Cato the Elder towards the Macedonians, who "were to be set free because they could not be protected" – something Birley sees as an unconvincing precedent. [298][257] Other territories conquered by Trajan were retained.[299][300] According to a well-established historical tradition, Trajan's ashes were placed within the small cella that still survives at the base of Trajan's column. In some modern scholarship, his ashes were more likely interred near his column, in a mausoleum, temple or tomb built for his cult as a divus of the Roman state.[301][302]


Museum of Art History
in Vienna, Austria

Ancient sources on Trajan's personality and accomplishments are unanimously positive. Pliny the Younger, for example, celebrates Trajan in his panegyric as a wise and just emperor and a moral man. Cassius Dio added that he always remained dignified and fair.[303] A third-century emperor, Decius, even received from the Senate the name Trajan as a decoration.[304] After the setbacks of the third century, Trajan, together with Augustus, became in the Later Roman Empire the paragon of the most positive traits of the Imperial order.[305] Many emperors after Trajan would, when they were sworn into office, be wished Felicior Augusto, Melior Traiano ("May you be more fortunate than Augustus and better than Trajan").[306] The fourth-century emperor Constantine I is credited with calling him a "plant upon every wall" for the many buildings bearing inscriptions with his name.[307][308]


Perge. Now at the Antalya Museum
in Turkey.

All Roman emperors until Trajan, except Nero who occasionally wore sideburns, were depicted clean-shaven, according to the fashion introduced among the Romans by Scipio Africanus (236 – 183 BC). This Imperial fashion was changed by Trajan's successor Hadrian who made beards fashionable for emperors.[309][310][311][312]

After Rome

During the

Jupiter with other historical and mythological persons noted for their justice. Also, a mural of Trajan stopping to provide justice for a poor widow is present in the first terrace of Purgatory as a lesson to those who are purged for being proud.[313]

Statue of Trajan depicting him in heroic nudity, Samos, Greece.

In the 18th century, King Charles III of Spain commissioned Anton Raphael Mengs to paint The Triumph of Trajan on the ceiling of the banquet hall of the Royal Palace of Madrid – considered among the best works of this artist.[315]

It was only during the Enlightenment that this legacy began to be contested, when Edward Gibbon expressed doubts about the militarized character of Trajan's reign in contrast to the "moderate" practices of his immediate successors.[316] Mommsen adopted a divided stance towards Trajan, at some point of his posthumously published lectures even speaking about his "vainglory" (Scheinglorie).[317] Mommsen also speaks of Trajan's "insatiable, unlimited lust for conquest".[318] Although Mommsen had no liking for Trajan's successor Hadrian – "a repellent manner, and a venomous, envious and malicious nature" – he admitted that Hadrian, in renouncing Trajan's conquests, was "doing what the situation clearly required".[319]

It was exactly this military character of Trajan's reign that attracted his early twentieth-century biographer, the Italian historian Roberto Paribeni, who in his 1927 two-volume biography Optimus Princeps described Trajan's reign as the acme of the Roman principate, which he saw as Italy's patrimony.[320] Following in Paribeni's footsteps, the German historian Alfred Heuss saw in Trajan "the accomplished human embodiment of the imperial title" (die ideale Verkörperung des humanen Kaiserbegriffs).[321] Trajan's first English-language biography by Julian Bennett is also a positive one in that it assumes that Trajan was an active policy-maker concerned with the management of the empire as a whole – something his reviewer Lendon considers an anachronistic outlook that sees in the Roman emperor a kind of modern administrator.[322]

During the 1980s, the Romanian historian Eugen Cizek took a more nuanced view as he described the changes in the personal ideology of Trajan's reign, stressing the fact that it became ever more autocratic and militarized, especially after 112 and towards the Parthian War (as "only an universal monarch, a kosmocrator, could dictate his law to the East").[323] The biography by the German historian Karl Strobel stresses the continuity between Domitian's and Trajan's reigns, saying that Trajan's rule followed the same autocratic and sacred character as Domitian's, culminating in a failed Parthian adventure intended as the crown of his personal achievement.[324] It is in modern French historiography that Trajan's reputation becomes most markedly deflated: Paul Petit writes about Trajan's portraits as a "lowbrow boor with a taste for booze and boys".[325] For Paul Veyne, what is to be retained from Trajan's "stylish" qualities was that he was the last Roman emperor to think of the empire as a purely Italian and Rome-centred hegemony of conquest. In contrast, his successor Hadrian would stress the notion of the empire as ecumenical and of the emperor as universal benefactor and not kosmocrator.[326]

In Romanian culture


Daco-Roman culture and the Latin-based Romanian language.[327][328] The creation of Roman Dacia is therefore seen in the country as the ethnogenesis of the Romanian nation

In Jewish legend

In the Jewish homiletical works, such as Esther Rabbah, Trajan is described with the epitaph "may his bones be crushed" (Hebrew: שְׁחִיק עֲצָמוֹת, romanizedsh'hik atzamot).[329][330] The same epitaph is also used for Hadrian.[331]

Nerva–Antonine family tree

See also


  1. ^ modern Gazipaşa in Cilicia afterwards called Trajanopolis


  1. ^ Cassius Dio, Book 68, 3–4.
  2. .
  3. ^ Discourses on Livy, I, 10, 4
  4. .
  5. ^ Strobel 2010, p. 14.
  6. ^ Strobel 2010, p. 15.
  7. ^ Bennett 2001, pp. xii/xiii & 63.
  8. ^ W.Williams, Pliny the Younger, Correspondence with Trajan from Bithynia, Epistles X, Warminster, 1990
  9. ^ Sherwin-White, Trajan's replies to Pliny, 1962
  10. , p. 427.
  11. ^ Noreña, Carlos F. (2007). "The Social Economy of Pliny's Correspondence with Trajan". American Journal of Philology, 128, 239–277, p. 251.
  12. ^ Bennett 2001, p. xiii.
  13. ^ Her name is inferred from that of Trajan's sister Ulpia Marciana.
  14. ^ The epitome de Caesaribus names Trajan's grandfather simply as Ulpius, without giving his praenomen or cognomen.
  15. ^ Her name is inferred from the cognomen of Marcus Ulpius Traianus. According to Antonio Caballos Rufino, she was named Traia or Traiana and was the sister or daughter of an epigraphically attested M.Traius C.Filii.
  16. ^ Syme, Tacitus, 30–44; PIR Vlpivs 575
  17. ^ Appian, Iberian Wars, Book VII, Chapter 38
  18. ^ Roman-Italic migration in Spain, in The origins of the Social War, Emilio Gabba
  19. ^
    S2CID 162241585
  20. .
  21. ^ "Cassius Dio, himself of provincial origin, had little respect for the phylogeny of the emperor Trajan, observing with barely disguised contempt that he was 'an Iberian, and neither an Italian nor even an Italiote'. In fact, one ancient account derives Trajan's paternal family, the gens Ulpia, from Tuder, on the northern border of ancient Umbria, an area where the clan is independently recorded... Traius, like Ulpius, while not especially common, occurs with some frequency in northern Italy, notably at Tuder and at the nearby municipality of Ameria, the probable origo of Trajan's mother, strengthening the possibility of close family ties with the region... an Italian pedigree for the gens Ulpia seems certain... his family had settled at Italica (Santiponce) in southern Spain, a few miles east of modern Seville. ... strictly speaking, Trajan was an Hispaniensis, an Italian domiciled or born in Spain, as opposed to an Hispanus...." Bennett (2001). Trajan: Optimus Princeps, pp. 1–3.
  22. ^ "... The Greek historian Cassius Dio made the baseless assertion that Trajan was an Iberian...'", Colonial elites: Rome and Spain, Ronald Syme, 1970, p. 22.
  23. ^ Trajan, Mason Hammond, Britannica
  24. ^ One author has argued that the Traii ancestors of Trajan were his paternal family and indigenous Iberian Turdetani rather than Italic settlers, but this view departs from the prevailing view in academia. Las raíces béticas de Trajano: los 'Traii' de la Itálica turdetana, y otras novedades sobre su familia, Alicia M. Canto, Sevilla, 2003. The reasons for the rejection of Canto's theory are listed by Antonio Caballos Rufino in Las raíces famliares de Trajano, A.Caballos Rufino, Cluj, 2014
  25. .
  26. ^ Hadrian: the Restless Emperor, London: Routledge p.12, (1997), Anthony Birley
  27. ^ "The Epitome has clearly used a source which gave the origo vetustior, or ultima origo, as did the HA for Hadrian (H 1.1)...Umbrian Tuder as the original home of the Ulpii and the Traii surely derives from Maximus's Vita Traiani," Anthony R. Birley, Sprache und Literatur. Einzelne Autoren seit der hadrianischen Zeit und Allgemeines zur Literatur des 2. und 3. Jahrhunderts, p.2726, Germany, Druyter, 2016.
  28. ^ Appian, Iberian Wars, Book VII, Chapter 38
  29. ^ Epitome de Caesaribusabscriptum Aurelio Victori, XIII, Ulpius Traianus ex urbe Tudertina...
  30. ^ CIL XI, 4686 and CIL XI, 4725, Syme in Tacitus, App. 81, p.786
  31. ^ Chase, George Davis (1897). "The Origin of Roman Praenomina", in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. VIII, pp. 103–184.
  32. ^ The Imperial Families of Ancient Rome. (2019). Maxwell Craven, Fonthill Media. Table XVIII, p.156
  33. ^ Strobel 2010, p. 40.
  34. ^ Goldsworthy, Adrian (2003). In the name of Rome: The men who won the Roman Empire. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 320.
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  36. ^ .
  37. ^ .
  38. ^ Bennett 2001, pp. 22–23.
  39. ^ Garzetti 2014, p. 378.
  40. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 13.
  41. ^ a b Augustan History, Life of Hadrian 2.5–6
  42. ^ "Pompei Plotina". Britannica. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  43. ^ a b Bennett 2001, p. 58.
  44. , p. 131.
  45. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 43.
  46. .
  47. ^ a b Bennett 2001, pp. 45–46.
  48. ^ Alston 2014, p. 261.
  49. , p. 180.
  50. ^ Grainger 2004, pp. 91, 109.
  51. ^ Veyne 1976, p. 686, note 399.
  52. , pp. 113–114.
  53. , p. 338.
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  55. , p. 42.
  56. ^ Fritz Heichelheim, Cedric Veo, Allen Ward,(1984), The History of the Roman People, pp. 353, 354 Prentice-Hall, New Jersey
  57. ^ Feriale Duranum 1.14-15: "V K[al](endas) [Feb]rarias... ob imperium [Divi Traiani]."
  58. .
  59. ^ Grainger 2004, p. 111.
  60. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 52.
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  63. ^ Rees 2012, p. 198.
  64. , pp. 254, 231
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  70. ^ Letters III, 20, 12,
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  72. , p. 128
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  84. , p. 84 sqq.
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  89. , p. 399
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  92. , p. 237
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  102. ^ de Ste. Croix 1989, p. 466.
  103. , pp. 367/368
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  128. ^ Temporini & Haase, Politische Geschichte, 669
  129. ^ de Ste. Croix 1989, p. 530.
  130. ^ Jesper Majbom Madsen, Eager to be Roman, 117
  131. , p. 155
  132. , pp. 37/38.
  133. ^ N. J. E. Austin & N. B. Rankov, Exploratio: Military & Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople. London: Routledge, 2002, p. 177.
  134. ^ Wiseman, James, 1997, "Beyond the Danube's Iron Gates". Archaeology 50(2): 24–29.
  135. ^ Šašel, Jaroslav. 1973 "Trajan's Canal at the Iron Gate". The Journal of Roman Studies. 63:80–85.
  136. ^ .
  137. ^ Fritz Heichelheim, Cedric Veo, Allen Ward,(1984) History of the Roman People, p. 382, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
  138. ^ Packer, James (January–February 1998). "Trajan's GLORIOUS FORUM". Archaeology. 51 (1): 32.
  139. , p. 109.
  140. , p. 304
  141. ^ .
  142. .
  143. ^ Butler, A. J. (1914). Babylon of Egypt: A study in the history of Old Cairo. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 5.
  144. . pp. 80, 102-103, 126-129. The images of the gods were brought from their temples to be laid on dining couches with great ceremony, so that they too could watch the spectacle.
  145. ^ Epitome of Cassius Dio, Roman History, 68.15.1
  146. , p. 272.
  147. , p. 181.
  148. , pp. 6/7.
  149. ^ "Tulane University "Roman Currency of the Principate"". Archived from the original on 1 November 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  150. ^ Petit 1976, p. 188.
  151. ^ "Alimenta". Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  152. , p. 158.
  153. ^
    Legion V Alaude was crushed and Cornelius Fuscus was killed. The victorious Dacian general was called Decebalus
    (the brave one).
  154. ^ Schmitz 2005, p. 9.
  155. ^ Marcel Emerit. "Les derniers travaux des historiens roumains sur la Dacie". In: Revue des Études Anciennes. Tome 41, 1939, n°1. pp. 57–64. available at [10]. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  156. ^ Luttwak 1979, p. 100.
  157. ^ Schmitz 2005, p. 13.
  158. ^ "De Imperatoribus Romanis". An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Retrieved 8 November 2007. Because the Dacians represented an obstacle against Roman expansion in the east, in the year 101 the emperor Trajan decided to begin a new campaign against them. The first war began on 25 March 101 and the Roman troops, consisting of four principal legions (X Gemina, XI Claudia, II Traiana Fortis, and XXX Ulpia Victrix), defeated the Dacians.
  159. ^ a b Le Roux 1998, p. 73.
  160. ^ "Battle of Sarmizegetusa (Sarmizegetuza), A.D. 105: De Imperatoribus Romanis". An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Retrieved 8 November 2007. Although the Dacians had been defeated, the emperor postponed the final siege for the conquering of Sarmizegetuza because his armies needed reorganization. Trajan imposed on the Dacians very hard peace conditions: Decebalus had to renounce claim to part of his kingdom, including the Banat, Tara Hategului, Oltenia, and Muntenia in the area south-west of Transylvania. He had also to surrender all the Roman deserters and all his war machines. At Rome, Trajan was received as a winner and he took the name of Dacicus, a title that appears on his coinage of this period. At the beginning of the year 103 A.D., there were minted coins with the inscription: IMP NERVA TRAIANVS AVG GER DACICVS.
  161. .
  162. ^ José Maria Blázquez, Las res gestae de Trajano militar: las guerras dácicas. Aquila Legionis, 6 (2005) 19.
  163. ^ Ioan Glodariu, LA ZONE DE SARMIZEGETUSA REGIA ET LES GUERRES DE TRAJAN. Studia Antiqua et Archaeologica, VII, Iasi, 2000. Available at VII, Iasi,2000).pdf.Retrieved 2 July 2014
  164. ^ Bennett 2001, pp. 94–95.
  165. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 96.
  166. ^ a b Christol & Nony, 171.
  167. ^ a b Dando-Collins 2012, p. not numbered.
  168. ^ "Battle of Sarmizegetusa (Sarmizegetuza), A.D. 105: De Imperatoribus Romanis". An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Retrieved 8 November 2007. However, during the years 103–105, Decebalus did not respect the peace conditions imposed by Trajan and the emperor then decided to destroy completely the Dacian kingdom and to conquer Sarmizegetuza.
  169. ^ In the absence of literary references, however, the positioning of the new legions is conjectural: some scholars think that Legio II Traiana Fortis was originally stationed on the Lower Danube and participated in the Second Dacian War, being only later deployed to the East:cf. Ritterling, E., 1925. RE XII. Col. 1485. Syme, R., 1971. Danubian Papers, Bucharest. p. 106. Strobel, K., 1984. "Untersuchungen zu den Dakerkriegen Trajans. Studien zur Geschichte des mittleren und unteren Donauraumes in der Hohen Kaiserzeit", Antiquitas I 33. Bonn. p. 98. Strobel, K., 2010. Kaiser Traian. Eine Epoche der Weltgeschichte, Verlag Friedrich Pustet. Regensburg. pp. 254–255, 265, 299, 364. Urloiu, R-L., AGAIN ON LEGIO II TRAIANA FORTIS,. History and Civilization. EUBSR 2013 International Conference, Volume 2.
  170. ^ Mattern 1999, p. 93.
  171. ^ a b c Le Roux 1998, p. 74.
  172. ^ .
  173. ^ Găzdac 2010, p. 49.
  174. , p. 277, note 41
  175. , p. 253.
  176. ^ Martin Goodman, The Roman World 44 BC–AD 180, 253.
  177. , p. 288.
  178. , p. 222
  179. ^ Le Roux 1998, p. 268.
  180. ^ Carbó García, Juan Ramón. " Dacia Capta: particularidades de un proceso de conquista y romanización." Habis, 41, 275–292 (2010).
  181. ^ Meléndez, Javier Bermejo, Santiago Robles Esparcia, and Juan M. Campos Carrasco. "Trajano fundador. El último impulso colonizador del imperio." Onoba. Revista de Arqueología y Antigüedad 1 (2013).
  182. ^ a b Sartre 1994, p. 269.
  183. ^ a b Luttwak 1979, pp. 101, 104.
  184. ^ Luttwak 1979, p. 101.
  185. ^ Mattern 1999, p. 61.
  186. , p. 218.
  187. ^ Luttwak 1979, p. 104.
  188. , p. 122
  189. ^ Le Roux 1998, p. 241.
  190. ^ Le Roux 1998, pp. 202, 242.
  191. , p. 26; Paul du Plessis, Studying Roman Law. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014, p. 82
  192. ^ Bennett 2001, pp. 102, 90.
  193. ^ a b Sartre 1994, p. 46.
  194. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 177.
  195. ^ Bennett 2001, pp. 172–182.
  196. ^ Browning 1982, p. 33.
  197. , p. 234.
  198. ^ R. P. Longden, "Notes on the Parthian Campaigns of Trajan". The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 21 (1931), pp. 1–35. Available at [11]. Retrieved 18 August 2019
  199. ^ Sidebotham 1986, p. 154.
  200. ^ Christol & Nony, Rome, 171.
  201. ^ Young 2001, p. 181.
  202. , p. 142.
  203. ^ Potts, 143.
  204. ^ Veyne 2005, p. 279.
  205. , p. 279.
  206. , p. 15.
  207. ^ Găzdac 2010, p. 59.
  208. , p. 25
  209. , p. 211
  210. ^ Young 2001, p. 176 sqq.
  211. ^ a b c Finley 1999, p. 158.
  212. , p. 5.
  213. ^ Finley 1999, p. 132.
  214. ^ Veyne 2001, pp. 163/215.
  215. ^ Veyne 2001, p. 181.
  216. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 188.
  217. ^ Michael Alexander Speidel: "Bellicosissimus Princeps". In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus ed., Traian. Ein Kaiser der Superlative am Beginn einer Umbruchzeit? Mainz 2002, pp. 23/40.
  218. ^ Sidebotham 1986, p. 144.
  219. ^ Nathanael John Andrade, "Imitation Greeks": Being Syrian in the Greco-Roman World (175 BCE – 275 CE). Doctoral Thesis, University of Michigan, 2009, p. 192. Available at [12]. Retrieved 11 June 2014
  220. , p. 130.
  221. ^ Olivier Hekster, "Propagating power: Hercules as an example for second-century emperors". Herakles and Hercules. Exploring a Graeco-Roman Divinity (2005): 205–21.Available at [13] Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  222. ^ Des Boscs-Plateaux 2005, pp. 304, 311.
  223. , p. 262.
  224. ^ Luttwak 1979, p. 108.
  225. ^ .
  226. , pp. 31/32.
  227. ^ Discovered in 1967 in Pokr Vedi, made of Vedi limestone. Now kept at the History Museum of Armenia (see sign). Arakelyan, Babken (1967). "Լատիներեն արձանագրություններ Արտաշատ մայրաքաղաքից [Inscriptions in Latin from the Ancient Armenian Capital of Artashat]". Patma-Banasirakan Handes (in Armenian) (4): 302–311.
  228. , p. 103.
  229. , p. 171
  230. , p. 235
  231. ^ Bennett 2001, pp. 194–195.
  232. , p. 289
  233. , p. 232.
  234. ^ Choisnel 2004, p. 164.
  235. ^ S.J. De Laet, review of Lepper, Trajan's Parthian War. L'Antiquité Classique, 18-2, 1949, pp. 487–489.
  236. , p. 89.
  237. ^ Sheldon, Rose Mary (2010). Rome's Wars in Parthia: Blood in the Sand. London: Vallentine Mitchell. p. 133.
  238. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 195.
  239. , p. 146. According to Cassius Dio, the deal between Trajan and Abgaros was sealed by the king's son offering himself as Trajan's paramour—Bennett, 199
  240. ^ a b Bennett 2001, p. 199.
  241. ^ Bennett, Trajan, 196; Christol & Nony, Rome,171.
  242. ^ Petit 1976, p. 44.
  243. , p. 101.
  244. ^ Birley 2013, p. 71.
  245. , pp. 182/183
  246. ^ Petit 1976, p. 45.
  247. ^ Bennett 2001, pp. 197/199.
  248. ^ Birley 2013, p. 72.
  249. ^ Longden, "Notes on the Parthian Campaigns", 8
  250. Sassanids
    in 571/572
  251. ^ a b Edwell 2007, p. 21.
  252. ^ E. J. Keall, Parthian Nippur and Vologases' Southern Strategy: A Hypothesis. Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 95, No. 4 (Oct. – Dec. 1975), pp. 620–632.
  253. , p. 310
  254. , p. 227
  255. ^ Various authors have discussed the existence of the province and its location: André Maricq (La province d'Assyrie créée par Trajan. A propos de la guerre parthique de Trajan. In: Maricq: Classica et orientalia, Paris 1965, pp. 103/111) identifies Assyria with Southern Mesopotamia; Chris S. Lightfood ("Trajan's Parthian War and the Fourth-Century Perspective", Journal of Roman Studies 80, 1990, pp. 115–126), doubts the actual existence of the province; Maria G. Angeli Bertinelli ("I Romani oltre l'Eufrate nel II secolo d. C. – le provincie di Assiria, di Mesopotamia e di Osroene", In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, Bd. 9.1, Berlin 1976, pp. 3/45) puts Assyria between Mesopotamia and Adiabene; Lepper (1948, p. 146) considers Assyria and Adiabene to be the same province.
  256. ^ a b Luttwak 1979, p. 110.
  257. , p. 135
  258. , p. 120.
  259. ^ Choisnel 2004, pp. 164/165.
  260. , p. 129.
  261. ^ Bennett, Trajan, 199.
  262. , p. 162.
  263. ^ a b c Bennett 2001, p. 200.
  264. ^ The Cambridge Ancient History: The Imperial peace, A.D. 70–192, 1965 ed., p. 249.
  265. ^ a b Julián González, ed., Trajano Emperador De Roma, 216.
  266. ^ The last two were made consuls (suffecti) for the year 117.
  267. , p. 91.
  268. ^ Mommsen 1999, p. 289.
  269. ^ a b Bennett 2001, p. 203.
  270. ^ James J. Bloom, The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D. 66–135: A Military Analysis. McFarland, 2010, p. 191
  271. ^ Bloom, 194.
  272. , p. 100.
  273. ^ Bloom, 190.
  274. ^ Christer Bruun, "the Spurious 'Expeditio Ivdaeae' under Trajan". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 93 (1992) 99–106.
  275. , p. 11
  276. , p. 448.
  277. ^ Histoire des Juifs, Troisième période, I – Chapitre III – Soulèvement des Judéens sous Trajan et Adrien
  278. ^ Bloom, 195/196.
  279. , p. 377.
  280. ^ Bennett 2001, p. 201.
  281. Journal of Ankara Studies
    . 2 (1): 1–10.
  282. ^ Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus XXVII: "Trajan [ruled] 19 years 6 months 16 days". This gives a death date of 12/13 August. Theophilus and Clement's works were primarily focused on religion, and present various inconsistencies in chronology.
  283. ^ Clement of Alexandria (c. 200), Stromata Book I: "nineteen years, seven [six] months, ten days." This gives a death date of 6/7 August.
  284. inclusive counting
  285. ^ Historia Augusta (4th/5th century) Hadrianus 4.6. "On the fifth day before the Ides of August [9 August], while Hadrian was governor of Syria, he learned of his adoption by Trajan. On the third day before the Ides of August [11 August] he received the news of Trajan's death."
  286. ^ There is no contemporary account of Trajan's life. Only the Historia Augusta gives precise dates, but there is no certainty or agreement about its accuracy.[283][284][285][286]
  287. , p. 263.
  288. ^ Birley 2013, p. 52.
  289. ^ Birley 2013, pp. 50, 52.
  290. ^ Des Boscs-Plateaux 2005, p. 306.
  291. ^ Birley 2013, p. 64.
  292. ^ Birley 2013, p. 50.
  293. , p. 229.
  294. ^ Petit 1976, p. 53.
  295. ^ Des Boscs-Plateaux 2005, p. 307.
  296. ^ Garzetti 2014, p. 379.
  297. ^ Birley 2013, p. 78.
  298. ^ Young 2001, p. 132.
  299. ^ D. S. Potter, The Inscriptions on the Bronze Herakles from Mesene: Vologeses IV's War with Rome and the Date of Tacitus' "Annales". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik Bd. 88, (1991), pp. 277–290.
  300. ^ Hammond, Mason. "Trajan". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  301. ^ Claride, Amaanda, Hadrian's lost Temple of Trajan, in: "Hadrian's Succession and the Monuments of Trajan", edited by Thorsten Opper, The British Museum, 2016, pp. 5 - 19.
  302. ^ Dio Cassius, Epitome of Book 6; 21.2–3.
  303. ^ Eric M. Thienes, "Remembering Trajan in Fourth-Century Rome: Memory and Identity in Spatial, Artistic, and Textual Narratives". Ph.D Thesis, University of Missouri, 2015, p. 70. Available at [14] . Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  304. , p. 319.
  305. ^ Eutropius, Breviarium, 8.5.3.
  306. ^ Epitome de Caesaribus 41.13.
  307. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus 27.3.7.
  308. ^ Gschwantler, Kurt; Bernhard-Walcher, Alfred; Laubenberger, Manuela; Plattner, Georg; Zhuber-Okrog, Karoline (2011). "Emperor Trajan - unknown - Masterpieces in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum". Google Arts & Culture. Vienna. Retrieved 8 May 2021. Trajan is always depicted without a beard.
  309. OCLC 944109355
  310. ^ "Porträtbüste: Kaiser Traian". (in German). Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  311. ^ Dorsey, Lauren (9 January 2021). "How to Identify a Roman Emperor By His Beard? | DailyArt Magazine". - Art History Stories. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  312. ^ Dante 1998, p. 593. David H. Higgins in his notes to Purgatorio X l. 75 says: "Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604) was held to have swayed the justice of God by prayer ('his great victory'), releasing Trajan's soul from Hell, who, resuscitated, was converted to Christianity. Dante accepted this, as Aquinas before him, and places Trajan in Paradise (Paradiso XX.44-8)."
  313. ^ Dante 1998, pp. 239–40
  314. ^ Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. Ed. Jonathan Dewald. Vol. 4. New York, NY:Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004. p 94-96.
  315. ^ Robert Mankin, "Edward Gibbon: Historian in Space", A Companion to Enlightenment Historiography, Leiden: Brill, 2013, p. 34.
  316. ^ Mommsen 1999, p. 488.
  317. ^ Römische Kaisergeschichte. Munich: 1992, p. 389.
  318. ^ Mommsen 1999, p. 290.
  319. , pp. 257/258
  320. ^ Heuß, Alfred (1976). Römische Geschichte. Vol. 4. Braunschweig: Westermann. pp. 344ff.
  321. ^ J.E. Lendon, "Three Emperors and the Roman Imperial Regime", The Classical Journal 94 (1998) pp. 87–93.
  322. ^ Richard Jean-Claude, "Eugen Cizek, L'époque de Trajan. Circonstances politiques et problèmes idéologiques" [compte rendu]. Bulletin de l'Association Guillaume Budé, Année 1985, Volume 44, Numéro 4 pp. 425–426. Available at [15]. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  323. ^ Jens Gering, Rezension zu: Karl Strobel, Kaiser Traian – Eine Epoche der Weltgeschichte,Frankfurter elektronische Rundschau zur Altertumskunde 15 (2011), [16]. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  324. , p. 166
  325. ^ Veyne 1976, pp. 654/655.
  326. ^ "Dacia | Europe, Map, Culture, & History". Britannica. 23 November 2023. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
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  330. ^ Pius, A., Italica, H., Sabina, V., Aelius, L., Hadrianus, P. A., Augustus, C. P. A. T. H., ... & Paulina, D. Roman imperial dynasties. Nerva, 96, 98.

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Born: 18 September 53 Died: August 117
Regnal titles
Preceded by Roman emperor
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Cn. Pompeius Catullinus
as suffect consul
Roman consul
With: Mn. Acilius Glabrio
Succeeded by
P. Valerius Marinus
as suffect consul
Preceded byas suffect consul Roman consul
With: Nerva IV
Succeeded byas suffect consul
Preceded by Roman consul
With: Sex. Julius Frontinus
Succeeded byas suffect consul
Preceded byas suffect consul
Q. Articuleius Paetus
Succeeded byas suffect consul
Preceded by
L. Antonius Albus
M. Junius Homullus
as suffect consul
Roman consul
With: Manius Laberius Maximus
Succeeded byas suffect consul
Preceded byas suffect consul Roman consul
With: T. Sextius Cornelius Africanus
Succeeded byas suffect consul
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