Trajan

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Trajan
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Traianus Glyptothek Munich 336.jpg
Marble bust of Trajan.
Reign 28 January 98 —
9 August 117
(&&&&&&&&&&&&&019.&&&&&019 years, &&&&&&&&&&&&0193.&&&&&0193 days)
Full name Marcus Ulpius Traianus
(from birth to adoption);
Caesar Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus (from adoption to accession);
Imperator Caesar Divi Nervae filius Nerva Traianus Optimus Augustus Germanicus Dacicus Parthicus (as emperor)
Born 18 September 53(53-09-18)
Birthplace Italica, ancient Hispania
Died 9 August 117(117-08-09) (aged 63)
Place of death Selinus, Cilicia
Buried Rome
Predecessor Nerva
Successor Hadrian
Wife Pompeia Plotina
Children Hadrian (adoptive)
Royal House Nervan-Antonine
Father Marcus Ulpius Traianus
Mother Marcia

Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus, 18 September 53 – 9 August 117) was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica,[1] Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian.

Serving as a general in the Roman army along the German frontier, Trajan successfully put down the revolt of Antonius Saturninus in 89.

In September 96, Domitian was succeeded by Nerva, an old and childless senator who proved to be unpopular with the army. After a brief and tumultuous year in power, a revolt by members of the Praetorian Guard compelled him to adopt the more popular Trajan as his heir and successor. Nerva died on 27 January 98, and was succeeded by Trajan without incident.

Trajan as Emperor[change | change source]

As a civilian administrator, Trajan is best known for his extensive public building program which reshaped the city of Rome and left multiple enduring landmarks such as Trajan's Forum, Trajan's Market and Trajan's Column.

Early in his reign he annexed Nabataea (between the Arabian and Sinai peninsulas), creating the province of Arabia Petraea. His conquest of Dacia enriched the empire greatly - the new province possessed many valuable gold mines.[2] His war against the Parthian Empire ended with the sack of its capital Ctesiphon and the annexation of Armenia and Mesopotamia. His campaigns expanded the Roman Empire to its greatest territorial extent.

In late 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 succeeded by his adopted son Hadrian.

As an emperor, Trajan's reputation has endured — he is one of the few rulers whose reputation has survived nineteen centuries. Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the prayer felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, meaning "may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan". Among medieval Christian theologians, Trajan was considered a "virtuous pagan", while the 18th century historian Edward Gibbon popularized the notion of the Five Good Emperors, of which Trajan was the second.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Julian Bennett, Trajan: Optimus Princeps, 2nd Edition, Routledge 2000, 12.
  2. "De Imperatoribus Romanis". An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. http://www.roman-emperors.org/assobd.htm#t-inx. Retrieved 2007-07-21. "Battle of Sarmizegetusa (Sarmizegetuza), A.D. 105. During Trajan's reign one of the most important Roman successes was the victory over the Dacians."
  3. Nelson, Eric (2002). Idiots guide to the Roman Empire.. Alpha Books. pp. 207–209. ISBN 0-02-864151-5 .