TRAJAN (/ˈtreɪdʒən/ ; Latin : _Imperator Caesar
Divi Nervae filius Augustus_; 18 September 53 – 8 August 117 AD)
Roman emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Officially declared by the Senate
_optimus princeps_ ("the best ruler"),
Trajan is remembered as a
successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military
Roman history , leading the empire to attain its maximum
territorial extent by the time of his death. He is also known for his
philanthropic rule, overseeing extensive public building programs and
implementing social welfare policies , which earned him his enduring
reputation as the second of the
Five Good Emperors who presided over
an era of peace and prosperity in the
Mediterranean world .
Born in the city of
Italica in the province of
Hispania Baetica ,
Trajan's non-patrician family was of Italian and Iberian origin.
Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor
Serving as a legatus legionis in
Hispania Tarraconensis , in 89 Trajan
Domitian against a revolt on the
Rhine led by Antonius
Saturninus . In September 96,
Domitian was succeeded by Marcus
Nerva , an old and childless senator who proved to be
unpopular with the army. After a brief and tumultuous year in power,
culminating in a revolt by members of the
Praetorian Guard ,
compelled to adopt the more popular
Trajan as his heir and successor.
He died on 27 January 98 and was succeeded by his adopted son without
As a civilian administrator,
Trajan is best known for his extensive
public building program, which reshaped the city of
Rome and left
numerous enduring landmarks such as Trajan\'s Forum , Trajan\'s Market
and Trajan\'s Column . Early in his reign, he annexed the Nabataean
Kingdom , creating the province of
Arabia Petraea . His conquest of
Dacia enriched the empire greatly, as the new province possessed many
valuable gold mines. However, its exposed position north of the Danube
made it susceptible to attack on three sides, and it was later
abandoned by Emperor
Trajan's war against the
Parthian Empire ended with the sack of the
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 his ashes were laid to rest under Trajan's Column. He was
succeeded by his adopted son
* 1 Sources
* 2 Early life and rise to power
* 3.1 The _Correctores_: Greek/Roman relations
* 3.2 Conquest of
* 3.3 Annexation of Nabataea
* 3.4 Period of peace: public buildings and festivities
* 3.5 Devaluation of the currency
* 3.6 The _alimenta_
* 3.7 War against Parthia
* 4 Death and succession
* 5 Building activities
* 6 Trajan\'s legacy
* 7 Notes
* 8 References and further reading
* 8.1 Primary sources
* 8.2 Secondary material
* 9 External links
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 wish _felicior
Augusto, melior Traiano _ (that he be "luckier than
better than Trajan"). Among medieval
considered a virtuous pagan . In the
speaking on the advantages of adoptive succession over heredity,
mentioned the five successive good emperors "from
Nerva to Marcus "
– a trope out of which the 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon
popularized the notion of the
Five Good Emperors , of whom
As far as ancient literary sources are concerned, an extant
continuous account of Trajan's reign does not exist. An account of the
Dacian Wars , the _Commentarii de bellis Dacicis _, written by Trajan
himself or a ghostwriter and modelled after Caesar 's _Commentarii de
Bello Gallico _, is lost with the exception of one sentence. Only
fragments remain of the _Getiká_, a book by Trajan's personal
Titos Statilios Kriton . The _Parthiká_, a 17-volume
account of the Parthian Wars written by
Arrian , has met a similar
fate. Book 68 in
Cassius Dio 's _Roman History_, which survives
Byzantine abridgments and epitomes , is the main source for
the political history of Trajan's rule. Besides this, Pliny the
Younger\'s _Panegyricus_ and Dio of Prusa 's orations are the best
surviving contemporary sources. Both are adulatory perorations ,
typical of the late Roman era, that describe an idealized monarch and
an equally idealized view of Trajan's rule, and concern themselves
more with ideology than with actual fact. The tenth volume of Pliny's
letters contains his correspondence with Trajan, which deals with
various aspects of imperial Roman government, but this correspondence
is neither intimate nor candid: it is an exchange of official mail, in
which Pliny's stance borders on the servile. It is certain that much
of text of the letters that appear in this collection over Trajan's
signature was written and/or edited by Trajan's Imperial secretary,
his _ab epistulis_. Therefore, discussion of
Trajan and his rule in
modern historiography cannot avoid speculation, as well as recourse to
non-literary sources such as archaeology and epigraphy .
EARLY LIFE AND RISE TO POWER
Denarius of Trajan, minted in
Rome in 101–102 AD
Marcus Ulpius Traianus was born on 18 September 53 AD in the Roman
Hispania Baetica (in what is now
Andalusia in modern
Spain ), in the city of
Italica (now in the municipal area of
Santiponce, in the outskirts of
Seville ). Although frequently
designated the first provincial emperor, and dismissed by later
writers such as
Cassius Dio (himself of provincial origin) as "an
Iberian, and neither an Italian nor even an Italiot",
to have hailed on his father's side from the area of Tuder (modern
Todi ) in Umbria , at the border with
Etruria , and on his mother's
side from the Gens Marcia , of an Italic family of Sabine origin.
Trajan's birthplace of
Italica was founded as a Roman military colony
of _Italian_ settlers in 206 BC, though it is unknown when the Ulpii
arrived there. It is possible, but cannot be substantiated, that
Trajan's ancestors married local women and lost their citizenship at
some point, but they certainly recovered their status when the city
became a municipium with
Latin citizenship in the mid-1st century BC.
Trajan was the son of Marcia , a Roman noblewoman and sister-in-law
of the second Flavian Emperor
Titus , and Marcus Ulpius Traianus , a
prominent senator and general from the _gens Ulpia _. Marcus Ulpius
Traianus the elder served
Vespasian in the
First Jewish-Roman War
First Jewish-Roman War ,
commanding the _Legio X Fretensis_ .
Trajan himself was just one of
many well-known Ulpii in a line that continued long after his own
death. His elder sister was
Ulpia Marciana , and his niece was
Salonina Matidia . The _patria _ of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish
Baetica, where their ancestors had settled late in the 3rd century
As a young man, he rose through the ranks of the
Roman army , serving
in some of the most contested parts of the Empire's frontier. In
76–77, Trajan's father was Governor of Syria (_
Legatus pro praetore
Trajan himself remained as _
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. In about
86, Trajan's cousin P. Aelius Afer died, leaving his young children
Hadrian and Paulina orphans.
Trajan and a colleague of his, Publius
Acilius Attianus , became co-guardians of the two children.
Trajan was created ordinary
Consul for the year, which was a
great honour as he was in his late thirties and therefore just above
the minimum legal age (32) for holding the post. This can be explained
in part by 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 . Around
Apollodorus of Damascus with him to
and also married
Pompeia Plotina , a noble woman from the Roman
Nîmes ; the marriage ultimately remained childless.
Trajan wearing the civic crown and military garb such as a muscle
cuirass , 2nd century AD, Antalya Archaeological Museum
It has been remarked by later authors (among them Trajan's late
successor Julian ) that
Trajan was personally inclined towards
homosexuality , far in excess of the usual bisexual activity that was
common among upper class Roman men of the period. Although Julian's
scathing comments on the matter reflect a change of mores that began
Severan dynasty , an earlier author, Cassius Dio, already
makes reference to Trajan's marked personal preference for the male
sex. Trajan's putative lovers included
Hadrian , pages of the imperial
household, the actor Pylades, a dancer called Apolaustus, Lucius
Licinius Sura , and Nerva.
As the details of Trajan's military career are obscure, it is only
sure that in 89, as legate of
Legio VII Gemina in Hispania
Tarraconensis , he supported
Domitian against an attempted _coup_.
Later, after his 91 consulate (held with Acilius Glabrio , a rare pair
of consuls at the time, in that neither consul was a member of the
ruling dynasty), he held some unspecified consular commission as
governor on either
Germania Superior – 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
Since Domitian's successor, Nerva, was unpopular with the army and
had just been forced by his
Casperius Aelianus to
execute Domitian's killers, he felt the need to gain the support of
the military in order to avoid being ousted. He accomplished this in
the summer of 97 by naming
Trajan as his adoptive son and successor,
allegedly solely on Trajan's outstanding military merits. 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 were the way in which
Trajan was raised to power, then it was
worth it. If this was what actually occurred,
Trajan would be a
usurper, and the notion of a natural continuity between Nerva's and
Trajan's reigns would be an _ex post_ fiction developed later by
historians such as
According to the _
Augustan History _, it was the future Emperor
Hadrian who brought word to
Trajan of his adoption.
Hadrian was then
retained on the
Rhine frontier by
Trajan as a military tribune,
becoming privy to the circle of friends and relations with which
Trajan surrounded himself – among them the then governor of Germania
Inferior , the Spaniard
Lucius Licinius Sura , who would become
Trajan's chief personal adviser and official friend. As a token of
his influence, Sura would later become consul for the third time in
107. Some ancient sources also tell about his having built a bath
named after him on the
Aventine Hill in Rome, or having this bath
Trajan and then named after him, in either case a signal of
honour as the only exception to the established rule that a public
building in the capital could be dedicated only to a member of the
imperial family. These baths were later expanded by the third
Decius as a means of stressing his link to Trajan.
Sura is also described as telling
Hadrian in 108 about his selection
as imperial heir. According to a modern historian, Sura's role as
kingmaker and éminence grise was deeply resented by some senators,
especially the historian Tacitus, who acknowledged Sura's military and
oratory virtues but at the same time resented his rapacity and devious
ways, similar to those of Vespasian\'s éminence grise Licinius
Nerva died on 27 January 98,
Trajan succeeded to the role of
emperor without any outward incident. However, the fact that he chose
not to hasten towards Rome, but instead to make a lengthy tour of
inspection on the
Danube frontiers, hints to the possible
fact that his power position in
Rome was unsure and that he had first
to assure himself of the loyalty of the armies at the front. It is
Trajan ordered Prefect Aelianus to attend him in
Germany , where he was apparently executed ("put out of the way"),
with his post being taken by
Attius Suburanus . Trajan's accession,
therefore, could qualify more as a successful _coup_ than an orderly
Trajan in 108 AD, in the
Museum of Art History in
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. 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. His belated ceremonial entry into
Rome in 99 was notably low-key, something on which Pliny the Younger
By not openly supporting Domitian's preference for equestrian
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. Therefore, he could
point to the allegedly republican character of his rule. 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. In reality,
Trajan did not
share power in any meaningful way with the Senate, something that
Pliny admits candidly: "verything depends on the whims of a single man
who, on behalf of the common welfare, has taken upon himself all
functions and all tasks". One of the most significant trends of his
reign was his encroachment on the Senate's sphere of authority, such
as his decision to make the senatorial provinces of Achaea and
Bythinia into imperial ones in order to deal with the inordinate
spending on public works by local magnates and the general
mismanagement of provincial affairs by various proconsuls appointed by
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. If in reality Trajan
was an autocrat, his deferential behavior towards his peers qualified
him to be viewed as a virtuous monarch. The whole idea was that
Trajan wielded autocratic power through _moderatio_ instead of
_contumacia_ – moderation instead of insolence. 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".
Eventually, Trajan's popularity among his peers was such that the
Roman Senate bestowed upon him the honorific of _optimus_, meaning
"the best", which appears on coins from 105 on. This title had
mostly to do with Trajan's role as benefactor, such as in the case of
him returning confiscated property.
That Trajan's ideal role was a conservative one becomes evident from
Pliny's works as well as from the orations of Dio of Prusa – 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_.
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.
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 -
exactly what was to put Greek-speaking elites and
Trajan unto a course
THE _CORRECTORES_: GREEK/ROMAN RELATIONS
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. 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. 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
An excellent example of this Greek alienation was the personal role
played by Dio of Prusa in his relationship with Trajan. Dio is
Philostratus as Trajan's close friend, and
supposedly engaging publicly in conversations with Dio. Nevertheless,
as a Greek local magnate with a taste for costly building projects and
pretensions of being an important political agent for Rome, Dio of
Prusa was actually a target for one of Trajan's authoritarian
innovations: the appointing of imperial _correctores_ to audit the
civic finances of the technically free Greek cities . The main goal
was to curb the overenthusiastic spending on public works that served
to channel ancient rivalries between neighboring cities. As Pliny
wrote Trajan, this had as its most visible consequence a trail of
unfinished and/or ill-kept public utilities.
Competition among Greek cities and their ruling oligarchies was
mainly for marks of preeminence, 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. 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". 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.
Roman authorities liked to play the Greek cities against one another
– something of which Dio of Prusa was fully aware:
y their public acts 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
These same Roman authorities had also an interest in assuring the
cities' solvency and therefore ready collection of Imperial taxes.
Last but not least, inordinate spending on civic buildings was not
only a means to achieve local superiority, but also a means for the
local Greek elites to maintain a separate cultural identity –
something expressed in the contemporary rise of the
Second Sophistic ;
this "cultural patriotism" acted as a kind of substitute for the loss
of political independence, and as such was shunned by Roman
Trajan himself wrote to Pliny: "These poor Greeks all
love a gymnasium ... they will have to content with one that suits
their real needs".
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. It
is noteworthy that an embassy from Dio's city of Prusa was not
favorably received by Trajan, 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.
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. Statue of
Trajan, Luna marble and Proconessian marble , 2nd century AD, from
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. "It's well established that are in a
state of disorder", Pliny once wrote to Trajan, plans for unnecessary
works made in collusion with local contractors being identified as one
of the main problems. One of the compensatory measures proposed by
Pliny expressed a thoroughly Roman conservative position: as the
cities' financial solvency depended on the councilmen' purses, it was
necessary to have more councilmen on the local city councils.
According to Pliny, the best way to achieve this was to lower the
minimum age for holding a seat on the council, making it possible for
more sons of the established oligarchical families to join and thus
contribute to civic spending; this was seen as preferable to enrolling
non-noble wealthy upstarts.
Such an increase in the number of council members was granted to
Dio's city of Prusa, to the dismay of existing councilmen who felt
their status lowered. A similar situation existed in Claudiopolis ,
where a public bath was built with the proceedings from the entrance
fees paid by "supernumerary" members of the Council, enrolled with
Trajan's permission. Also, according to the Digest , it was decreed
Trajan that when a city magistrate promised to achieve a particular
public building, it was incumbent on his heirs to complete the
Trajan ingratiated himself with the Greek intellectual elite by
Rome many (including Dio) who had been exiled by
Domitian, and by returning (in a process begun by Nerva) a great deal
of private property that
Domitian had confiscated. He also had good
Plutarch , who, as a notable of
Delphi , seems to have
been favored 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 neighboring cities. 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. 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. 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",
Pliny) as well as in his and Pliny's fears about excessive civic
generosities by local notables such as distribution of money and/or
gifts. For the same reason, judging from Pliny's letters it can also
be assumed 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. A revealing case-history, told by Pliny, tells
of Dio of Prusa placing a statue of
Trajan in a building complex where
Dio's wife and son were buried- therefore incurring a charge of
treason for placing the Emperor's statue near a grave. Trajan,
however, dropped the charge.
Nevertheless, while the office of _corrector_ was intended as a tool
to curb any hint of independent political activity among local
notables in the Greek cities, the _correctores_ themselves were all
men of the highest social standing entrusted with an exceptional
commission. The post seems to have been conceived partly as a reward
for senators who had chosen to make a career solely on the Emperor's
behalf. Therefore, in reality the post was conceived as a means for
"taming" both Greek notables and Roman senators. It must be added
Trajan was wary of the civic oligarchies in the Greek
cities, he also admitted into the Senate a number of prominent Eastern
notables already slated for promotion during Domitian's reign by
reserving for them one of the twenty posts open each year for minor
magistrates (the _vigintiviri _). Such must be the case of the
Galatian notable and "leading member of the Greek community"
(according to one inscription) Gaius Julius Severus , who was a
descendant of several
Hellenistic dynasts and client kings. Severus
was the grandfather of the prominent general Gaius Julius Quadratus
Bassus , consul in 105. Other prominent Eastern senators included
Gaius Julius Alexander Berenicianus , a descendant of Herod the Great
, suffect consul in 116.
Trajan created at least 14 new senators from
the Greek-speaking half of the Empire, an unprecedented recruitment
number that opens to question the issue of the "traditionally Roman"
character of his reign, as well as the "Hellenism" of his successor
Hadrian. But then Trajan's new Eastern senators were mostly very
powerful and very wealthy men with more than local influence and much
interconnected by marriage, so that many of them were not altogether
"new" to the Senate. On the local level, among the lower section of
the Eastern propertied, the alienation of most Greek notables and
intellectuals towards Roman rule, and the fact that the Romans were
seen by most such Greek notables as aliens, persisted well after
Trajan's reign. It is interesting to note that one of Trajan's
senatorial creations from the East, the
Athenian Gaius Julius
Philopappos , a member of the Royal House of
Commagene , left behind him a funeral monument on the Mouseion Hill
that was later disparagingly described by Pausanias as "a monument
built to a
CONQUEST OF DACIA
Main article: Trajan\'s Dacian Wars Trajan\'s Column ,
It was as a military commander that
Trajan is best known to history,
particularly for his conquests in the
Near East , but initially for
the two wars against
Dacia – the reduction to client kingdom
(101–102), followed by actual incorporation into the Empire of the
Danube border group of
Dacia – an area that had troubled Roman
thought for over a decade with the unstable peace negotiated by
Domitian\'s ministers with the powerful Dacian king
According to the provisions of this treaty,
Decebalus was acknowledged
as _rex amicus_, that is, client king; nevertheless, in exchange for
accepting client status, he received a generous stipend from Rome, as
well as being supplied with technical experts. The treaty seems to
have allowed Roman troops the right of passage through the Dacian
kingdom in order to attack the
However, senatorial opinion never forgave
Domitian for paying what was
seen as "tribute" to a Barbarian king. In addition, unlike the
Germanic tribes, the Dacian kingdom was an organized state capable of
developing alliances of its own, thus making it a strategic threat
Trajan a strong motive to attack it.
In May of 101,
Trajan launched his first campaign into the Dacian
kingdom, crossing to the northern bank of the
Danube and defeating
the Dacian army at
Tapae (see Second Battle of
Tapae ), near the Iron
Transylvania . It was not a decisive victory, however.
Trajan's troops were mauled in the encounter, and he put off further
campaigning for the year in order to regroup and reinforce his army.
The following winter, King
Decebalus took the initiative by launching
a counter-attack across the
Danube further downstream, supported by
Sarmatian cavalry, 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 . Trajan's
army then advanced further into Dacian territory, and, a year later,
Decebalus to submit. He had to renounce claim to some regions
of his kingdom, return all Roman runaways (most of them technical
experts), and surrender all his war machines.
Trajan returned to
Rome in triumph and was granted the title
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
harbor Roman runaways, and to pressure his Western neighbors, the
Iazyges Sarmatians, into allying themselves with him. By trying to
develop an anti-Roman bloc,
Decebalus eventually left
the alternative of treating
Dacia as a protectorate, rather than an
outright conquest. In 104
Decebalus devised a failed attempt on
Trajan's life by means of some Roman deserters, and held 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.
Prior to the campaign,
Trajan had raised two entirely new legions: II
Traiana – which, however, may have been posted in the East, at the
Syrian port of Laodicea – and
XXX Ulpia Victrix , which was posted
Brigetio , in
Pannonia . 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.
Even after the Dacian wars, the
Danube frontier would permanently
Rhine as the main military axis of the Roman Empire.
Including auxiliaries , the number of Roman troops engaged on both
campaigns was between 150,000 and 175,000, while
dispose of up to 200,000.
Following the design of
Apollodorus of Damascus ,
Trajan ordered the
building of a massive bridge over the
Danube , over which the Roman
army was able to cross the river swiftly and in numbers, as well as to
send in reinforcements, even in winter when the river was not frozen
enough to bear the passage of a party of soldiers.
reformed the infrastructure of the
Iron Gates region of the
He commissioned either the creation or enlargement of the road along
the Iron Gates, carved into the side of the gorge. Additionally,
Trajan commissioned a canal to be built around the rapids of the Iron
Gates. Evidence of this comes from a marble slab discovered near Caput
Bovis , the site of a Roman fort. The slab, dated to the year 101,
commemorates the building of at least one canal that went from the
Kasajna tributary to at least Ducis Pratum, whose embankments were
still visible until recently. However, the placement of the slab at
Caput Bovis suggests that the canal extended to this point or that
there was a second canal downriver of the Kasajna-Ducis Pratum one.
Statue of Trajan, posing in military garb, in front of the
Colonia Ulpia Traiana in the Xanten Archaeological
These costly projects completed, in 105
Trajan again took to the
field. In a fierce campaign which seems to have consisted mostly of
static warfare: the Dacians, devoid of maneuvering 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 , which they
finally took and destroyed.
Decebalus fled, but, when cornered by
Roman cavalry, committed suicide. His severed head, brought to Trajan
by the cavalryman
Tiberius Claudius Maximus , was later exhibited in
Rome on the steps leading up to the Capitol and thrown on the Gemonian
Trajan built a new city,
Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica
Sarmizegetusa , on another site (north of the hill citadel holding the
previous Dacian capital) although bearing the same full name,
Sarmizegetusa. This capital city was conceived as a purely civilian
administrative center and was provided the usual Romanized
administrative apparatus (decurions , aediles , etc.). Urban life in
Roman Dacia seems to have been restricted to Roman colonists, mostly
military veterans; 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. In another
arrangement with no parallels in any other Roman province, the
existing quasi-urban Dacian settlements disappeared after the Roman
conquest. A number of unorganized urban settlements (_vici_ )
developed around military encampments in
Dacia proper - the most
important being Apulum - but were only acknowledged as cities proper
well after Trajan's reign.
The main regional effort of urbanization was concentrated by Trajan
at the rearguard, in Moesia, where he created the new cities of
Nicopolis ad Istrum and
Marcianopolis . A vicus was also created
around the Tropaeum Traianum. The garrison city of
the status of
Roman colony after its legionary garrison was
redeployed. The fact that these former Danubian outposts had ceased
to be frontier basis and were now in the deep rear acted as an
inducement to their urbanization and development.
Not all of
Dacia was permanently occupied. What was permanently
included in the province, after the post-Trajanic evacuation of some
land across the lower Danube, were the lands extending from the
Danube to the inner arch of the
Carpathian Mountains , including
Transylvania , the
Metaliferi Mountains and
Oltenia .The Roman
province eventually took the form of an "excrescence" North of the
Danube, with ill-defined limits, stretching from the
Carpathians , and was intended perhaps as a basis for further
expansion in Eastern Europe – which the Romans conceived to be much
more "flattened", and closer to the ocean, than it actually was.
Defense of the province was entrusted to a single legion, the XIII
Gemina , stationed at Apulum , which functioned as an advanced guard
that could, in case of need, strike either west or east at the
Sarmatians living at the borders. Therefore, the indefensible
character of the province did not appear to be a problem for Trajan,
as the province was conceived more as a sally-base for further
attacks. Even in the absence of further Roman expansion, the value of
the province depended on Roman overall strength: while
strong, the Dacian salient was an instrument of military and
diplomatic control over the Danubian lands; when
Rome was weak, as
Crisis of the Third Century , the province became a
liability and was eventually abandoned.
Dacia with Romans and annexed it as a province of
the Roman Empire. Aside from their enormous booty (over half a million
slaves, according to
John Lydus ), Trajan's Dacian campaigns
benefited the Empire's finances through the acquisition of Dacia's
gold mines, managed by an imperial procurator of equestrian rank
(_procurator aurariarum_). 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. 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.
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.
ANNEXATION OF NABATAEA
Rabbel II Soter , one of Rome's client kings, died. This
event might have prompted the annexation of the
Nabataean kingdom ,
but the manner and the formal reasons for the annexation are unclear.
Some epigraphic evidence suggests a military operation, with forces
from Syria and Egypt . What is known is that by 107, Roman legions
were stationed in the area around
Bostra , as is shown by a
papyrus found in Egypt. The furthest south the Romans occupied (or,
better, garrisoned, adopting a policy of having garrisons at key
points in the desert) was Hegra , over 300 kilometres (190 mi)
Petra . The empire gained what became the province of
Arabia Petraea (modern southern
Jordan and north west
Saudi Arabia ).
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.
PERIOD OF PEACE: PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND FESTIVITIES
Tabula Traiana near Trajan\'s Bridge in
Đerdap National Park ,
For the next seven years,
Trajan ruled as a civilian emperor, to the
same acclaim as before. It was during this time that he corresponded
Pliny the Younger on the subject of how to deal with the
Christians of Pontus , telling Pliny to continue to persecute
Christians but not to accept anonymous denounciations in the interests
of justice as well as of "the spirit of the age". People who admitted
to their being Christians and refused to recant, however, were to be
executed "for obstinacy" when non-citizens, and sent to
Rome for trial
if they were Roman citizens.
Trajan built several new buildings, monuments and roads in Italia and
Hispania . His magnificent complex in
Rome raised to
commemorate his victories in
Dacia (and largely financed from that
campaign's loot) – consisting of a forum , Trajan's Column, and
Trajan's Market still stands in
Rome today. He was also a prolific
builder of triumphal arches, many of which survive, and a rebuilder of
Via Traiana and
Via Traiana Nova ).
One of Trajan's notable acts during this period was the hosting of a
three-month gladiatorial festival in the great
precise date is unknown). Combining chariot racing, beast fights and
close-quarters gladiatorial bloodshed, this gory spectacle reputedly
left 11,000 dead (mostly slaves and criminals, not to mention the
thousands of ferocious beasts killed alongside them) and attracted a
total of five million spectators over the course of the festival. The
care bestowed by
Trajan on the managing of such public spectacles led
the orator Fronto to state approvingly that
Trajan had paid equal
attention to entertainments as well as to serious issues. Fronto
concluded that "neglect of serious matters can cause greater damage,
but neglect of amusements greater discontent". As Fronto added,
amusements were a means to assure the _general_ acquiescence of the
populace, while the more "serious" issue of the corn dole aimed
ultimately only at individuals.
DEVALUATION OF THE CURRENCY
Trajan devalued the
Roman currency . He decreased the silver
purity of the denarius from 93.5% to 89% – the actual silver weight
dropping from 3.04 grams to 2.88 grams. This devaluation, coupled
with the massive amount of gold and silver carried off after Trajan's
Dacian Wars, allowed the emperor to mint a larger quantity of denarii
than his predecessors. Also,
Trajan withdrew from circulation silver
denarii minted before the previous devaluation achieved by Nero,
something that allows for thinking that Trajan's devaluation had to do
with political ends, such as allowing for increased civil and military
Another important act was his formalisation of the _alimenta _, a
welfare program that helped orphans and poor children throughout
Italy. It provided general funds, as well as food and subsidized
education. The program was supported initially out of Dacian War
booty, and then later by a combination of estate taxes and
philanthropy. In general terms, the scheme functioned by means of
mortgages on Italian farms (_fundi_), through which registered
landowners received a lump sum from the imperial treasure, being in
return expected to pay yearly a given proportion of the loan to the
maintenance of an alimentary fund.
Although the system is well documented in literary sources and
contemporary epigraphy, its precise aims are controversial and have
generated considerable dispute among modern scholars, especially about
its actual aims and scope as a piece of welfare policy. It is usually
assumed that the program was intended to bolster citizen numbers in
Italy, following the provisions of Augustus' moral legislation (_Lex
Julia _) favoring procreation on moral grounds – something openly
acknowledged by Pliny. Nevertheless, this reproductive aim was
anachronistic, based as it was on a view of the
Roman Empire as
Rome and Italy, with a purely Italian manpower base, both
increasingly no longer the case. This outdated stance was confirmed
by Pliny when he wrote that the recipients of the _alimenta_ were
supposed to people "the barracks and the tribes " as future soldiers
and electors – two roles ill-fitted to the contemporary reality of
an empire stretching across the entire Mediterranean and ruled by an
autocrat. The fact that the scheme was restricted to
that it might have been conceived as a form of political privilege
accorded to the original heartland of the empire. According to the
French historian Paul Petit, the _alimenta_ should be seen as part of
a set of measures aimed towards the economic recovery of Italy.
Finley, however, thinks otherwise: in his view, the whole scheme had
as its chief aim the artificial bolstering of the political weight of
Italy, as seen, for example, in the stricture – heartily praised by
Pliny – laid down by
Trajan that ordered all senators, even when
from the provinces, to have at least a third of their landed estates
in Italian territory, as it was "unseemly that should treat
Italy not as their native land, but as a mere inn or lodging house".
"Interesting and unique" as the scheme was, it remained small. The
fact that it was subsidized by means of interest payments on loans
made by landowners – mostly large ones, assumed to be more reliable
debtors – actually benefited a very low percentage of potential
welfare recipients (
Paul Veyne has assumed that, in the city of Veleia
, only one child out of ten was an actual beneficiary) – thus the
idea, put forth by
Moses I. Finley , that the grandiose aims amounted
to at most a form of random charity, an additional imperial
benevolence. Reliance solely on loans to great landowners (in Veleia,
only some 17 square kilometers were mortgaged) restricted funding
sources even further. It seems that the mortgage scheme was simply a
way of making local notables participate, albeit in a lesser role, in
imperial benevolence. It is possible that the scheme was, to some
extent, a forced loan, something that tied unwilling landowners to the
imperial treasure in order to make them supply some funds to civic
expenses. The same notion of exploiting private – and supposedly
more efficient – management of a landed estate as a means to obtain
public revenue was also employed by other similar and lesser schemes.
The senator Pliny had endowed his city of Comum a perpetual right to
an annual charge (_vectigal_) of thirty thousand sestertii on one of
his estates in perpetuity even after his death (Pliny's heirs or any
subsequent purchaser of the estate being liable), with the rent thus
obtained contributing to the maintenance of Pliny's semi-private
charitable foundation. With such a scheme, Pliny probably hoped to
engender enthusiasm among fellow landowners for such philanthropic
Trajan did likewise, but since "willingness is a slippery
commodity", Finley suspects that, in order to ensure Italian
landowners' acceptance of the burden of borrowing from the _alimenta_
fund, some "moral" pressure was exerted.
In short, the scheme was so limited in scope that it could not have
fulfilled a coherent economic or demographic purpose – it was the
usual Ancient charity, directed, not towards the poor, but to the
community (in the case, the Italian cities) as a whole. The fact that
the _alimenta_ was begun during and after the Dacian Wars and twice
came on the heels of a distribution of money to the population of Rome
(_congiaria_) following Dacian triumphs, points towards a purely
charitable motive. The fact that the _alimenta_ was restricted to
Italy highlights the ideology behind it: to reaffirm the notion of the
Roman Empire as an _Italian_ overlordship. Given its limited scope,
the plan was, nevertheless, very successful in that it lasted for a
century and a half: the last known official in charge of it is
attested during the reign of
WAR AGAINST PARTHIA
Aureus issued by
Trajan to celebrate the conquest of Parthia
The extent of the
Roman Empire under
Trajan (117) Anatolia,
western Caucasus and northern Levant under
Trajan Main article:
Trajan\'s Parthian campaign
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
Nero some fifty years earlier. It's noteworthy, however that
Trajan, already in Syria early in 113, consistently refused to accept
diplomatic approaches from the Parthians in order to settle the
Armenian imbroglio peacefully.
As the surviving literary accounts of Trajan's Parthian War are
fragmentary and scattered, 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. Many modern historians
consider that Trajan's decision to wage war against Parthia might have
had economic motives: after Trajan's annexation of Arabia, he built a
Via Traiana Nova , that went from
Bostra to Aila on the Red
Sea. That meant that Charax on the
Persian Gulf was the sole
remaining western terminus of the Indian trade route outside direct
Roman control, 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.
That Charax traded with the Roman Empire, there can be no doubt, as
its actual connections with merchants from
Palmyra at the period are
well documented in contemporary Palmyrene epigraph, which tells of
various Palmyrene citizens honoured for holding office in Charax.
Also, Charax's rulers domains at the time possibly included the
Bahrain islands (where a Palmyrene citizen held office, shortly after
Trajan's death, as satrap – but then, the appointment was made by
a Parthian king of Charax ) something which offered the possibility of
extending Roman hegemony into the
Persian Gulf itself. The rationale
behind Trajan's campaign, in this case, would be 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.
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. He had
recruited Palmyrene units into his army, including a camel unit,
therefore apparently procuring Palmyrene support to his ultimate goal
of annexing Charax. It has even been ventured that, when earlier in
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
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. 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. As in the case of the _alimenta_, scholars like Moses
Paul Veyne have considered the whole idea of a foreign
trade "policy" behind Trajan's war anachronistic: according to them,
the sole Roman concern with the Far Eastern luxuries trade – besides
collecting toll taxes and customs – was moral and involved frowning
upon the "softness" of luxuries, but no economic policy. In the
absence of conclusive evidence, trade between
Rome and India might
have been far more balanced, in terms of quantities of precious metals
exchanged: one of our sources for the notion of the Roman gold drain
– Pliny's the Younger's uncle
Pliny the Elder – had earlier
Gangetic Plains as one of the gold sources for the Roman
Empire. Therefore, the fact that, in his controversial book on the
Ancient 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. Trajan, "the Palladium ", white
marble statue at the
Colosseum in Rome, late 1st century AD
The alternative view is to see the campaign as triggered by the lure
of territorial annexation and prestige, the sole motive ascribed by
Cassius Dio. As far as territorial conquest involved tax-collecting,
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. Also, there was the propaganda value of an Eastern
conquest that would emulate, in Roman fashion, those of Alexander the
Great . 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 – as well as in Trajan's closer associates, speculative dreams
about the booty to be obtained by reproducing Macedonian Eastern
conquests. 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 . Also, it is possible that the attachment of
Trajan to an
expansionist policy was supported by a powerful circle of conservative
Hispania committed to a policy of imperial expansion,
first among them being the all-powerful
Licinius Sura. Finally, 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.
Finally, there are other modern historians who think that Trajan's
original aims were purely military and quite modest: 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. 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.
The campaign was carefully planned in advance: ten legions were
concentrated in the Eastern theater; 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. The intended
campaign, therefore, was immensely costly from its very beginning.
Trajan marched first on Armenia, deposed the Parthian-appointed king
(who was afterwards murdered while kept in the custody of Roman troops
in an unclear incident, later described by Fronto as a breach of Roman
good faith ) and annexed it to the
Roman Empire as a province,
receiving in passing the acknowledgement of Roman hegemony by various
tribes in the Caucasus and on the Eastern coast of the Black Sea – a
process that kept him busy until the end of 114. At the same time, a
Roman column under the legate
Lusius Quietus – an outstanding
cavalry general who had signaled himself during the Dacian Wars by
commanding a unit from his native
Mauretania – crossed the Araxes
Media Atropatene and the land of the Mardians
Ghilan ). 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. This newer, more "rational" frontier, depended,
however, on an increased, permanent Roman presence East of the
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
Euphrates rivers. He placed permanent
garrisons along the way to secure the territory. While
from west to east,
Lusius Quietus moved with his army from the Caspian
Sea towards the west, both armies performing a successful pincer
movement, whose apparent result was to establish a Roman presence
Parthian Empire proper, with
Trajan taking the northern
Mesopotamian cities of
Nisibis and Batnae and organizing a province of
Mesopotamia , including the Kingdom of
Osrhoene – where King Abgaros
VII submitted to
Trajan publicly – as a Roman protectorate. 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. 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. _ Sestertius issued by the Senate (SC, Senatus
Consultus_) during 116 to commemorate Trajan's Parthian victories.
Obverse: bust of Trajan, with laurel crown. Caption: Trajan's
Trajan standing between prostrate allegories of
Armenia (crowned with a tiara ) and the Rivers
Tigris & Euphrates.
Armenia "> Bronze bust of
Trajan in his later years,
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations ,
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, M. Pedo Virgilianus –
Trajan again took to the field in 116, with a view to the conquest 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
"preemptive 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. It is noteworthy
that no new legions were raised by
Trajan before the Parthian
campaign, maybe because the sources of new citizen recruits were
As far as the sources allow a description of this campaign, it seems
that one Roman division crossed the
Adiabene , sweeping
south and capturing Adenystrae ; a second followed the river south,
Trajan himself sailed down the
Dura-Europos – where a triumphal arch was erected in his honour –
through Ozogardana , where he erected a "tribunal" still to be seen at
the time of Julian the Apostate\'s campaigns in the same area. Having
come to the narrow strip of land between the
Euphrates and the Tigris,
he then dragged his fleet overland into the Tigris, capturing Seleucia
and finally the Parthian capital of
He continued southward to the
Persian Gulf , when, after escaping
with his fleet a tidal bore on the Tigris, 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, 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 .
Since Charax was a _de facto_ independent kingdom whose connections
Palmyra were described above, Trajan's bid for the
Persian Gulf may
have coincided with Palmyrene interests in the region. Another
hypothesis is that the rulers of Charax had expansionist designs on
Parthian Babylon, giving them a rationale for alliance with Trajan.
The Parthian summer capital of
Susa was apparently also occupied by
According to late literary sources (not backed by numismatic or
inscriptional evidence) a province of Assyria was also proclaimed,
apparently covering the territory of Adiabene. Some measures seem to
have been considered regarding the fiscal administration of Indian
trade – or simply about the payment of customs (_portoria_) on goods
traded on the
Euphrates and Tigris. It is possible that it was this
"streamlining" of the administration of the newly conquered lands
according to the standard pattern of Roman provincial administration
in tax collecting, requisitions and the handling of local potentates'
prerogatives, that triggered later resistance against Trajan.
According to some modern historians,
Trajan might have busied himself
during his stay on the
Persian Gulf with ordering raids on the
Parthian coasts, as well as probing into extending Roman suzerainty
over the mountaineer tribes holding the passes across the Zagros
Mountains into the
Iranian Plateau eastward, as well as establishing
some sort of direct contact between
Rome and the
Kushan Empire. 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. A coin of Trajan, found together with coins of
Kanishka , at the
Ahin Posh Buddhist Monastery,
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 – a sudden outburst of Parthian resistance, led by a
nephew of the Parthian king
Osroes I , Sanatruces .
Sanatruces, who had retained a cavalry force, possibly strengthened
by the addition of
Saka archers, imperiled Roman positions in
Mesopotamia and Armenia, something
Trajan sought to deal with by
forsaking direct Roman rule in Parthia proper, at least partially.
Trajan sent two armies towards Northern Mesopotamia: the first, under
Lusius Quietus, recovered
Edessa from the rebels, probably
having King Abgarus deposed and killed in the process, with Quietus
probably earning the right to receive the honors of a senator of
praetorian rank (_adlectus inter praetorios_). The second army,
however, under Appius Maximus Santra (probably a governor of
Macedonia) was defeated and Santra killed. Later in 116, Trajan, with
the assistance of Quietus and two other legates, Marcus Erucius Clarus
Tiberius Julius Alexander Julianus , defeated a Parthian army in
a battle where Sanatruces was killed (possibly with the assistance of
Osroes' son and Sanatruces' cousin,
Parthamaspates , whom
successfully). After re-taking and burning Seleucia,
formally deposed the Osroes, putting
Parthamaspates on the throne as
client ruler . This event was commemorated in a coin so as to be
presented as the reduction of Parthia to client kingdom status: REX
PARTHIS DATUS, "a king is given to the Parthians". That done, Trajan
retreated north in order to retain what he could of the new provinces
Armenia – where he had already accepted an armistice in exchange
for surrendering part of the territory to Sanatruces' son Vologeses
and Mesopotamia. Bust of Trajan,
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
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 . Another rebellion
flared up among the Jewish communities of Northern Mesopotamia,
probably part of a general reaction against Roman occupation. 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. Quietus discharged his commissions
successfully, so much that the war was afterward named after him –
_Kitus_ being a corruption of _Quietus_. If the
Kitos War theater
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
Quietus was promised a consulate in the following year (118) for his
victories, but he was killed before this could occur, during the
bloody purge that opened Hadrian\'s reign, in which Quietus and three
other former consuls were sentenced to death after being tried on a
vague charge of conspiracy by the (secret) court of the Praetorian
Prefect Attianus . It has been theorized that Quietus and his
colleagues were executed on Hadrian's direct orders, for fear of their
popular standing with the army and their close connections to Trajan.
In contrast, the next prominent Roman figure in charge of the
repression of the Jewish revolt, the equestrian Quintus Marcius Turbo
, who had dealt with the rebel leader from Cyrene, Loukuas, retained
Hadrian's trust, eventually becoming his
Praetorian Prefect .
Hadrian could not allow the continued existence alongside
him of a group of independent-minded senatorial generals inherited
from his predecessor. 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 on a
preemptive strike against these prospective rivals.
DEATH AND SUCCESSION
Alcántara Bridge , widely hailed as a masterpiece of Roman
Statue of Trajan at
Tower Hill , London
Early in 117,
Trajan grew ill and set out to sail back to Italy. His
health declined throughout the spring and summer of 117, something
publicly acknowledged by the fact that a bronze bust displayed at the
time in the public baths of Ancyra showed him clearly aged and
emaciated. After reaching Selinus (modern
Gazipasa ) in
which was afterwards called _Trajanopolis_, he suddenly died from
edema on August 8. Some say that
Trajan had adopted
Hadrian as his
successor, but others that it was his wife
Pompeia Plotina who assured
the succession to
Hadrian by keeping his death secret and afterwards
hiring someone to impersonate
Trajan by speaking with a tired voice
behind a curtain, well after
Trajan had died. Dio, who tells this
narrative, offers his father – the then governor of Cilicia
Apronianus – as a source, and therefore his narrative is possibly
grounded on contemporary rumor. It may also originate in Roman
displeasure at an empress meddling in political affairs. He had
reigned for 19 years, longer than anyone since
Tiberius , which would
be broken by Hadrian.
Hadrian held an ambiguous position during Trajan's reign. After
Legio I Minervia during the Dacian Wars, he had been
relieved from front-line duties at the decisive stage of the Second
Dacian War, being sent to govern the newly created province of
Pannonia Inferior . He had pursued a senatorial career without
particular distinction and had not been officially adopted by Trajan
(although he received from him decorations and other marks of
distinction that made him hope for the succession). He received no
post after his 108 consulate, and no further honours other than being
Archon eponymos for
Athens in 111/112. He probably did not take
part in the Parthian War. Literary sources relate that
considered others, such as the jurist
Lucius Neratius Priscus , as
heir. However, 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. In addition
Hadrian was born in
seems to have been well connected with the powerful group of Spanish
senators influential at Trajan's court through his ties to Plotina and
the Prefect Attianus. The fact that during Hadrian's reign he did not
pursue Trajan's senatorial policy may account for the "crass
hostility" shown him by literary sources.
Aware that the Parthian campaign was an enormous setback, and that it
revealed that the
Roman Empire had no means for an ambitious program
of conquests, Hadrian's first act as emperor was to abandon –
outwardly out of his own free will – the distant and indefensible
Mesopotamia and to restore Armenia, as well as Osrhoene, to the
Parthian hegemony under Roman suzerainty. However, all the other
territories conquered by
Trajan were retained. Roman friendship ties
with Charax (also known by the name of Mesene) were also retained
(although it is debated whether this had to do more with trade
concessions than with common Roman policy of exploiting dissensions
amid the Empire's neighbors). Trajan's ashes were laid to rest
underneath Trajan's column, the monument commemorating his success.
Trajan was a prolific builder in
Rome and the provinces, and many of
his buildings were erected by the gifted architect Apollodorus of
Damascus. Notable structures include the
Baths of Trajan , Trajan\'s
Forum , Trajan\'s Column , Trajan\'s Bridge ,
Alcántara Bridge , the
road and canal around the
Iron Gates (see conquest of
Dacia ), and
Alconétar Bridge . Some historians also attribute the
construction of the
Babylon fortress in Egypt to Trajan; the remains
of the fort is what is now known as the Church of Mar Girgis and its
surrounding buildings. In order to build his forum and the adjacent
brick market that also held his name
Trajan had vast areas of the
surrounding hillsides leveled.
Unlike many lauded rulers in history, Trajan's reputation has
survived undiminished for nearly nineteen centuries. 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. A Third Century Emperor, Decius,
even received from the Senate the name
Trajan as a decoration. 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. At the inauguration of later Roman
Emperors, the Senate would say the phrase _Felicior Augusto, melior
Traiano _ (""be more fortunate than
Augustus better than Trajan").
Rome resulted in further embellishment of his
legend: it was commonly said in medieval times that
Pope Gregory I ,
through divine intercession, resurrected
Trajan from the dead and
baptized him into the
Christian faith. An account of this features in
Golden Legend .
Some theologians such as
Thomas Aquinas discussed
Trajan as an
example of a virtuous pagan. In the _
Divine Comedy _,
following this legend, sees the spirit of
Trajan in the Heaven of
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.
I noticed that the inner bank of the curve...
Was of white marble, and so decorated
With carvings that not only Polycletus
But nature herself would there be put to shame...
There was recorded the high glory
Of that ruler of
Rome whose worth
Moved Gregory to his great victory;
I mean by this the Emperor Trajan;
And at his bridle a poor widow
Whose attitude bespoke tears and grief...
The wretched woman, in the midst of all this,
Seemed to be saying: 'Lord, avenge my son,
Who is dead, so that my heart is broken...'
So he said: 'Now be comforted, for I must
Carry out my duty before I go on:
Justice requires it and pity holds me back.'
_Dante, The Divine Comedy, Purgatorio X, ll. 32 f. and 73 f._
He also features in _
Piers Plowman _. An episode referred to as the
Trajan was reflected in several art works.
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.
It was only during the Enlightenment that this legacy began to be
Edward Gibbon expressed doubts about the militarized
character of Trajan's reign in contrast to the "moderate" practices of
his immediate successors. Mommsen adopted a divided stance towards
Trajan, at some point of his posthumously published lectures even
speaking about his "vainglory" (_Scheinglorie_). Mommsen also speaks
of Trajan's "insatiable, unlimited lust for conquest". 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 to Trajan's conquests, was "doing what the
situation clearly required".
It was exactly this military character of Trajan's reign that
attracted his early twentieth century biographer, the Italian Fascist
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. 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_). 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.
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"). 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
of Domitian's, culminating in a failed Parthian adventure intended as
the crown of his personal achievement. 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". 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-centered 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_.
* ^ Trajan's regal name had an equivalent English meaning of
Nerva Trajan, son of the Divine Nerva, the Emperor"
Discourses on Livy , I, 10, 4
* ^ Nelson, Eric (2002). _Idiots guide to the Roman Empire_. Alpha
Books. pp. 207–209. ISBN 0-02-864151-5 .
* ^ Strobel 2010 , p. 14.
* ^ Strobel 2010 , p. 15.
* ^ Bennett 2001 , pp. xii/xiii PIR Vlpivs 575
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 1–3.
* ^ Arnold Blumberg, _Great Leaders, Great Tyrants? Contemporary
Views of World Rulers who Made History_, 1995, Greenwood Publishing
Group, p.315: "
Trajan is frequently but misleadingly designated the
first provincial emperor, because the Ulpii were from Baetica
(southern Spain). The family, resident in
Spain for some time,
originated in Italian Tuder, not far from the Flavian home of Reate.
The emperor's father, M. Ulpius Traianus, was an early adherent of
Vespasian and perhaps the old family friend. This
married a Marcia (her name is inferred from that of their daughter
Marciana) whose family owned brickyards in the vicinity of Ameria,
near both Reate and Tuder. She was possibly an older sister of Marcia
Furnilla, second wife of Vespasian's son Titus. Further, Ulpia, sister
of the senior Trajan, was a grandmother of Hadrian. In other words,
Trajan was succeeded in 117 by his cousin, member of
another Italian family resident in Baetica."
* ^ Strobel 2010 , p. 41.
* ^ Goldsworthy, Adrian (2003). _In the name of Rome: The men who
won the Roman Empire_. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 320.
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 22–23.
* ^ Garzetti 2014 , p. 378.
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 13.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Augustan History, _Life of Hadrian_ 2.5–6
* ^ "Pompei Plotina". Britannica. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Bennett 2001 , p. 58.
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* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 43.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Bennett 2001 , p. 45–46.
* ^ Alston 2014 , p. 261.
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978-0-521-85969-1 , page 180
* ^ Grainger 2004 , p. 91 & 109.
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University of Michigan Press, 2002, ISBN 0-472-08865-3 , pages 113/114
* ^ Veyne 1976 , p. page 686-note 399.
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* ^ Eugen Cizek, "Tacite face à Trajan", available at , pages
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* ^ Grainger 2004 , p. 111.
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 52.
* ^ Alston 2014 , p. 262.
* ^ Alston 2014 , p. 200 & 206.
* ^ Rees 2012 , p. 198.
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* ^ Rees 2012 , p. 121.
* ^ Veyne 2005 , p. 402.
* ^ _Letters_ III, 20, 12,
* ^ Veyne 2005 , p. 38, footnote.
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978-1-61530-207-9 , page 128
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* ^ Bernard W. Henderson, "Five Roman Emperors" (1927).
* ^ F. A. Lepper, "Trajan's Parthian War" (1948).
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* ^ Veyne 2005 , p. 241.
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* ^ Quoted by Hooper, _Roman Realities_, 429
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* ^ Benjamin Isaac, 487; Albino Garzetti, _From
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* ^ Veyne 2005 , p. 240.
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* ^ E. Guerber, "Les correctores dans la partie hellénophone de
l'empire Romain du règne de
Trajan à l'avènement de Dioclétien :
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* ^ Brian Jones, _The Emperor Domitian_, Routledge, 2002, ISBN
0-203-03625-5 , p. 171
* ^ Brian Jones, _The Emperor Domitian_, 172; Petit, _Pax Romana_,
52; Martin Goodman, _The Roman World 44 BC–AD 180_. Abingdon:
Routledge, 2013, ISBN 978-0-415-55978-2 , page 120
* ^ Pergamum inscription (Smallwood NH 214), reproduced in Brian
Campbell, _The Roman Army, 31 BC – AD 337: A Sourcebook_. London:
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* ^ Pierre Lambrechts, "
Trajan et le récrutement du Sénat",
_L'antiquité classique_, 1936, 5-1, pages 105–114. Available at .
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* ^ Stanley E. Hoffer, _The Anxieties of Pliny, the Younger_.
Oxford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-7885-0565-3 , page 121
* ^ de Ste. Croix 1989 , p. 119.
* ^ de Ste. Croix 1989 , p. 466.
* ^ Hildegard Temporini, ed., _Aufstieg und Niedergang der
Römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der Neueren
Forschung. Principat, Part 2, Volume 2_ .Leiden: De Gruyter, 1975,
ISBN 3-11-004971-6 , pages 367/368
* ^ K. W. Arafat, _Pausanias' Greece: Ancient Artists and Roman
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* ^ "De Imperatoribus Romanis". _An Online Encyclopedia of Roman
Emperors_. Retrieved July 21, 2007. Battle of Sarmizegetusa
(Sarmizegetuza), A.D. 105. During Trajan's reign one of the most
important Roman successes was the victory over the Dacians. The first
important confrontation between the Romans and the
Dacians had taken
place in the year 87 and was initiated by Domitian. The praetorian
prefect Cornelius Fuscus led five or six legions across the
a bridge of ships and advanced towards
Romania ). The Romans
were surprised by a Dacian attack at
Tapae (near the village of Bucova
, in Romania).
Legion V Alaude was crushed and Cornelius Fuscus was
killed. The victorious Dacian general was called
Decebalus (the brave
* ^ Schmitz 2005 , p. 9.
* ^ 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 . Retrieved February 23, 2016
* ^ Luttwak 1979 , p. 100.
* ^ Schmitz 2005 , p. 13.
* ^ "De Imperatoribus Romanis". _An Online Encyclopedia of Roman
Emperors_. Retrieved November 8, 2007. Because the
an obstacle against Roman expansion in the east, in the year 101 the
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.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Le Roux 1998 , p. 73.
* ^ "Battle of Sarmizegetusa (Sarmizegetuza), A.D. 105: De
Imperatoribus Romanis". _An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors_.
Retrieved November 8, 2007. Although the
Dacians had been defeated,
the emperor postponed the final siege for the conquering of
Sarmizegetuza because his armies needed reorganization.
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
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.
* ^ José Maria Blázquez, _Las res gestae de Trajano militar: las
guerras dácicas_. _Aquila Legionis_, 6 (2005) 19
* ^ 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 July 2, 2014
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 94–95.
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 96.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Christol & Nony, 171
* ^ _A_ _B_ Dando-Collins 2012 , p. not numbered.
* ^ "Battle of Sarmizegetusa (Sarmizegetuza), A.D. 105: De
Imperatoribus Romanis". _An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors_.
Retrieved November 8, 2007. However, during the years 103–105,
Decebalus did not respect the peace conditions imposed by
the emperor then decided to destroy completely the Dacian kingdom and
to conquer Sarmizegetuza.
* ^ 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
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. Page 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. Page 98. Strobel, K., 2010. _Kaiser Traian.
Eine Epoche der Weltgeschichte_, Verlag Friedrich Pustet. Regensburg.
Page 254–255, 265, 299, 364. Urloiu, R-L., AGAIN ON LEGIO II TRAIANA
FORTIS,. _History and Civilization_. EUBSR 2013 International
Conference, Volume 2.
* ^ Mattern 1999 , p. 93.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Le Roux 1998 , p. 74.
* ^ 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, page 177
* ^ Wiseman, James 1997 "Beyond the Danube's Iron Gates."
_Archaeology_ 50(2): 24–9.
* ^ Šašel, Jaroslav. 1973 "Trajan's Canal at the Iron Gate." _The
Journal of Roman Studies_. 63:80–85.
* ^ Their military function fulfilled, most of them fell into
disrepair or were wrecked on purpose after Trajan's reign: cf. Alan
Bowman, Peter Garnsey, Averil Cameron, eds., _The Cambridge Ancient
History: Volume 12, The Crisis of Empire, AD 193–337_,2005, ISBN
0-521-30199-8 , page 238
* ^ Găzdac 2010 , p. 49.
* ^ Anton J. L. van Hooff, _From Autothanasia to Suicide:
Self-killing in Classical Antiquity_. London: Routledge, 2002, ISBN
0-415-04055-8 , page 277, note 41
* ^ Harriet I. Flower, _The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace & Oblivion
in Roman Political Culture_.University of North Carolina Press, 2006,
ISBN 978-0-8078-3063-5 , page 253
* ^ Martin Goodman, _The Roman World 44 BC–AD 180_, 253
* ^ Jennifer Trimble, _Women and Visual Replication in Roman
Imperial Art and Culture_. Cambridge U. Press, 2011, ISBN
978-0-521-82515-3 , page 288
* ^ Ioana A. Oltean, _Dacia: Landscape, Colonization and
Romanization_. Abingdon: Routledge, 2007, ISBN 0-203-94583-2 , page
* ^ Le Roux 1998 , p. 268.
* ^ Carbó García, Juan Ramón. " _
Dacia Capta_: particularidades
de un proceso de conquista y romanización." _Habis_, 41, 275-292
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M. Campos Carrasco. "Trajano fundador. El último impulso colonizador
del imperio." _Onoba. Revista de Arqueología y Antigüedad_ 1 (2013).
* ^ _A_ _B_ Sartre 1994 , p. 269.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Luttwak 1979 , p. 101 & 104.
* ^ Luttwak 1979 , p. 101.
* ^ Mattern 1999 , p. 61.
* ^ Frank Vermeulen, Kathy Sas, Wouter Dhaeze, eds. _Archaeology in
Confrontation: Aspects of Roman Military Presence in the Northwest :
Studies in Honour of Prof. Em. Hugo Thoen_. Ghent: Academia Press,
2004, ISBN 90-382-0578-3 , page 218
* ^ Luttwak 1979 , p. 104.
* ^ Moses I. Finley, ed., _Classical Slavery_, London: Routledge,
2014, ISBN 0-7146-3320-8 , page 122
* ^ Le Roux 1998 , p. 241.
* ^ Le Roux 1998 , p. 202 Paul du Plessis, _Studying Roman Law_.
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014, page 82
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 102 ">"". Tulane.edu. Retrieved December 5,
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* ^ _A_ _B_ Veyne 1976 , p. 654.
* ^ Veyne 1976 , p. 769.
* ^ José María Blanch Nougués, _Régimen jurídico de las
fundaciones en derecho romano_. Madrid: Dykinson, 2007, ISBN
978-84-9772-985-7 , page 151
* ^ Petit 1976 , p. 76.
* ^ Finley 1999 , p. 119.
* ^ Finley 1999 , p. 40.
* ^ Richard Duncan-Jones, _The Economy of the Roman Empire:
Quantitative Studies_. Cambridge University Press: 1982, ISBN
0-521-24970-8 , page 297
* ^ Finley 1999 , p. 201–203.
* ^ Luuk de Ligt, S. J. Northwood, eds., _People, Land, and
Politics: Demographic Developments and the Transformation of Roman
Italy 300 BC–AD 14_, Leiden: Brill, 2008, ISBN 978-90-04-17118-3 ,
* ^ Julián González, ed. _Trajano Emperador De Roma: Atti Del
Congresso. Siviglia 1998, 14–17 Settembre_.
Rome : L'ERMA di
BRETSCHNEIDER, 2000, ISBN 88-8265-111-8 , page 297
* ^ Susan R. Holman, _The Hungry Are Dying : Beggars and Bishops in
Roman Cappadocia_. Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-19-513912-7 ,
* ^ Duncan-Jones, 298/299
* ^ Finley 1999 , p. 203.
* ^ Finley 1999 , p. 39.
Suzanne Dixon , ed., _Childhood, Class and Kin in the Roman
World_. London: Routledge, 2005, ISBN 0-415-23578-2 , page 26
* ^ Pat Southern, _The
Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine_.
London: Routledge, 2015, ISBN 978-0-415-73807-1 , page 181
* ^ Bennett, J. _Trajan: Optimus Princeps_. 1997. Fig. 1
* ^ Brian Campbell, "War and Diplomacy:
Rome & Parthia 31 BC - AD
235". IN John Rich, Graham Shipley, eds._War and Society in the Roman
World_. London: Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-203-07554-4 , page 234
* ^ R. P. Longden, "Notes on the Parthian Campaigns of Trajan". The
Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 21 (1931), pp. 1–35. Available at .
Retrieved November 15, 2014
* ^ Sidebotham 1986 , p. 154.
* ^ Christol "> Retrieved March 17, 2017
* ^ Des Boscs-Plateaux 2005 , p. 304 & 311.
* ^ Dexter Hoyos, ed., _A Companion to Roman Imperialism_. Leiden:
Brill, 2012, ISBN 978-90-04-23593-9 , page 262
* ^ Luttwak 1979 , p. 108.
* ^ David Kennedy & Derrick Riley, _Rome's Desert Frontiers_ .
London: B.T. Datsford Limited, 2004, ISBN 0-7134-6262-0 , pages 31/32
* ^ Fergus Millar, _The Roman Near East, 31 B.C. – A.D. 337_.
Harvard University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-674-77886-3 , page 103
* ^ M.Christol & D. Nony, _
Rome et son Empire_. Paris: Hachette,
2003, ISBN 2-01-145542-1 , page 171
* ^ John Rich, Graham Shipley, eds., _War and Society in the Roman
World_. London: Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-415-06644-1 , page 235
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 194–195.
* ^ Hermann Bengtson, _Römische Geschichte: Republik und
Kaiserzeit bis 284 n. Chr_. Munich: Beck, 2001, ISBN 3-406-02505-6 ,
* ^ Alfred S. Bradford, _With Arrow, Sword, and Spear: A History of
Warfare in the Ancient World_. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2001, ISBN
0-275-95259-2 , page 232
* ^ Choisnel 2004 , p. 164.
* ^ S.J. De Laet, review of Lepper, _Trajan's Parthian War_.
_L'Antiquité Classique_, 18-2, 1949, pages 487–489
* ^ Richard Stoneman, _
Palmyra and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt
Against Rome_. Ann Arbor: 1994, University of Michigan Press, ISBN
0-472-08315-5 , page 89
* ^ Sheldon, Rose Mary (2010). _Rome's Wars in Parthia: Blood in
the Sand_. London: Vallentine Mitchell. p. 133.
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 195.
Maurice Sartre , _The Middle East Under Rome_. Harvard
University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-674-01683-1 , page 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
* ^ _A_ _B_ Bennett 2001 , p. 199.
* ^ Bennett, Trajan, 196; Christol Chris S. Lightfood ("Trajan's
Parthian War and the Fourth-Century Perspective", _Journal of Roman
Studies_ 80, 1990, pages 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, pages 3/45) puts Assyria between Mesopotamia and
Adiabene; Lepper (1948, page 146) considers Assyria and
Adiabene to be
the same province.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Luttwak 1979 , p. 110.
* ^ Janos Harmatta and others, eds., _History of Civilizations of
Central Asia: The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations,
700 B.C. to A.D. 250_. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1999, ISBN
81-208-1408-8 , page 135
* ^ Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh, _Security and Territoriality in the
Persian Gulf: A Maritime Political Geography_, London: Routledge,
2013, ISBN 0-7007-1098-1 , page 120
* ^ Choisnel 2004 , p. 164/165.
* ^ Axel Kristinsson, _Expansions: Competition and Conquest in
Europe Since the Bronze Age_. Reykjavík: ReykjavíkurAkademían,
2010, ISBN 978-9979-9922-1-9 , page 129
* ^ Bennett, Trajan, 199
* ^ Kaveh Farrokh, _Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War_.
Oxford: Osprey, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84603-108-3 , page 162
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Bennett 2001 , p. 200.
* ^ _The Cambridge Ancient History: The Imperial peace, A.D.
70-192_, 1965 ed., page 249
* ^ Julián González, ed., _Trajano Emperador De Roma_, 216
* ^ The last two were made consuls (_suffecti_) for the year 117
* ^ González, 216
* ^ E. Yarshater, ed., _The Cambridge History of Iran_, Volume
3(1). Cambridge University Press, 1983, ISBN 0-521-20092-X , page 91
* ^ Mommsen 1999 , p. 289.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Bennett 2001 , p. 203.
* ^ James J. Bloom, _The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D.
66–135: A Military Analysis_. McFarland, 2010, page 191
* ^ Bloom, 194
* ^ A precise description of events in Judea at the time being
impossible, due to the non-historical character of the Jewish
(rabbinic) sources, and the silence of the non-Jewish ones: William
David Davies, Louis Finkelstein, Steven T. Katz, eds., _The Cambridge
History of Judaism: Volume 4, The Late Roman–Rabbinic
Period_.Cambridge U. Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-521-77248-8 , page 100
* ^ Bloom, 190
* ^ Christer Bruun, "the Spurious 'Expeditio Ivdaeae' under
Trajan". _Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik_ 93 (1992)
* ^ He was already consul _in absentia_: Tanja Gawlich, _Der
Aufstand der jüdischen Diaspora unter Traian_. GRIN Verlag, 2007,
ISBN 978-3-640-32753-9 , page 11
* ^ Margret Fell, ed., _Erziehung, Bildung, Recht_. Berlim: Dunker
& Hunblot, 1994, ISBN 3-428-08069-6 , page 448
* ^ Histoire des Juifs, Troisième période, I – Chapitre III –
Soulèvement des Judéens sous
Trajan et Adrien
* ^ Bloom, 195/196
* ^ Hoyos, _A Companion to Roman Imperialism_, 325
* ^ Gabriele Marasco, ed., _Political Autobiographies and Memoirs
in Antiquity: A Brill Companion_. Leiden: Brill, 2011, ISBN
978-90-04-18299-8 , page 377
* ^ Bennett 2001 , p. 201.
* ^ Francesca Santoro L'Hoir, _Tragedy, Rhetoric, and the
Historiography of Tacitus' Annales_.University of Michigan Press,
2006, ISBN 0-472-11519-7 , page 263
* ^ Birley 2013 , p. 52.
* ^ Birley 2013 , p. 50 & 52.
* ^ Des Boscs-Plateaux 2005 , p. 306.
* ^ Birley 2013 , p. 64.
* ^ Birley 2013 , p. 50.
* ^ Christopher S. Mackay, _Ancient Rome: A Military and Political
History_. Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-80918-5 , page
* ^ Petit 1976 , p. 53.
* ^ Des Boscs-Plateaux 2005 , p. 307.
* ^ Garzetti 2014 , p. 379.
* ^ According to _
Historia Augusta _,
Hadrian declared that he was
following 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
* ^ Birley 2013 , p. 78.
* ^ Young 2001 , p. 132.
* ^ 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
* ^ Butler, A. J. (1914). _
Babylon of Egypt: A study in the history
of Old Cairo_. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 5.
* ^ Dio Cassius,
Epitome of Book 6; 21.2–3
* ^ 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, page 70. Available at .
Retrieved March 28 2017
* ^ Karl Strobel, _Das Imperium Romanum im "3. Jahrhundert": Modell
einer historischen Krise? Zur Frage mentaler Strukturen breiterer
Bevölkerungsschichten in der Zeit von Marc Aurel bis zum Ausgang des
3. Jh.n.Chr_. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1993, ISBN
3-515-05662-9 , page 319
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
Paradise (Paradiso XX.44-8)."
Dante 1998, pp. 239-40
* ^ Robert Mankin, "Edward Gibbon: Historian in Space", _A
Companion to Enlightenment Historiography_, Leiden: Brill, 2013, page
* ^ Mommsen 1999 , p. 488.
* ^ _Römische Kaisergeschichte_. Munich: 1992, page 389.
* ^ Mommsen 1999 , p. 290.
* ^ A. G. G. Gibson, ed. _Robert Graves and the Classical
Tradition_. Oxford University Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-19-873805-3 ,
* ^ Heuß, Alfred (1976). _Römische Geschichte_. 4. Braunschweig:
Westermann. pp. 344ff.
* ^ J.E. Lendon, "Three Emperors and the Roman Imperial Regime",
_The Classical Journal_ 94 (1998) pp. 87–93
* ^ Richard Jean-Claude, "Eugen Cizek, _L'époque de Trajan.
Circonstances politiques et problèmes idéologiques_ . _Bulletin de
l'Association Guillaume Budé_, Année 1985, Volume 44, Numéro 4 pp.
425–426. Available at . Retrieved December 13, 2015.
* ^ Jens Gering, Rezension zu: Karl Strobel, Kaiser Traian – Eine
Epoche der Weltgeschichte,_Frankfurter elektronische Rundschau zur
Altertumskunde_ 15 (2011), . Retrieved December 15, 2015.
* ^ Petit, _Histoire Générale de L'Empire Romain, 1: Le Haut
Empire (27 av. J.C.- 161 apr. J.C.)_. Paris: Seuil, 1974, ISBN
978-2-02-004969-6 , page 166
* ^ Veyne 1976 , p. 654/655.
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