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Traiānus, M. Ulpius

A Roman emperor (A.D. 98-117), born at Italica, near Seville, in Spain, September 18th, A.D. 52 or 53. He was trained to arms, and, after ten years' service as military tribune, rose through the lower offices to the rank of praetor in 85, served with distinction in the East and in Germany, to which country he was sent from Spain by Domitian on the occasion of the revolt of Antonius Saturninus, legatus, with the Spanish legion Adiutrix under his command. He was consul in 91, and at the close of 97 he was adopted by the emperor Nerva , who gave him the rank of Caesar and the names of Nerva and Germanicus, and shortly after the title of Imperator, and the tribunicia potestas. His style and title after his elevation to the imperial dignity were Imperātor Caesar Traiānus Augustus. He was the first Roman emperor who was born out of Italy. Nerva died in January, 98, and was succeeded by Trajan, who was then at Colonia (Cologne). His accession was hailed with joy, and he did not disappoint the expectations of the people. He was a great soldier both in the field and in military organization; and he was scarely less great as an administrator. His finances were prosperous, partly from his good economy, though partly also from the good fortune of certain Dacian mining operations. Personally, he was strong and healthy, of a majestic appearance, laborious, and inured to fatigue. Though not a man of letters, he had good sense, a knowledge of the world, and a sound judgment. His mode of living was very simple, and in campaigns he shared all the sufferings and privations of the soldiers, by whom he was both loved and feared. He was a friend to justice, and had a sincere desire for the happiness of the people. His career led to a proverbial expression which after this time was formulated in a wish to each new emperor that in his reign he might be even “more fortunate than Augustus, and better than Trajan” (Augusto felicior, melior Traiano).

Trajan did not return to Rome for some months, being employed in settling the frontiers on the Rhine and the Danube. Especially, he completed the fortifications of the Rhine and of the Agri Decumates (q.v.), founded a new military station, Colonia Traiana, near Vetera, and constructed new roads by the Rhine and by the Danube, the latter work in preparation for the Dacian War. In 99 he proceeded to Rome, which he entered on foot, ac

Trajan. (Bust in the British Museum.)

companied by his wife, Pompeia Plotina. In March, A.D. 101, Trajan left Rome for his campaign against the Daci. Decebalus, king of the Daci, had compelled Domitian to purchase peace by an annual payment of money; and Trajan determined on hostilities, which should settle matters so as to secure the peace of the frontier. This war employed Trajan between two and three years, but it ended with the defeat of Decebalus, who sued for peace at the feet of the Roman emperor. Trajan assumed the name of Dacius, and entered Rome in triumph (103 A.D.). In the following year (104 A.D.) Trajan commenced his second Dacian war against Decebalus, who had accepted the Roman terms merely to gain time, and now showed his intentions by building forts, collecting war material, and welcoming Roman deserters.

Trajan giving a King to the Parthians. (Coin.)

Decebalus was completely defeated, and put an end to his life (106 A.D.). In the course of this war Trajan built (105 A.D.) a permanent bridge across the Danube at the modern Turn Severin. The piers were of stone and of an enormous size, but the arches were of wood. (See Pons.) After the death of Decebalus, Dacia was reduced to the form of a Roman province, strong forts were built in various places, and Roman colonies were planted. (See Dacia.) The Column of Trajan at Rome was erected to commemorate his Dacian victories. In its sculptured illustrations of the campaign it has an historical value which has been well compared to that of the Bayeux Tapestry. (See Columna.) On his return Trajan had a triumph, and he exhibited games to the people for 123 days. It is said that 11,000 animals were slaughtered during these amusements, and that 10,000 gladiators fought in the arena.

About this time Arabia Petraea was subjected to the Empire by A. Cornelius Palma, the governor of Syria, and an Indian embassy came to Rome. (See Arabia.) The dominions of Agrippa II., who died A.D. 100, were also added to the province of Syria. In 114 Trajan left Rome to make war on the Armenians and the Parthians, the cause of the war being that the Parthian king, Chosroes, had deposed from the throne of Armenia Axidares, the Roman nominee. Trajan spent the winter of 114 at Antioch, and in the following year he invaded the Parthian dominions. The most striking and brilliant success attended his arms. In the course of two campaigns (115-116), he conquered the greater part of the Parthian Empire, and took the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon. In 116 he descended the Tigris and entered the Erythraean Sea (Persian Gulf). While he was thus engaged the Parthians rose against the Romans, but were again subdued by the generals of Trajan, Erucius Clarus, who reduced Babylonia and burned Seleucia, and Lucius Quietus, who reduced Mesopotamia. On his return to Ctesiphon, Trajan determined to give the Parthians a king, and placed the diadem on the head of Parthamaspates, son of Chosroes. In 117 Trajan fell ill, and as his complaint grew worse he set out for Italy. He lived to reach Selinus in Cilicia, afterwards called Traianopolis, where he died in August, 117, after a reign of nineteen years, six months, and fifteen days (C. I. L. vi. 1884). His ashes were taken to Rome in a golden urn, carried in triumphal procession, and deposited under the column which bears his name. He left no children, and he was succeeded by Hadrian. (See Hadrianus.) Trajan constructed several great roads in the provinces and in Italy: among them was the road across the Pomptine Marshes, which he constructed with magnificent bridges over the streams. At Ostia he built a large new basin. At Rome he constructed the aqueduct called by his name, built a theatre in the Campus Martius, and, above all, made the Forum Traianum, with its basilicas and libraries, and his column in the centre. See the account of Trajan by Dierauer in vol. i. of Büdinger's Untersuchungen (1868), that by De la Berge (1877), and in Schiller's Geschichte der röm. Kaiserzeit (Gotha, 1883).

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