was trajan a good emperor

[58], As a senatorial Emperor, Trajan was inclined to choose his local base of political support from among the members of the ruling urban oligarchies. [106] 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. [171] 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. [149] The empire gained what became the province of Arabia Petraea (modern southern Jordan and north west Saudi Arabia). One of these men being Trajan. [211] At the same time, a Roman column under the legate Lusius Quietus – an outstanding cavalry general[212] who had signaled himself during the Dacian Wars by commanding a unit from his native Mauretania[213] – crossed the Araxes river from Armenia into Media Atropatene and the land of the Mardians (present-day Ghilan). [249] That done, Trajan retreated north in order to retain what he could of the new provinces of Armenia – where he had already accepted an armistice in exchange for surrendering part of the territory to Sanatruces' son Vologeses[250] – and Mesopotamia. [117], 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. [124] Trajan also reformed the infrastructure of the Iron Gates region of the Danube. Trajan’s Column. 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. The term was coined by Niccolò Machiavelli in his posthumously published 1531 book The Discourses on Livy: From their realm in modern-day Romania, the Dacians frequently raided Roman frontier towns. By feigning reluctance to hold power, Trajan was able to start building a consensus around him in the Senate. [57] 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. Such titles were ordered in a ranking system that determined how the cities were to be outwardly treated by Rome. [150] At this time, a Roman road (Via Traiana Nova) was built from Aila (now Aqaba) in Limes Arabicus to Bosrah. He is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history, leading the empire to its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death. As an emperor, Trajan's reputation has endured – he is one of the few rulers whose reputation has survived nineteen centuries. Unlike many lauded rulers in history, Trajan's reputation has survived undiminished for nearly nineteen centuries. Trajan's putative lovers included Hadrian, pages of the imperial household, the actor Pylades, a dancer called Apolaustus, and senator Lucius Licinius Sura. He was succeeded by his cousin Hadrian, whom Trajan supposedly adopted on his deathbed. This capital city was conceived as a purely civilian administrative center and was provided the usual Romanized administrative apparatus (decurions, aediles, etc.). [244] The second army, however, under Appius Maximus Santra (probably a governor of Macedonia) was defeated and Santra killed. A military commander with Spanish roots, Trajan was the first emperor born outside Italy. In 79 A.D., the younger Pliny witnessed the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, with its “dense black cloud ... spreading over the earth like a flood.” Sadly, his uncle perished in the eruption. [252] Trajan was forced to withdraw his army in order to put down the revolts. In contrast, his successor Hadrian would stress the notion of the empire as ecumenical and of the Emperor as universal benefactor and not kosmocrator. [6] Besides this, Pliny the Younger's Panegyricus and Dio of Prusa's orations are the best surviving contemporary sources. [267] 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,[268] which all made him as good as heir designate. Trajan put the proceeds from the Dacian War to good use throughout the empire. [164] 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. By trying to develop an anti-Roman bloc, Decebalus eventually left Trajan without the alternative of treating Dacia as a protectorate, rather than an outright conquest. [271], 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,[118] Hadrian's first act as emperor was to abandon – outwardly out of his own free will[272][273] – the distant and indefensible Mesopotamia and to restore Armenia, as well as Osrhoene, to the Parthian hegemony under Roman suzerainty. The able soldier-emperor was in fact officially declared optimus princeps (“the best ruler”) by the Roman Senate, perhaps not impartial but with a certain vantage point. Lendon, "Three Emperors and the Roman Imperial Regime". He reduced taxes,increased the free distribution of food, and maintained a constant supply of grain. He was a strong ruler for over 19 years when he became ill in Syria and died in 117 A.D. Trajan was second in the list of the "Five Good Emperors" who ruled Rome during the Pax Romana, and lasted until the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 A.D. 1–35. [113], The following winter, King Decebalus took the initiative by launching a counter-attack across the Danube further downstream, supported by Sarmatian cavalry,[114] forcing Trajan to come to the aid of the troops in his rearguard. [20], 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. Among medieval Christian theologians, Trajan was considered a virtuous pagan. [175] The fact that the alimenta were 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. However, his adventures in Parthia were costly and could have ended in disaster. [55][56] 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. [231] Another hypothesis is that the rulers of Charax had expansionist designs on Parthian Babylon, giving them a rationale for alliance with Trajan. He appears, together with Domitian, in offering scenes on the propylon of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. Trajan helped the poor through a welfare program called the Alimenta. [92] 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. [176] The fact that the alimenta were restricted to Italy highlights the ideology behind it: to reaffirm the notion of the Roman Empire as an Italian overlordship. (Follow the hunt for missing Dacian treasure.). Unwisely, however, the Dacians soon broke the treaty. [250][258], 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,[259] retained Hadrian's trust, eventually becoming his Praetorian Prefect. Trajan ended a two-year incursion into Dacia in 103 A.D. by signing a peace treaty with Decebalus, the Dacian king. [226], As far as the sources allow a description of this campaign, it seems that one Roman division crossed the Tigris into Adiabene, sweeping south and capturing Adenystrae; a second followed the river south, capturing Babylon; Trajan himself sailed down the Euphrates from 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. [160], 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. [40] 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. Period of peace: public buildings and festivities. Col. 1485. Native Dacians continued to live in scattered rural settlements, according to their own ways. A military commander with Spanish roots, Trajan was the first emperor born outside Italy. [289], It was only during the Enlightenment that this legacy began to be contested, when Edward Gibbon expressed doubts about the militarized character of Trajan's reign in contrast to the "moderate" practices of his immediate successors. Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano (that he be "luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan"). Before Trajan returned to Rome in AD 99 to assume his place as 'emperor', time spent scouting enemy dispositions and investigating the Danube fortifications assuredly inspired him to prepare for an offensive into Dacia. He earned a reputation as an excellent military commander and assumed command of the Seventh Legion in northern Spain at a young age. [82] One of the compensatory measures proposed by Pliny expressed a thoroughly Roman conservative position: as the cities' financial solvency depended on the councilmen's purses, it was necessary to have more councilmen on the local city councils. 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. 21 (1931), pp. Amid the periods of turmoil in the history of the Roman Empire came the era of the Five Good Emperors. [222], 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[223][224] – Trajan again took to the field in 116, with a view to the conquest of the whole of Mesopotamia, an overambitious goal that eventually backfired on the results of his entire campaign. 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 spending. In September 96, Domitian was succeeded by the old and childless Nerva, who proved to be unpopular with the army. [83], 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. Evidence of this comes from a marble slab discovered near Caput Bovis, the site of a Roman fort. Carlos F. Noreña, "The Social Economy of Pliny's Correspondence with Trajan". In Rome itself, a new aqueduct supplied the city with water from the north. 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. 353, 354 Prentice-Hall, New Jersey. The other four "good emperors" were Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138), Antoninus Pius (138–161), and Marcus Aurelius (161–180). [112] 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. Trajan extended the empire’s reach in Mesopotamia as far as the Persian Gulf, but he’s better remembered for his campaign against the Dacians. He was the first Roman emperor who was born outside Italy. A marble statue of Trajan, who ruled Rome from A.D. 98 until 117. Available at. They expounded on matters ranging from his domestic life to senatorial debates. A map of Dacia showing the battles fought against Trajan's forces and an illustration of the first major battle in which Trajan defeated the Dacians at Tapae. What is known is that by 107, Roman legions were stationed in the area around Petra and Bosrah, as is shown by a papyrus found in Egypt. [207], 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. To be sure, he was a “good emperor”, and Rome benefitted greatly by his rule. Michael Alexander Speidel: "Bellicosissimus Princeps". STUDY. It may also originate in Roman displeasure at an empress meddling in political affairs. Trajan was popular among Roman citizens as an emperor, but his main passion was war.He ruled for 19 years and during that period he participated in three major wars: the first two with the Dacians and the last on the eastern frontier. Future Roman emperor, Marcus Ulpius Traianus or Trajan was born at Italica, in Spain, on September 18, A.D. 53. [239] 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. Giovanni Salmeri, "Dio, Rome, and the Civic Life of Asia Minor" IN Simon Swain, ed.. Hildegard Temporini, Wolfgang Haase, eds.. Paul Veyne, "L'identité grecque devant Rome et l'empereur". 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. [298] 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". [119][120], 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 to Brigetio, in Pannonia. [220] Since Charax was a de facto independent kingdom whose connections to Palmyra were described above, Trajan's bid for the Persian Gulf may have coincided with Palmyrene interests in the region. [214] 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. After having appointed Hadrian his successor, Trajan died while returning to Italy from the east. [123] Including auxiliaries, the number of Roman troops engaged on both campaigns was between 150,000 and 175,000, while Decebalus could dispose of up to 200,000. Trajan is one of Rome’s most outstanding emperors and under his rule, the empire reached its peak. [295] 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. [5] Book 68 in Cassius Dio's Roman History, which survives mostly as Byzantine abridgments and epitomes, is the main source for the political history of Trajan's rule. In the East, that meant the families of Greek notables. Trajan's Family. R. P. Longden, "Notes on the Parthian Campaigns of Trajan". [274][275] Trajan's ashes were laid to rest underneath Trajan's column, the monument commemorating his success. [208] The intended campaign, therefore, was immensely costly from its very beginning. "[71][72], These same Roman authorities had also an interest in assuring the cities' solvency and therefore ready collection of Imperial taxes. Robert Mankin, "Edward Gibbon: Historian in Space". 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, Roman emperor (98–117 CE) who sought to extend the boundaries of the empire to the east (notably in Dacia, Arabia, Armenia, and Mesopotamia), undertook a vast building program, and enlarged social welfare. It was not a decisive victory, however. Emperor Trajan. aurquhart83. [216], The chronology of subsequent events is uncertain, but it is generally believed that early in 115 Trajan launched a Mesopotamian campaign, marching down towards the Taurus mountains in order to consolidate territory between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In order to build his forum and the adjacent brick market that also held his name Trajan had vast areas of the surrounding Capitoline and Quirinal hills leveled. During his 19 year reign, he was involved in three major wars - the first two with the Dacians and the last on the eastern frontier. Trajan, A good Emperor Between the years 96-180, five emporers ruled who were known as the "Five Good Emperors" These men obtained such a name beacause they earned the cooperation and support of the senate, which previous rulers failed to do. [93], 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,[94] the correctores themselves were all men of the highest social standing entrusted with an exceptional commission. 2 – Trajan (98 – 117 AD) Trajan was born near Seville in 52 AD which ensured he had the distinction of becoming the first Roman Emperor who was not born in Italy. The devastation wrought by the Romans is depicted in elaborate carvings on the 126-foot-tall Trajan’s Column in Rome. The good : Trajan did alot of bad things but he also did good. The Romans gradually tightened their grip around Decebalus' stronghold in Sarmizegetusa Regia,[123] which they finally took and destroyed. The message of his elevation was clear: Qualified, educated men from throughout the empire could aspire to the highest office of the land. 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. Interesting Facts About Roman Emperor Trajan. Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano (that he be "luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan"). Since he had no sons, he adopted Trajan as his successor. [192] 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. [16], In 91, 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.

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