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Trajan with civic crown and sword belt and aegis with Medusa and snakes as a symbol of the divine claim to power ( Munich sculpture gallery )

Trajan (born September 18, 53 , perhaps in Italica or Rome , † August 8, 117 in Selinus , Cilicia ) was Roman emperor from January 98 to 117 . His birth name was Marcus Ulpius Traianus , as emperor he was called Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus .

Trajan, the first Roman emperor to come from a province , is considered the best Roman princeps (optimus princeps) in the historiography traditionally written by senators . After the last years of Domitian's reign, which were marked by the persecution and executions of Roman senators , and the end of the Flavian dynasty , the adoptive empire was established with the short reign of his predecessor Nerva and especially by Trajan . With the conquest of Armenia , Mesopotamia and above all the Dacian Empire , the Roman Empire experienced its greatest expansion under his rule. Domestically, Trajan aimed to strengthen Italy and promote Romanization in the provinces of the empire through extensive building and social measures .

Life until the assumption of power

Origin and youth

Coin image of Trajan with the inscription Imp [erator] Caes [ar] Nerva Traian [us] Aug [ustus] Germ [anicus] P [ontifex] M [aximus] (from a coin
find near Lyon )

Trajan belonged to the descendants of a group of colonists who died in 206 BC. BC by Scipio Africanus in Italica in the province of Hispania (later Baetica ) in the south of the Iberian Peninsula . His ancestors originally came from Tuder in Umbria . However, Trajan himself was more likely to have been a city Roman than a southern Spanish, because his father of the same name was at the beginning of his senatorial career in the year his son was born , which almost excludes a stay in Italica. Under Claudius, his father was probably one of the first non- Italians to make it to the Roman Senate . In 70 of the older Trajan was Suffektkonsul and in the state of 73/74 patrician levied. Of about 73 to 78 Emperor trusted him Vespasian the governorship in Syria at the main military province in the east. There the elder Traianus fought successfully against the Parthians between autumn 73 and mid-74 . He received the ornamenta triumphalia , the award of a triumphant . By consulate, belonging to the patriciate and the rank of triumphalis vir , he had paved an easy path for his son to a senatorial career. Little is known about the mother. Perhaps she was a Marcia and then came from a senatorial family in Italy that had had consular status since Tiberian times. From the marriage with Marcia, Ulpia Marciana , born before 50, emerged alongside the later Emperor Trajan .

Nothing is known about Trajan's childhood and youth. He will have received a proper upbringing , which, in addition to reading and writing, also included later higher education in grammar and rhetoric. There is also little information about Trajan's senatorial career; he served as a military tribune under his father in Syria in the mid-73rd to mid-75th . Pliny’s claim that Trajan held this office for ten years is considered implausible, given that a Legion tribunate lasted two to three years under normal circumstances. Even under Vespasian , Trajan assumed his first senatorial office as quaestor in 78 . After that he could have accompanied his father as a legate to the senatorial province of Asia , which the elder Traianus headed as proconsul in 79/80 or 80/81 .

Violent end of the Flavian dynasty

Under Emperor Domitian, Trajan probably held the praetur in 84 . Possibly differences between Domitian and Trajan prevented the latter from receiving the consulate two to three years later, as is usual for a patrician. Instead he became a legate of 88 in the Legio VII Gemina stationed in northern Spain . As commander of this legion, Domitian ordered him to Upper Germany in the winter of 88/89 to suppress the revolt of Lucius Antonius Saturninus in Mainz . Before Trajan arrived, the Saturnine Rebellion had been put down by Aulus Bucius Lappius Maximus . For his loyal behavior, he and Manius Acilius Glabrio held the consulate for the first time in 91 - relatively late for a patrician.

The loss of a Roman legion in the war against the Jazygen sparked a domestic political crisis. As a princeps, Domitian made his de facto autocratic position vis-à-vis the Roman upper class very clear. In the first half of the 1990s, numerous trials of adultery, lese majesty and treason were carried out. After August 1993, a wave of persecution hit people who were believed to show signs of rejection of the regime. But the number of executed senators with 14 well-known names is much lower than under Claudius. The emperor also reacted to the numerous conspiracies against him with executions. How unpredictable Domitian became became apparent when he had his cousin Titus Flavius ​​Clemens executed in 95 . Even his family members now knew that they were no longer safe. The fear of so many people prompted another conspiracy against Domitian and led to his assassination on September 18, 96. However, no senators were involved in it, but rather people from Domitian's closest environment, such as his wife Domitia Longina , the two Praetorian prefects and some of his freedmen . With Domitian's death, the rule of the Flavian dynasty ended.

Beginning of the adoptive empire

Marble bust of Marcus Cocceius Nerva ( Getty Center , Los Angeles)

With the 66-year-old Nerva , a senator came to the throne in September 96 who, despite his political merits, revealed numerous weaknesses as a ruler and was a typical candidate for transition. The actual solution to the question of the succession could thus be kept open and a renewed civil war after the end of the Flavian dynasty - unlike at the end of Nero - could be prevented. Nerva was childless and, given his age, it seemed certain that he would no longer found a dynasty. He owed his rule to the conspirators against Domitian, although he himself did not belong to their closest circle. In contrast to Domitian, Nerva was not popular with the soldiers. At no point in his career had he commanded legions. The new emperor made little effort to win the troops' favor. Nerva's rule was also controversial in the Senate.

The discontent in the army and in the Praetorian Guard and the poor acceptance of Nerva in the Senate formed the breeding ground for the crises of his reign. Right at the beginning of his rule, the Praetorian Guard under their Prefect Casperius Aelianus, out of anger over the murder of Domitian, imprisoned the new emperor in his palace and forced him to have Domitian's murderer executed. This eliminated the men who had first paved the way for Nerva to rule, and Nerva lost much of his authority as emperor. In the year 96 a conspiracy against him was uncovered.

Only now did the real struggle for power begin. During this time, two parliamentary groups within the Senate tried to get Nerva to designate their candidate as his successor. One of the possible candidates was Cornelius Nigrinus , a highly decorated General Domitian and governor in the province of Syria, where the strongest army in the East stood, since 95 at the latest. The other faction was made up of senators who were closer to Trajan. These senators probably included Sextus Iulius Frontinus , Lucius Iulius Ursus , Gnaeus Domitius Tullus , Lucius Licinius Sura and Titus Vestricius Spuriana . What prompted these senators to choose Trajan and speak out against Cornelius Nigrinus is not known.

Under Nerva, Trajan received governorship in Germania superior in early 97 . This was perhaps already part of a plan to prevent the threatened usurpation by Nigrinus, since three legions and numerous auxiliary units were stationed in Upper Germany , a total of around 35,000 men in 96/97. The governor there commanded the large army closest to Italy. He could use this against the emperor or to protect him. Trajan remained in his province during the turmoil of 97, when two groups appeared to be fighting for power. In October 97 he received the news that he had been adopted by Nerva. Pliny reports on this in stylized form in his Panegyricus . According to this, Trajan owed his reign to a sudden divine inspiration, which Nerva had allegedly shown that Trajan was the one he should adopt.

Through his adoption, Trajan became part of the rulership, which broke down any resistance to Nerva. Trajan was highlighted as the successor by receiving the central imperial powers ( imperium proconsulare and tribunicia potestas ), the first name or title Caesar and the surname Germanicus. The year 98 began Trajan together with Nerva as an ordinary consul. The news of Nerva's death on January 28, 98, Trajan received in Cologne . Supposedly it was his great-nephew and later Emperor Hadrian who brought the news to Trajan. As the new Princeps, Trajan took action against all competitors and adversaries from Nerva's time. He summoned the Praetorian prefect Casperius Aelianus and parts of the Praetorians to him and had them executed. Unlike the prefect, the alleged rival Nigrinus retained his life, but his Syrian governorship was withdrawn, which meant that he lost his military support. He may retreat to his Hispanic homeland.

The Principate of Trajan

Head of Trajan, fragment of a larger-than-life statue (Munich Glyptothek)

Taking office

Trajan made sure that Nerva was divinized by a resolution of the Senate and that his remains were interred in the Augustus mausoleum . Despite the death of his predecessor, Trajan stayed on the Rhine and did not return to Rome until two years later. The long absence of the Princeps of Rome was unusual and seems to have aroused the expectation of a German war in the capital. Trajan appointed his comes Iulius Ursus Servianus as his successor for the governorship of the Germania superior , and with the administration of Lower Germania he entrusted Lucius Licinius Sura, two commanders who would later be among the most important pillars of his rule. Trajan spent the year 98 on inspection trips to the Rhine and Danube. Major military events did not take place during his stay on the Rhine. The two-year company primarily served to secure peace on the northern borders of the empire. During this time, the construction of roads in the areas on the right bank of the Rhine was promoted, the infrastructure of the hinterland was strengthened and defenses were expanded. A road leading from Mainz via Baden-Baden and Offenburg to the Danube was completed under him, as was the Mainz – Cologne – VeteraNijmegen connection . In the winter of 98/99, Trajan reached the Danube and undertook measures to expand and strengthen the imperial border. In doing so, he continued Domitian's border policy, who had already shifted the focus from the Rhine to the Danube. During this time Trajan also began to build the Neckar-Odenwald-Limes . The two-year inspection trip was also intended to secure the allegiance of the border troops and the provincial residents. It was often assumed that the real purpose of the troop inspections was preparation for a war against the Dacians . However, the sources do not report anything about what necessarily connects the actual objective of the Rhine and Danube journey with the first Dacian war. In the autumn of 99 Trajan returned to Rome. Although there had not been a German war, the two-year undertaking to secure peace on the northern borders of the empire was proclaimed and celebrated as a victory in Rome.

Relationship with the Senate

Trajan consciously designed his rule as a counter-image to Domitian. In relation to the senators, his rule was characterized by benevolence and cooperation. In his first letters from the Rhine, he swore that he would not have any senator executed without a trial before the Senate, which he apparently adhered to. Although this had been common practice for several changes of government, Domitian had broken with this tradition and not taken an oath.

Trajan's return from the Danube provinces in 99 was without pomp. He demonstratively and modestly entered Rome on foot. The senators awaiting him were greeted with a kiss. Already in the first weeks of his rule, Trajan had coins proclaimed that he had received his rule from the Senate. Unlike Domitian and several of his predecessors, Trajan was not accused of enriching himself with the fortunes of the citizens, especially the senators. Although Trajan did not abolish the so-called majesty trials, he did not allow them against senators. To avoid annoyance, high positions were also filled with knights and senators promoted under Domitian . Trajan demonstrated his moderatio (moderation) when he initially rejected the title Pater patriae proposed by the Senate . It was not until the autumn of 98 that he accepted the title. He did not continue the practice of the Flavians of always holding a proper consulate. During his reign, Trajan was consul only four more times (100, 101, 103, 112). The two senators Sextus Iulius Frontinus and Lucius Iulius Ursus were even allowed to hold as many consulates as the princeps with the third consulate in the year 100. This was an extraordinary honor, because the primacy of the princeps was usually expressed in the higher number of consulates over all other senators. The role of the two senators in arranging the succession is seen as the reason for this exceptional honor. Still, Trajan's dominance over the Senate and his de facto power was not diminished. The emperor alone secured rule over the empire. Pliny also recognizes: Sunt quidem cuncta sub unius arbitrio ("It all depends on the will of an individual").

Since Trajan was not Nerva's biological son, the idea of ​​the best (optimus) , who had come to power out of all the good ( boni , i.e. the senators) by adoption in consensus with the Senate, could be propagated, although the Senate was actually doing it had no part. In October 99, on his third designation as consul on the Field of Mars , Trajan swore the oath to the republic , standing in front of the seated consuls , that the gods would punish him should he knowingly act against the republic. Through these signs and gestures of apparent equality, he emphasized the ideological position of the Senate as the center of the state and its imperial position as primus inter pares , so that Pliny enthusiastically referred to the emperor as "one of us" ( unum illegally [...] ex nobis ) who does not stand above the laws, but rather subordinates himself to them ( non est princeps supra leges, sed leges supra principem ).

Trajan set new accents not only in dealing with the Senate. The ideologization of the principate also took place in conscious distancing from Domitian's rule, which was perceived as tyranny . Celebrated new catchphrases in addition to the old cardinal virtues such as clementia (mildness), iustitia (justice), pietas (piety), virtus (military ability) were key words such as moderatio (moderation), comitas (friendliness), temperantia (self-control), mansuetudo (meekness) , humanitas (humanity), but above all civilitas as a quality of bourgeoisie par excellence. Even before September 1, 100, the Senate and the people of Rome had bestowed Trajan with the honorary title Optimus Princeps , the best and noblest Princeps, which had never been awarded until then and never again . The name Optimus Princeps has been propagated on coins since the year 103 .

Dacian Wars

First Dakar War

Battle scene of the First Dacian War, relief of the Trajan column

According to the Roman self-image, an emperor was only allowed to wage “just wars” ( bella iusta ) . Officially, the behavior of the Dacian king Decebalus gave rise to war against the Dacian empire . He was accused of violating the provisions of the Peace Treaty of 89. The deeper reasons are probably to be seen in the threat to the stability of the Danube border and the security of the Roman Balkan Peninsula against the power structure of the Dacian Empire. But also war fame to legitimize his rule played an essential role for Trajan. In the spring of 101 he opened the war against the Dacians. On March 25, 101, Trajan set out with units of the capital guard. In the battle of Tapae the only major conflict of the First Dakerkrieges was kindled; it earned Trajan his first major victory.

But the Dacer king had not suffered a devastating defeat and ordered a significant part of his cavalry troops to invade the Roman province of Moesia inferior (Lower Moesia ). With this relief attack, he probably hoped to win the support of the local tribal population for himself. This forced Trajan and his troops to withdraw and go to Lower Moesia. The following battle was also won by Trajan. Thereupon he turned back to Dacia (Dakien) and strengthened the troops there by another legion. He succeeded in the storming of the Dacian fortress Costeşti the ensigns regain that with their victory over the Dacians Cornelius Fuscus had captured in the 86th In the meantime Decebalus' sister of Manius Laberius Maximus had also been captured in Tilişca .

These events led Decebalus to petition Trajan for peace. Trajan got involved and broke off the war in September 102 at the latest, just a few kilometers from the center of the Dacian Empire. The terms of the peace treaty included the delivery of the weapons and war machines of the Dacians and the return of the Roman military engineers whom Domitian had made available to him during the peace of 89. Decebalus had to let his fortresses razed, withdraw from all occupied territories and completely subordinate himself to Rome in terms of foreign policy. Decebalus was able to secure his royal dignity and remained under the sovereignty of Rome as a king recognized by the Roman side. Karl Strobel assumes, in view of the end of the fighting and the honorable conditions for Decebalus, of increasing exhaustion on the part of the Roman army.

102 on his return to Rome, Trajan took on the victorious name Dacicus and celebrated a triumph . Although Rome already had large parts of the later province of Dacia under control, the official advancement of the imperial borders and the establishment of a province had probably not yet been announced.

Second Dakar War

Battle scene between Dacians and Romans, copy after a relief of the Trajan column
The Tropaeum Traiani , monumental victory monument near Adamclisi in Dobruja (reconstruction)

After the peace agreement with Trajan, the Dacer king tried to build an alliance against Rome with his neighbors. He also procured weapons and took in defectors again, renewed his defenses and presumably in 104 acted with violence against the Jazygen , allied with Rome . The realization that Decebalus could not be induced to subordinate himself to Rome either by hard peace treaties or by military surveillance could only result in the destruction of the Dacian Empire and the establishment of a Roman province. The Second Dacian War was triggered again by a declaration of war by the Senate.

At the beginning of the war, a total of 15 legions were ready, almost half of the legions established in the Roman Empire at that time. Decebalus' attempts to renew peace through diplomatic channels and to induce neighboring peoples to enter war failed. Numerous high-ranking Dacian followers left him. Even before the emperor arrived on the theater of war, Decebalus had to realize that he could not win the war. In his desperate situation he sent a defector to Trajan, who was still in Moesien, to have him murdered. But this project also failed. He then met with General Pompey Longinus for surrender negotiations, but took him prisoner with some of his companions. For Longinus' release he demanded the evacuation of all Roman-occupied areas up to the Danube and compensation for all war costs. At first, Trajan neither refused nor accepted the high demands. Longinus himself tried to end the delay of the Roman advance by suicide.

Nevertheless, the Roman campaign could only be continued in the spring of 106. The Roman army advanced into the Dacian imperial center and defeated the opposing formations. Decebalus managed to escape at first, but was overtaken by a troop of persecutors led by Tiberius Claudius Maximus and could only escape capture by suicide. The severed head was brought to Trajan. He had the head displayed on the Gemonian Staircase as a token of the complete victory of Rome and the humiliation of the enemy .

The area was placed under a governor with two legions as the province of Dacia . In 106/107 the Roman colony Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacia Sarmizegetusa was founded as a replacement for the old royal city. Settlers from all parts of the empire compensated for the significant decimation of the Dacian population, but veterans were also settled. Since all the settlers spoke Latin, Dacia was linguistically Romanized more quickly than any other province. In Adamclisi , the emperor had a monumental victory monument erected, the Tropaeum Traiani , which is considered one of the most important state monuments in the provinces.

In the summer of 107 Trajan celebrated a second triumph over the Dacians. The huge Roman spoils of war are said to amount to 50,000 prisoners of war, 500,000 pounds (165,000 kg) of gold and 1,000,000 pounds (331,000 kg) of silver. With the help of the Dacian gold, Trajan put on lavish games in the circus and amphitheater . In the years 108 and 109 alone, 4,941 pairs of gladiators fought during the events on the occasion of the Second Dacian War. Lucius Licinius Sura, who had played a prominent role in both Dacian Wars, was given the extraordinary honor of a third consulate.

Italian policy

Bust of Trajan from Olbia , Sardinia

The six years from 107 to 113 between the Dacian Wars and the Parthian War were the longest time that Trajan did not spend in the provinces, but in Rome. His policy was characterized by paternalism and the special promotion of Italy. Nerva had already given Italy a special rank and made this publicly known through coins. Trajan continued this policy. Candidates for senatorial offices were ordered by an edict to invest at least a third of their property in land within Italy. In Italy, Trajan developed a brisk construction activity. Similar to its predecessors, it also improved the road network. In 112 he completed the Via Traiana from Benevento to Brundisium . This was intended to relieve the Via Appia , which had the same destination as Brundisium. In addition, travel opportunities in large parts of Italy have been improved through better development of the east of Apulia and Calabria. The beginning of Via Traiana in Benevento is marked by an arch of honor , the pictorial program of which emphasizes the emperor's care for the people of Italy.

He had a new port built north of Ostia , the Portus Traiani , in order to secure Rome's food supply and to make the landings of bulk goods such as wheat, building materials and marble less dependent on the weather. There were also new buildings or extensions to ports in Ancona , Centumcellae and Terracina . The outstanding position of Italy in Trajan's political thought and action was also reflected in the coins. The motto Italia rest (ituta) ("Restoration of Italy") was stamped on them. Special coins with the inscription of provinces were only available under Trajan if these had been newly acquired for the empire during his reign. Other provinces that had long been part of the empire were not listed on coins.

Shortly after the beginning of his rule, Trajan began to build impressive structures to beautify Rome, for the benefit of the people and for his own glory. He paid a lot of attention to the renovation of the infrastructure in Italian cities. He had the water pipe system expanded and renovated. The Aqua Traiana aqueduct, which was completed in 109 and is almost 60 kilometers long, led water from the area of Lake Bracciano in northern Rome to the district on the right of the Tiber . With the Aqua Traiana, Trajan tied the socially disadvantaged residential areas of the Transtiberium Regio to the water supply. By the year 109, thermal baths of previously unknown dimensions were built. The Trajan Baths built near the amusement buildings of the Colosseum , the Ludus Magnus and the Titus Baths were four times the size of the Titus Baths. Most of Nero's Golden House was built over. The return of the site to public use was intentional and, in contrast to the “bad” Emperor Nero , reinforced the image of the optimus princeps . For the inauguration of the Trajan Baths in 112, games were held for 117 days in which 8,000 gladiators and 10,000 animals fought. Similar to Augustus, Trajan also had naumachia , simulated sea battles, performed.

Trajan's Column on the Trajan's Forum in Rome

The most monumental building complex, however, was the Forum Traiani , which Trajan had constructed between 107 and 113 by the architect Apollodor of Damascus . With a length of 300 and a width of 185 meters, it exceeded all previous imperial forums in Rome by a considerable amount. In contrast to the imperial forums of its predecessors, no deity explaining family origins and also no avenging god or personal imperial protective deity could claim the central place on the Forum Traiani. Rather, the military and the senate were seen as pillars of imperial power, and concern for the people was also expressed. The actual sign of victory was the Trajan's Column erected on the Trajan's Forum . The almost 200 meter long relief volume documented the two Dacian Wars in two large sections with countless details and individual scenes. The Trajan's Forum was linked to the so-called Trajan's Markets , a self-contained business district adjoining the forum, which has been one of the most important preserved Roman secular buildings since it was uncovered in the 1930s.

In Rome, Trajan gave 5,000 children a share of free grain distribution. However, the most comprehensive company for strengthening Italy was the Alimentarinstitution. The first steps towards this had already been made under Nerva, but it was only Trajan that continued it on a larger scale. This alimentary foundation secured probably hundreds of thousands of boys and girls monthly support through interest and loans granted by Trajan to landowners. The aim was obviously to increase the birth rate in Italy and to strengthen the Roman military strength. To strengthen Italy, two new legions were also set up with the legio II Traiana and the legio XXX Ulpia . Corresponding regulations of the so-called alimenta are handed down on a bronze plaque for the city of Veleia, about 30 km from today's Piacenza . A total of 300 children there received a payment from the Traian alimenta , 264 boys each 16 sesterces per month and 36 girls each 12. So far, over 50 places in large parts of Italy have been attested to this imperial measure. The alimentary institution was neither part of a comprehensive economic policy nor current crisis management. Above all, it was not a question of a program to support the poor in Italy, rather the support provided by Trajan was supposed to project the image of a caring princeps. The Alimentarstiftung lasted well into the 3rd century.

City foundations

Trajan tried to advance the internal expansion of the empire. The Roman state relied on cities as the lowest administrative units, which made it easier for it to exercise power. They were given powers of local self-government, particularly in the areas of tax collection, lower jurisdiction and recruitment. The Trajan city founding and the surveys on higher forms of city law have their geographical focus in the Germanic provinces ( Germania inferior and in the north Germania superior ), in the provinces of the middle and lower Danube from Pannonia (Pannonia) to Lower Moesia and Thracia (Thrace) and finally in the province of Africa Proconsularis .

In Lower Germany, Trajan founded the Ulpia Traiana colony near what is now Xanten . The capital of the Batavians , Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum ( Nijmegen ), was also newly founded and organized. With this, Trajan was able to secure the following of Lower Germanic tribes, which from then on served him again as an imperial cavalry unit. In the Germania superior, after troops had been transferred to the Limes, the province was structured civilly. The Civitas Mattiacorum with the main town Aquae Mattiacorum ( Wiesbaden ), the Civitas Ulpia Sueborum Nicrensium (main town Lopodunum / Ladenburg ) and the Civitas Taunensium with the main town Nida ( Frankfurt-Heddernheim ) were created in the Rhine-Main-Neckar area . In Pannonia, after the Legio XIII Gemina , which had participated in one of the two Dacian Wars and remained in the newly created province, the Colonia Ulpia Traiana Poetovio was founded. In Thrace, Trajan intended to largely transfer the administration of the country to the newly created cities. Six cities have their origin or underwent a change in their legal form in the Trajan period. Traianopolis (east of today's Alexandroupoli ), Augusta Traiana ( Stara Zagora ), Plotinopolis (near Didymoticho ) and Marcianopolis ( Dewnja ). The towns of Pautalia ( Kyustendil ), Serdica ( Sofia ) and Topeiros (near Xanthi ) and possibly Bizye ( Viza ) were granted town charter by Trajan.

In North Africa Lepcis Magna , Hadrumetum and possibly Leptis Minus were elevated to titular colonies as economically flourishing and largely Romanized cities. In Numidia , the governor Lucius Munatius Gallus was instructed to found the city of Thamugadi as Colonia Marciana Traiana through the settlement of veterans of the Legio III Augusta . The city developed into one of the most important cities in North Africa.

Trajan and Pliny

On September 1, 100, Pliny the Younger, when he took office as consul Panegyricus , gave an eulogy for the era initiated by Nerva and Trajan after Domitian's reign of terror. Pliny attributed numerous deeds and virtues to Trajan and distinguished him from the bad Principes, especially from Domitian. Between the years 109 and 113, Pliny administered the province of Pontus et Bithynia in north-west Asia Minor for a year and a half . Probably from a military point of view, Pliny worked there directly on behalf of the emperor as legatus Augusti pro praetore , because Trajan was preparing the Parthian War, and northwest Asia Minor was a marching area from the northern to the eastern border of the empire. During this time he developed a lively correspondence with Trajan. This corpus comprises 107 letters and was handed down as the tenth and last book in a collection of letters from Pliny . The correspondence is thus a unique source of information about the Roman provincial administration and life in a Greek-speaking province in the Roman Empire.

The correspondence between Pliny and Trajan about the official dealings with Christians is the most important, because it is the only surviving testimony about the course of Christian trials that is not conveyed by Christian authors and has an official character. Pliny begins his inquiry by highlighting his uncertainty and ignorance. He stated that he had never participated in Christian trials before his governorship, stating that he did not know what and how much is usually punished. Trajan should now guide him in his ignorance. So Pliny asks the Princeps to teach him what the real reason for punishment is (quid puniri soleat) - Christianity as such (nomen Christianum) or the crimes associated with it (flagitia cohaerentia nomini) . Pliny 's letter also addresses the question of how far crimes should be investigated and proven in court (quatenus quaeri soleat) . In his response, Trajan approved of a differentiated approach. Trajan confirmed the previous practice of executing Christians when they were reported and convicted. Refusing a sacrifice to the Roman gods was considered conviction. But anyone who stated that they were not a Christian and who testified to this through a sacrifice to the gods should receive forgiveness. But Christians should not be searched for (conquirendi non sunt) . The Princeps explicitly rebuked his governor for having received anonymous reports, because that was a bad example and "not appropriate for our age" (nec nostri saeculi est) .

Dynastic politics

Trajan had been married to Pompeia Plotina since about 75/76 before his adoption . She received the title Augusta by 105 at the latest . However, the marriage of the two had remained without descendants who could have ensured a smooth continuation of the rule. But Trajan did not think of divorcing Plotina because of the childlessness, because Plotina was rich, educated and had extensive family and friendship connections not only in her home province of Gallia Narbonensis . Childlessness, however, was not a decided disadvantage, because according to the ideology of the best, which ideally was to be selected from all for the good of all, a biological son would have stood in the way of choosing the best. After her death on August 29, 112, Trajan had his sister Ulpia Marciana elevated to a diva by a Senate resolution before her funeral . At the same time Marciana's daughter Matidia became Augusta. Probably between May 113 and August 114, Trajan's father of the same name was also declared a god. The Trajan family had thus created a broad legitimation, also through divine descent. Trajan became the son of two deified fathers. He was the first emperor to divine exaltation of a father who had not been emperor himself. A process that remained a rare exception even after him.

Marciana's daughter Matidia and her daughters Sabina and Matidia the Younger played an important role in Trajan's dynastic politics. Sabina married Trajan's future successor, Hadrian , in the year 100 . Hadrian thus became the closest male relative and thus a candidate for future succession. Hadrian was placed under the tutelage of his compatriots Trajan and Acilius Attianus from the age of ten . But he was only adopted shortly before Trajan's death.

Parthian War

Tank statue of Trajan. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek , Copenhagen

For decades, a dispute over the establishment of the Armenian king led to severe tensions between Rome and Parthia. Greater Armenia was considered a clientele of Rome, but the Parthians also claimed dominance over this. Armed clashes between the Romans and Parthians over supremacy in Armenia already occurred during the reign of Augustus. The result of the last war in 66 was that the Armenian king still had to receive the crown from the Roman emperor, but had to come from the Parthian royal family of the Arsacids . The Parthian King Chosroes tried to gain influence over Armenia. He drove out the previous Armenian king, recognized by Rome, and replaced him with Parthamsiris without Trajan's consent . He thus offered the Roman side an occasion or - as the historian Cassius Dio puts it - a pretext for war. Cassius Dio claims that the real motive was Trajan's lust for fame. He emphasizes the intention of the emperor to imitate the conquest of Alexander the great (so-called Alexander imitatio ), and the failure of this project. This critical assessment of Trajan's war policy may reflect a position propagated at the court by his successor Hadrian, which was intended to justify Hadrian's controversial departure from Trajan's policy on the Orient.

It is unclear whether Trajan planned and systematically prepared an attack before the outbreak of the Armenian crisis. Individual signs speak for it; coins that came into circulation in 111 show that the conquest of Dacia was not the end of the Roman expansionist efforts. The governor of the province of Syria , Aulus Cornelius Palma Frontonianus , had already conquered the Nabatean Empire in 106 . This area was then established as the new province of Arabia Petraea and strengthened Rome's military position in the east. Although there is no conclusive evidence for the assumption of a war of aggression planned by Trajan for the long term, this hypothesis is considered plausible by numerous historians; Experts like Werner Eck are convinced that Trajan deliberately brought about the war that could have been avoided. Economic motives (control of the trade routes through Mesopotamia) and military considerations (achieving better border security in the east) can also be considered as reasons for war.

Trajan set out east in the fall of 113 and reached Antioch , Syria , in early 114 . The few fragments from Arrian's Parthian history as well as the summaries and explanations from the history of Cassius Dio are the only sources still available today for the war that is now beginning . The individual events are therefore often uncertain; Coins and inscriptions are also used to reconstruct the process.

In Elegia there was a meeting between Parthamsiris and Trajan. Parthamsiris asked Trajan to crown him king of Armenia. But Trajan was still not ready to leave an unpleasant king on the Armenian throne. On this occasion, Trajan is said to have announced that he would make Armenia a province and appoint a Roman governor. Shortly after his departure, the Armenian king was killed under unexplained circumstances, a serious breach of law by the Romans. Trajan spent the following months securing the new province militarily. By the end of 114, all of Armenia appears to have been under Roman control. For the integration of Armenia, Trajan was awarded numerous honors by resolution of the Senate, in particular he was officially awarded the title Optimus .

Trajan, meanwhile, moved further south, left Armenia and conquered the cities of Nisibis and Batnae . At the end of the year, Mesopotamia was also declared a Roman province. Trajan seems to have fought numerous battles during this time, as he was proclaimed Emperor four times . He spent the winter of 115/116 in Antioch, where a severe earthquake almost cost him his life. The internal turmoil in Parthia probably prevented Chosroes from any concentrated resistance. In January 116, the Roman troops took the Parthian capital, Ctesiphon , without resistance . Although Chosroes had fled, Trajan was able to get a daughter of his and the Parthian throne into his power and send her to Rome. On February 20, 116 the winning name Parthicus was added to Germanicus and Dacicus . Trajan should also be allowed to celebrate any number of triumphs . The minting of coins began to herald the submission of Parthia (Parthia capta) and the submission of Armenia and Mesopotamia to Roman rule. But Trajan pushed on. He went downriver to the Persian Gulf . On his return trip he reached Babylon , where he visited the house where Alexander the Great died.

Limits of the ancient world power

The empire at the time of its greatest expansion under Trajan

In 116 Trajan stood on the Persian Gulf. No Roman emperor had ever advanced so far east, and none since Augustus had added so much new territory to the empire. After Armenia (114), Mesopotamia (116) was established as a province of the Roman Empire. Another new province, Assyria , which Trajan is also said to have created, is only attested in late antique sources; therefore their location and presumed extent are highly controversial in research, or their existence is even questioned.

With his expansion policy, Trajan disregarded the alleged advice of Augustus to keep the empire within its current limits (consilium coercendi intra terminos imperii) . The reason for this advice was apparently to predict financial losses for the empire in the event of further conquest.

When Trajan was still in the Euphrates region, a widespread Jewish uprising broke out in Mesopotamia, Syria, Cyprus, Iudaea , Egypt and Cyrenaica . The connections and objectives of the surveys are largely unclear. In the meantime the Parthian counter-offensive had also begun and a Roman army led by the consular Appius Maximus Santra had been defeated, which subsequently led to the destruction of numerous Roman garrisons. South Mesopotamia then had to be evacuated. The Arsakid troops were able to recapture large areas in a short time, but the retreating Romans succeeded in persuading the Parthian general Parthamaspates , a son of the Parthian king, to change front. As a reward, Trajan crowned Parthamaspates in the autumn of 116 in Ctesiphon as Parthian king, which at the same time gave up his plan to incorporate Mesopotamia into the Roman provincial system, at least for the time being. However, the Parthians did not accept the ruler appointed by the Romans; he was never able to assert himself militarily. His appointment served primarily to divert attention from the emperor's military defeat. The Parthian campaign had ended in catastrophe for Rome.

Until Trajan's death in August 117, there was no longer any major Roman counter-offensive. Instead, all available troops had to be used to fight the Jewish uprisings. There were also news of revolts in all newly conquered areas. In Armenia, Trajan had to cede areas in order to obtain temporary calm. Major fights have also been reported from Dacia. Then Trajan also sent troops there. In northern Mesopotamia, Lusius Quietus was entrusted with the suppression of the uprising, where he proceeded very brutally and achieved considerable success. Since the Roman troops seemed to master their tasks on all scenes, Trajan was able to try to regain the initiative in order to limit the damage. He moved north and besieged the heavily fortified city of Hatra , whose population was particularly devoted to the Parthian kings and whose conquest was strategically essential if the Romans wanted to bring northern Mesopotamia permanently under their control. Despite great efforts, the siege failed because of the adverse conditions in the desert. In addition, there were the almost insoluble problems of supplies and Roman supplies. Trajan had to leave defeated. His health deteriorated, so he decided to return to Rome. Therefore another campaign to Mesopotamia did not take place. In this situation, Trajan handed over command in the east to Hadrian, making him his governor in Syria, where the troops for the Parthian War were stationed.

Death and succession

Trajan's successor Hadrian , marble bust (National Roman Museum / Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome)

After a serious illness, Emperor Trajan died on August 8, 117 on the return journey to Rome in Selinus . He is said to have adopted his nephew Hadrian while still on his deathbed . The opaque circumstances of this alleged designation of the successor led to numerous speculations in which there was also strong opposition to this succession arrangement. Cassius Dio claimed that Hadrian was not adopted, but that Trajan's wife Plotina, whom Hadrian had been promoting for a long time, faked the adoption together with the Prefect of the Guard Attianus . In research it is controversial whether the adoption actually took place. Hadrian received the news of his death on August 9th in Syria. Two days later he was acclaimed emperor by the troops in Syria; hence from then on he celebrated August 11th (and not the day of the later confirmation by the Senate) as his dies imperii (day of taking office).

Trajan's body was brought to Pierien on Hadrian's instructions and cremated there. His ashes were then buried in Rome in the base of the Trajan Column . The emperor's burial within the hallowed city limits ( pomerium ) was unusual. Until late antiquity, Trajan was the only emperor to be buried within the city limits. In republican times this honor was only granted to outstanding triumphers besides the Vestal Virgins . The sources of the Trajan period do not give any indication of the plan of a burial, later sources emphasize the particularity of this act. In addition, Hadrian had a triumphal procession carried out for his predecessor. The Senate decided on Trajan's consecration ; he was raised to the status of god of the state. Its official name was now: divus Traianus Parthicus .

When Trajan died, Greater Armenia was again in Roman hands, with the exception of the part that the emperor had to surrender in 116. Lusius Quietus had already recaptured the most important positions in Mesopotamia, so that resistance could only have been removed in a few places. In contrast, in the southern parts of Parthian Mesopotamia, the King Parthamaspates appointed by Trajan could not hold out without Roman support. The last uprisings of the Jews in the East, Egypt and Mesopotamia were put down by Hadrian. Revolts broke out in Dacia and on the central Danube, in Britain and in Mauritania.

At the beginning of his reign, Hadrian renounced the continuation of Trajan's policy of conquest and gave up all areas that his predecessor had conquered on the other side of the Euphrates and Tigris. Instead, he tried to secure what had been achieved and propagated the Pax Romana in an area between Britain and Syria, the Balkans and North Africa. He made peace with the Parthians, and the eastern border of the empire was moved back to the state of the year 113. In research, the question of whether this was a radical change of course or whether Trajan had striven for a compromise peace with the Parthians in the last year of his life, in which he would only have kept part of his conquests, is controversial.

The final abandonment of the new eastern provinces met with criticism from many contemporaries, and the new emperor was even threatened with an attempted coup from among the leading military. Allegedly, the four former consuls Avidius Nigrinus , Cornelius Palma , Publilius Celsus and Lusius Quietus conspired . All four were executed, which put a strain on Hadrian's relationship with the Senate throughout his life. The province of Dacia established by Trajan finally had to be abandoned by Emperor Aurelian in the year 271, the military withdrawn and the Roman population evacuated and settled on the southern bank of the Danube.

Under Hadrian, a departure from Trajan's policy of strengthening Italy began. Unlike his predecessor, he brought the provinces to the fore and strengthened their self-confidence. Extensive travel activities gave him the broadest knowledge of the local and national problems of the empire. The provinces now appear on the coins as independent units and are upgraded compared to Italy.


The "best emperor"

Idealized portrait of Trajan around 117

These are available as historical representations for the more than 100 years between Augustus and the Flavians Suetons, imperial biographies as well as Tacitus ' annals and histories , which are supplemented by works of other genera, such as Strabon's description of the earth and the natural history of the elder Pliny , reports on the Trajan's reign almost exclusively from the history work of Senator Cassius Dio from the 3rd century. But even its depiction over this period is only preserved in excerpts from the Byzantine period . Scarce information can also be found in the breviary of the 4th century, while the imperial biographies of Marius Maximus , in which Trajan was treated, have been lost. The meager literary tradition is supplemented by numerous archaeological , epigraphic and numismatic evidence.

The ancient historians often took over the position of the Senate in conflicts between the Senate and the Princeps, since many authors who expressed themselves historiographically belonged to the senatorial class or were at least influenced in their writing by members of the Senate. The good relationship that Trajan had with the Senate therefore also shaped the judgment of ancient (and especially senatorial ) historiography. The image of Trajan as ruler and personality has been decisively shaped up to the present day by the gratiarum actio , the acceptance speech of the younger Pliny, which he gave on the occasion of the beginning of his suffect consulate on September 1, 100 in front of the fully assembled Senate and the also present Trajan . It depicts Trajan as an example of the ideal ruler. The extremely favorable judgment arose above all from the sharp distinction to Domitian. Suetonius prophesied a happier age after Domitian's death. According to Tacitus, when Trajan came to power, a beatissimum saeculum (“extremely happy age”) began.

Trajan's ideology of rule as the best, just and at the same time successful and bellicose ruler was so haunting that his image was not clouded by the ultimately unsuccessful end of the Parthian War. The subsequent emperors were not to have any sons of their own for decades and were thus forced to adopt the supposedly best in the state as heir to the throne. To do this, they had to look to an unbroken line of well-regarded predecessors that began with Trajan and his adoptive father Nerva. As a result, every ruler for all his inadequacy had to be kept in positive memory.

Since 114 Trajan has been considered the optimus ("the best") par excellence. No ruler since Augustus corresponded to the ideal, which was designed according to republican ideas by Roman senators, but also by Greek intellectuals, as much as Trajan. This ideal was essentially made up of the virtues (virtutes) mildness (clementia) , justice (iustitia) and dutiful behavior towards gods and people (pietas) . The verdict on Trajan's border and foreign policy was determined by the fact that no Roman emperor had penetrated so far east before him and none had conquered so much new territory for the empire since Augustus. Like the great generals of the Roman Republic, he consciously used his military ability (virtus) for military expansion according to the traditional Roman ideal .

Only a few criticisms of Trajan have come down to us. Fronto , who staged Lucius Verus in his work Principia historiae as a conqueror in the east, also belittled Trajan. He accused him of sacrificing soldiers for his personal goals, of negotiating with a problematic client king, whom he later killed instead of being lenient, and of failing to save two commanders in the Parthian War. He also highlighted Trajan's drunkenness . However, the surviving remains of Fronto's writings were only discovered in the 19th century and had no influence on the positive Trajan image.

In late antiquity , Trajan's reign was considered the best of the Roman Empire. The shout of senators to a new princeps "May you be happier than Augustus and better than Trajan" (felicior Augusto, melior Traiano) became a popular saying . Constantine the Great sought to imitate Trajan primarily in outward appearances, such as the beardless portrayal of his portrait, the coin legend optimo principi, or the Trajan-oriented entry into the Eternal City. Although his son Constantius II demonstratively ignored the rest of the pagan cityscape on his visit to Rome because of Christian reservations , he praised the Trajan's Forum as a “unique building under heaven” and decided to leave the city intact. Theodosius I pretended to be related to Trajan through his Spanish origins for himself and his house. In late antiquity, Trajan was considered to be a ruler who in his time had fulfilled the role of emperor in an exemplary manner. As a propagator finium (“ broadener of the borders”) he had increased the empire, as princeps guaranteed the freedom of the Senate and the Roman people and in this way brought about domestic political securitas after Domitian's reign of terror .

None of the Roman emperors before Constantine the Great is as valued in the Christian tradition as Trajan, despite having advocated trials against Christians for their beliefs. Orosius even defended the emperor from the accusation of being a persecutor of Christians and portrayed him as a victim of false reports. In the early Middle Ages , the Trajan legend of the righteous ruler emerged. Although he was on a campaign, he was with a widow who asked him for help in the face of the murder of her son. In response to such reports, Pope Gregory I is said to have been so impressed by the emperor that he prayed for the salvation of the heathen until he was freed from hell. Over the centuries the legend has seen some variations. The fictional son of Trajan himself was responsible for the death of the widow's son. As atonement for the loss, the emperor had given the widow as compensation. Tradition also varies about what prompted the Pope to intercede. Thus Trajan's skull was found with an intact tongue, which communicated the emperor's wish to be redeemed to the pope who was hurrying up. According to another tradition, the emperor's justice made the Pope intercede at the Forum of Trajan. The Trajan legend was most widespread in the late Middle Ages. The admission to heaven of a pagan allegedly persecuting Christians had generated many critical and skeptical voices. At the end of all disputations it was realized that the admission of Trajan could only have been an extremely rare exception to the rule. Dante also refers to the Trajan legend in the Divina Comedia . For him, the Trajan legend showed that salvation from damnation was also possible for people who were not explicitly associated with the Church.

The artists Rogier van der Weyden (1439), Hans Sebald Beham (1537), Noël-Nicolas Coypel (1699), Noël Hallé (1765) and Eugène Delacroix (1840) also referred to Trajan's justice . When the entrance hall of the Supreme Court in Washington was designed in the 1930s, the representation of Trajan is said to have been chosen as the embodiment of justice.

Trajan in Research

Significant work took over the assessment of Trajan as an ideal ruler. Edward Gibbon was inspired by the sight of the ruins of ancient Rome to write the history of the fall of the Roman Empire in his main work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776), for which he identified Christianity as the main cause. Still under the impression of the Enlightenment , he considered the reigns of the adoptive emperors, those Five Good Emperors , among whom Trajan occupied a prominent position, as the most exemplary in human history up to his day:

“If a man were called to commit himself to a section in world history in the course of which the situation of the human race was the happiest and most progressive, he would, without hesitation, name the one who, from the death of Domitian to the inauguration of the Commodus was enough. The vast expanse of the Roman Empire was ruled by absolute power, under the guidance of righteousness and wisdom. The armies were kept in check by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose personalities and authority were instinctively respected. The systems of state administration were carefully maintained by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and the Antonine, who enjoyed the idea of ​​freedom and were content to see themselves as the responsible administrators of the law. "

- Edward Gibbon: The history of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776), Chapter III: The Constitution In The Age Of The Antonines. Part II.

The positive image of Trajan was decisive for Gibbon in the favorable assessment of the second century as a happy time. Gibbon's work exerted a considerable influence on the modern history of the Roman Empire. In 1883, however, Theodor Mommsen passed a harsh judgment . According to this, Trajan consciously sought war with the Parthians and intended "to bring not only the Euphrates but also the Tigris region under his power with an immeasurable, boundless lust for conquest". But the verdict on Trajan remained consistently positive until the 1950s, which the emperor owes in particular to the comparison with Domitian. In Roberto Paribeni's comprehensive work of 1927, Trajan becomes a unique figure among the Roman Principes, his government the height of the empire in all areas, the Saeculum Traiani the happiest in Rome. Paribeni's work, which had adopted and solidified the image of the optimus princeps , shaped further research for decades. In his Roman story , Alfred Heuss praised Trajan as "one of the great rulers" and as "the ideal embodiment of the humane concept of emperor". Paribeni's influence can still be felt in the work by Eugen Cizek , which appeared around 50 years later . Cizek presents Trajan as unique among the Roman Principes, the time of Trajan was the happiest in Rome.

In the 1960s, based on a revision of the Domitian image, with contributions from KH Waters on the emperors Domitian and Trajan, a countercurrent began. In modern research, comparatively few monographic studies have been written on Trajan since Paribeni's two-volume monograph. However, in various monographs special focal points or topics of this imperial life were taken into account, such as the non-literary documents by Mary Smallwood (1966), the women at Trajan's court by Hildegard Temporini-Countess Vitzthum (1978) or the Dacer Wars by Karl Strobel (1984).

More recently, Martin Fell has tried to use the panegyric material and the few details from historical works to prove that a real government program can be worked out for Trajan. The study highlighted the ideal of a princeps propagated by Pliny, in order to then test the conformity of this claim with reality. Fell stated that Trajan was indeed the optimus princeps . Even Julian Bennett (1997) came to a generally very positive opinion on the rule of Trajan, both internally - the Senate, the people of Rome and Italy - as well as outwards - provinces and border security. In his study, Gunnar Seelentag (2004) examined the representation of Trajan’s power based on the ruling imago that is constituted in communication with the army, senate and plebs urbana . Based on Egon Flaig ( Challenging the Emperor) , Seelentag interprets the principle as an “acceptance system” within which the consensus of all politically relevant groups involved in communication - the Senate, Army and plebs urbana - recognized and enforced the system of rule.

In the first complete presentation of Trajan in German, for Karl Strobel (2010) Trajan is not the optimus princeps as he appears in ancient tradition in contrast to pessimus princeps Domitian. Strobel creates a critical image of Trajan as an autocratic ruler striving for sacred exaltation. Trajan thus continued the path begun by Domitian of a conception of power based on the sacred exaltation of the princeps.


  • Cassius Dio : Roman History . Book 68 (only available in excerpts; English translation ).
    German translation: Roman history. Vol. 5. Epitoms of Books 61–80 . Translated by Otto Veh . Artemis and Winkler, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-538-03109-8 .
  • Juvenal : satires ( Latin text ).
    German translation: satires. Latin-German . Edited, translated and annotated by Joachim Adamietz. Artemis and Winkler, Düsseldorf 1993, ISBN 3-7608-1671-1 .
  • Pliny the Younger : Panegyricus ( Latin text ).
    German translation: Panegyrikus: Eulogy of the Emperor Trajan . Edited, introduced and translated by Werner Kühn. 2nd Edition. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2008, ISBN 978-3-534-20997-2 .
  • Pliny the Younger: Epistulae ( Latin text ).
    German translation: letters. Latin-German . Published by Helmut Kasten. 7th edition. Artemis and Winkler, Zurich 1995, ISBN 3-7608-1577-4 .


Web links

Commons : Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Eutropus 8.2 names Italica as the place of birth. All other authors only refer to Trajan's origin from Hispania, which is a legal statement with economic consequences, but not a statement about the place of birth.
  2. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010 p. 40.
  3. His full title at the time of his death was Imperator Caesar divi Nervae filius Nerva Traianus optimus Augustus Germanicus Dacicus Parthicus, pontifex maximus, tribuniciae potestatis XXI, imperator XIII, proconsul, consul VI, pater patriae .
  4. Werner Eck : The way to the empire . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 7-20, here: p. 10.
  5. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 51.
  6. Werner Eck: Traianus [1] , in: Der Neue Pauly 12/1 (2002), Col. 746-749, here: Col. 746.
  7. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 63.
  8. Pliny, Panegyricus 15.3.
  9. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, pp. 64, 208.
  10. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 103.
  11. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 123.
  12. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 121.
  13. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 122.
  14. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 122.
  15. ^ Werner Eck: Domitianus. DNP 3 (1997) col. 746-750; Werner Eck: The way to empire . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 7–20, here: p. 14. Christian Witschel: Domitian 81–96. In: Manfred Clauss (Ed.), The Roman Emperors. 55 historical portraits from Caesar to Justinian, Munich 1997, pp. 98–110, here: pp. 106f. Rehabilitation attempts by Domitian include: Brian W. Jones: The Emperor Domitian. London et al. 1992; Pat Southern: Domitian. Tragic Tyrant. London 1997.
  16. ^ On Nerva: John D. Grainger: Nerva and the Roman succession crisis of AD 96-99. London 2003.
  17. Cassius Dio 67.15.5 .
  18. ^ Suetonius, Domitian 23 .
  19. Cassius Dio 68,3,2 .
  20. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 162f.
  21. Werner Eck: The way to the empire . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 7-20, here: pp. 16f.
  22. Werner Eck: The way to the empire . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 7-20, here: p. 15.
  23. Pliny, Panegyricus 8.
  24. Historia Augusta : Hadrian 2.5f.
  25. Cassius Dio 68,5,4 .
  26. Martial 10.7.
  27. ^ Karl Strobel: Investigations into the Dacer Wars Trajan. Studies on the history of the middle and lower Danube region in the High Imperial Era. Bonn 1984, p. 158f.
  28. Pliny, Panegyricus 12.
  29. Cassius Dio 68,5,2 .
  30. Gunnar Soul Day: Deeds and Virtues of Trajan. Representation of rule in the Prinzipat , Stuttgart 2004, p. 82; Anthony R. Birley : The Oath not to Put a Senator to Death . In: The Classical Review . Volume 76, 1962, pp. 197-199.
  31. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 154.
  32. Werner Eck: The way to the empire . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 7-20, here: p. 16.
  33. Pliny, Epistulae 3,20,12.
  34. Pliny, Panegyricus 88.4.
  35. Pliny, Panegyricus 2,4.
  36. Pliny, Panegyricus 65.
  37. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, pp. 10, 203.
  38. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 204.
  39. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 242.
  40. ^ Karl Strobel: Investigations into the Dacer Wars Trajan. Studies on the history of the middle and lower Danube region in the High Imperial Era. Bonn 1984, p. 156.
  41. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 207.
  42. On Trajan's first Dacian war, cf. also Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch of world history , Regensburg 2010, pp. 236–263.
  43. Cassius Dio 68.8.1 ; Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 246.
  44. Michael Alexander Speidel : Bellicosissimus Princeps . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 23–40, here: p. 33.
  45. Cassius Dio 68,9,3 ; Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 252.
  46. Cassius Dio 68,9,5f ; Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 253.
  47. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 260.
  48. Michael Alexander Speidel: Bellicosissimus Princeps. In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 23–40, here: p. 33.
  49. Cassius Dio 68,10,3 . Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 264.
  50. Cassius Dio 68,10,3f . For the course of the war see: Karl Strobel: Kaiser Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, pp. 264–289.
  51. Cassius Dio 68.11.3 .
  52. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 268f.
  53. ^ Karl Strobel: Investigations into the Dacer Wars Trajan. Studies on the history of the middle and lower Danube region in the High Imperial Era. Bonn 1984, p. 35.
  54. ^ Karl Strobel: Investigations into the Dacer Wars Trajan. Studies on the history of the middle and lower Danube region in the High Imperial Era. Bonn 1984, p. 221.
  55. Werner Eck: Traian . In: Manfred Clauss (Ed.): The Roman Emperors. 55 historical portraits from Caesar to Justinian . Munich 1997, pp. 110–124, here: p. 120.
  56. Pliny, Epistulae 6,19,3f.
  57. Werner Eck: The position of Italy in Traian's imperial policy . In: Egon Schallmayer (Ed.), Traian in Germanien. Traian im Reich , Bad Homburg 1999, pp. 11–16, here: p. 13.
  58. Annette Nünnerich-Asmus: He built for the people ?! The Roman buildings of Traian . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 97–124, here: p. 118.
  59. Annette Nünnerich-Asmus: He built for the people ?! The Roman buildings of Traian . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 97–124, here: p. 124.
  60. Björn Gesemann: The 'Great Aula' of the Traians markets in Rome - considerations on the origin and development of its building type . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 145–153, here: p. 145.
  61. Pliny, Panegyricus 26f. and 34f.
  62. Werner Eck: Traianus . In: Der Neue Pauly Vol. 12/1, (2002), Col. 746-749, here: Col. 747.
  63. Werner Eck: Traian . In: Manfred Clauss (Ed.): The Roman Emperors. 55 historical portraits from Caesar to Justinian . Munich 1997, pp. 110–124, here: p. 119.
  64. Gunnar Seelentag: The Emperor as Welfare. The Italian alimentary institution. In: Historia , Vol. 57, 2008, pp. 208–241, here: p. 208.
  65. Gunnar Seelentag: The Emperor as Welfare. The Italian alimentary institution. In: Historia , Vol. 57, 2008, pp. 208–241, here: p. 209. There further research status.
  66. Werner Eck: Traian . In: Manfred Clauss (Ed.): The Roman Emperors. 55 historical portraits from Caesar to Justinian . Munich 1997, pp. 110–124, here: p. 120.
  67. Michael Zahrnt: urbanitas equals romanitas. The urban policy of the Emperor Trajan . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 51–72, here: p. 55.
  68. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 192f.
  69. Joachim Molthagen: Christians in the non-Christian world of the Roman Empire of the Imperial Era (1st – 3rd century). Selected articles from science and church practice , St. Katharinen 2005, pp. 116–145, here: p. 116.
  70. Pliny, Epistulae 10.96f.
  71. Pliny, Epistulae 10.97.
  72. Hildegard Temporini-Countess Vitzthum: The family of the "adoptive emperors" from Traian to Commodus . In: Hildegard Temporini-Countess Vitzthum (Hrsg.): Die Kaiserinnen Roms. From Livia to Theodora . Munich 2002, pp. 187–264, here: p. 190.
  73. ^ The dating according to Karl Strobel: Kaiser Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 53.
  74. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 53.
  75. Cassius Dio 68.17.1 .
  76. Cassius Dio 68.29.1 and 30.1 .
  77. ^ Frank A. Lepper: Trajan's Parthian was . Oxford 1948, pp. 201-204.
  78. Werner Eck: Traian and Hadrian. Opposing and great rulers? In: Antonio Caballos Rufino (ed.): De Trajano a Adriano . Seville 2018, pp. 27-47; here: p. 37.
  79. On the question of the reasons for the war, see Frank A. Lepper: Trajan's Parthian war . Oxford 1948, pp. 158-204; Julien Guey: Essai sur la guerre parthique de Trajan (114–117) , Bucharest 1937, pp. 19ff .; Klaus Schippmann: Fundamentals of Parthian History , Darmstadt 1980, p. 60.
  80. On Trajan's Parthian War see also: Karl Strobel: Kaiser Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 348ff.
  81. Cassius Dio 68, 20, 3 .
  82. Cassius Dio 68,23,1 .
  83. coins with the legend PARTHIA CAPTA .. RIC Vol 2, No. 324 Trajan u. 325; other legends that proclaimed the victory over the Parthians (including ARMENIA ET MESOPOTAMIA IN POTESTATEM PR REDACTAE and with the nickname PARTHICO ) such as RIC 310, 642, 667 and 669, BMC III², no. 1045-1049.
  84. André Maricq: La province d'Assyrie Créée par Trajan. A propos de la guerre parthique de Trajan . In: Maricq: Classica et orientalia , Paris 1965, pp. 103–111 (identifies Assyria with southern Mesopotamia); Chris S. Lightfood: Trajan's Parthian War and the Fourth-Century Perspective . In: Journal of Roman Studies 80, 1990, pp. 115–126, here: 121–124 (denies the establishment 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: Rise and Fall of the Roman World, Vol. 9.1, Berlin 1976, pp. 3–45 (presumed Assyria between Mesopotamia and Adiabene ); Lepper (1948) p. 146 (identifies Assyria with Adiabene).
  85. Tacitus: Annals 1.11 .
  86. Michael Alexander Speidel: Bellicosissimus Princeps . In: Annette Nünnerich-Asmus (Ed.): Traian. An emperor of superlatives at the beginning of a period of upheaval? Mainz 2002, pp. 23-40; here: p. 29.
  87. Werner Eck: Traian and Hadrian. Opposing and great rulers? In: Antonio Caballos Rufino (ed.): De Trajano a Adriano . Seville 2018, pp. 27-47; here: 38.
  88. Karl Christ: History of the Roman Empire. From Augustus to Constantine . 6th edition, Munich 2009, p. 312.
  89. Historia Augusta, Hadrian 4,6.
  90. Cassius Dio 69,1,1 .
  91. An overview of the opposing research opinions on this question is provided by Susanne Mortensen: Hadrian. A history of interpretation , Bonn 2004, pp. 27–55.
  92. Gunnar Soul Day: Deeds and Virtues of Trajan. Representation of power in the Prinzipat , Stuttgart 2004, p. 394.
  93. ^ Maria G. Angeli Bertinelli: I Romani oltre l'Eufrate nel II secolo d. C. (le provincie di Assiria, di Mesopotamia e di Osroene) . In: Rise and Fall of the Roman World, Vol. 9.1, Berlin 1976, p. 22 and note 104 (with an overview of the older literature on the controversy).
  94. Historia Augusta, Hadrian 5,8 and 7,1ff.
  95. On the sources: Karl Strobel: Kaiser Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, pp. 14-18.
  96. ^ Suetonius, Domitian 23, 2 .
  97. Tacitus, Agricola 44.5.
  98. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 18.
  99. Eutropius 8,5,3.
  100. Ammianus Marcellinus 16:10, 15.
  101. Timo Stickler: Trajan in late antiquity . In: Egon Schallmayer (Ed.): Traian in Germanien. Traian im Reich , Bad Homburg 1999, pp. 107–113, here: p. 110.
  102. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 28.
  103. Orosius 7,12,3.
  104. Divina Comedia, Purgatorio 10, 73-93.
  105. ^ Egon Schallmayer (ed.): Traian in Germanien. Traian in the kingdom. Bad Homburg 1999, foreword, p. 6.
  106. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 30.
  107. ^ Theodor Mommsen: Roman Imperial History. Munich 1992, p. 389.
  108. ^ Alfred Heuss: Römische Geschichte , 4th supplemented edition, Braunschweig 1976, p. 344ff.
  109. Eugen Cizek: L'Époque de Trajan. Circonstances politiques etproblemèmes ideologiques. Paris 1983, pp. 21-25 and pp. 512-515.
  110. Martin Fell: Optimus princeps? The claim and reality of Traian's imperial program. Munich 1992, p. 176.
  111. ^ Karl Strobel: Emperor Traian. An epoch in world history. Regensburg 2010, p. 13. In summary Jens Gering: Review of: Karl Strobel: Kaiser Traian - An Epoch of World History. Regensburg 2010. In: Frankfurter Electronic Rundschau zur Altertumskunde 15 (2011) ( online ; PDF; 141 kB).
  112. Review of the 1st edition 1997 by Werner Eck, in: Scripta Classica Israelica . 17, 1998, pp. 231-234.
predecessor Office successor
Nerva Roman emperor
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