Trajan was, first and foremost, a great military commander who, thanks to his achievements, celebrated the most significant triumphs. During his rule, the Roman Empire reached its greatest extent. His severe and honest character made him appreciated by both the Senate and the people from the beginning.
Trajan was the emperor who led the empire to its maximum territorial extent. Trajan was born in the city of Italica on September 18, 1953. On October 27, 1997, Nerva adopted Trajan and declared him his future successor to receive the support of the legions. Thus, on January 27, 1998, after the death of Nerva, Trajan became, without any impediment, the first non-Italian Roman emperor.
His visits to the garrisons on the fringes of the empire were a wise move by Trajan. To strengthen his support among the legions he had commanded in the campaigns of Emperor Domitian. Trajan’s entry into Rome in 99 AD was a triumph. Crowds rejoiced at the news of his arrival. The new emperor entered the city on foot, embraced each of the senators, and even walked among ordinary people. It was a behavior unlike that of any other Roman emperor before and perhaps reflected a small part of the true greatness of Emperor Trajan.
What was Emperor Trajan known for?
Having a peaceful government and not using bloodshed in his favor, Trajan was accepted as emperor with great enthusiasm.
And yet, Trajan remains in history with his struggles. In 102, he managed to get King Decebalus to capitulate after the expedition from Dacia in 101 and confidently captured the capital Sarmizegetusa. Soon, Trajan decides to attack again because of King Decebalus. Trajan’s engineers build a bridge over the Danube, with the help of which he manages to besiege Dacia and destroy the capital Sarmizegetusa. Seeing himself thus defeated, Decebalus ended his days by suicide. In the end, Trajan decided to colonize Dacia with Romanian citizens and transformed it into a Romanian province.
While Trajan was successfully conquering Dacia, the king of Nabataeus died. He decided to leave his kingdom to Trajan as his inheritance, which is why the empire won Petrea Arabia (the southern part of modern-day Jordan, but also a small part of Saudi Arabia).
What was Trajan’s religion?
In ancient Rome, religion played a very important role, as people believed that the gods were behind every event. Thus choosing to worship them all day long.
During the reign of Trajan, the imperial religion was practiced so that the emperors were considered successors of the pharaohs. And his religion was a Pagan one. Just as Nero thought himself the descendant of Apollo and Hercules. Trajan, though more restrained, considered himself the descendant of Zeus or Jupiter, as the faithful called him.
All these cults ended with the mandates of Thessalonica and later, promulgated by Emperor Theodosius I, who converted to Christianity and banned all non-Christian worship. Especially pagan worship. Thus, in 380, Christianity became the state religion.
What did Emperor Trajan do to the Christians?
Even though he was considered honest, just, and honest, Trajan was a harsh persecutor of Christians. Thus he set up a rescript that grew in response to one of the letters of Pliny the Younger.
Trajan would learn from Pliny that the temples were becoming increasingly empty because of Christians. There was no respect for the holidays, and people no longer bought animals to sacrifice.
Thus, Trajan decides that those who were denounced and professed Christianity should be punished if they did not apostatize. And offer sacrifices to pagan gods.
Was Trajan a good Roman Emperor?
Trajan’s entry into Rome would become the triumph of the Roman Empire. At the entrance to the city, Trajan embraced the senators and even roamed the streets among ordinary people, something never seen before by any other emperor. These deeds would prove the greatness of Emperor Trajan.
According to sources, Trajan was considered the best emperor of the Roman Empire, as all the other emperors who succeeded him were hated to be “elicitor Augusto, melior Traiano,” meaning luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan.
Due to his behavior, Trajan received the title of “optimal principle,” which means “the best emperor,” a title that remained for him even after his death.
Why is Trajan considered the best emperor?
Trajan pursued a successful military policy in which he managed to expand the territory of the Roman Empire through its conquests, such as Mesopotamia, Armenia, and especially Dacia. The part of Dacia was, at that time, the solution to get out of the economic crisis that the Roman Empire was going through due to the policy of conquest.
According to sources, the empire’s economy grew with the accession of Trajan. Agriculture was recovering, and everyone’s taxes were falling. From a territorial point of view, Trajan managed to reach the maximum expansion and strengthen the borders of the Roman empire, thus proving that the kingdom had the most significant territorial expansion during his reign.
Even the conquest of Dacia proved the greatness of this great emperor. On March 25, 101, Emperor Trajan left Rome to conquer Dacia, a fact that happened not only once but twice. Following the second victory, Trajan ordered the erection of “Trajan’s Column,” a monument illustrating the fierce fighting between the Romans and the Dacians.
What was Trajan’s weakness?
Emperor Trajan was best known for his modesty and courage during his reign. But behind these perfections, there were also two weaknesses of the emperor, which, according to the sources, did not harm anyone.
The first weakness of Emperor Trajan was related to red wine. He was said to have drunk as much as he wanted.
His second weakness, although not specified in the history books, was related to sexual relations with men, especially young boys. But this was common at the time, and Emperor Trajan’s homosexual inclinations did not affect anyone.
Even with these weaknesses behind him, Emperor Trajan was seen as the best, and his actions proved this. And his generosity was unmatched, especially on the battlefields where he was with his soldiers. And for which he was willing to cut his cloak to take care of their wounds.
3 Important Facts about Trajan
1. Trajan stood out as a moderate and thoughtful character
He ascended to the Roman Empire’s throne after Emperor Nerva’s death on 27 January 98. He did not rush to the throne but chose first to inspect the Roman troops on the fringes of the empire, on the Rhine and Danube frontiers. “Trajanus immediately endeavored to adopt a modest lifestyle, to show himself alien to any concerns that would have placed him in an awkward position in traditionalist circles. Unlike other emperors, he did not accept the erection of imposing statues of himself.”
2. He was called Dacicus. The First Dacian-Roman War
It ended in 102 with the victory of Trajan’s armies, while, according to historians, Decebal had to accept defeat. They laid down their arms, bound their hands like prisoners of war, and uttered a few words of request. In this way, they persuaded them to peace and took back their weapons. Trajan celebrated his triumph and was called “The Dacian.”
3. Decebal’s head, the great trophy of the war
After the defeat of the Dacians in the Second Dacian-Roman War, Trajan returned to Rome with an impressive booty, to which he added the head of his mortal enemy. In this way, Dacia came under Roman obedience and established towns of settlers there.
In conclusion, every human being has good and bad parts. He also had qualities and defects. But he took care during his reign to make the best decisions for his people and to develop the empire on all levels.