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Marcus Ulpius Nerva Trajan

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Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus (18 September 53-8 August 117), better known as Trajan, was a Roman emperor of the Antonine dynasty, who ruled from 98-117. Known for its extensive conquests. Under Trajan, the territory of the Roman Empire reached its maximum size. The second of the five good emperors.

Trajan, who was born in Italica (9 km northwest of present-day Seville), came from a Spanish aristocratic family. In the reign of Nero, Trajan's father was included in the Senate. Trajan began his career under Domitian, who appointed him governor of Upper Germany in 96. A year later, as a result of a soldier's mutiny, Domitian's successor Nerva adopted Trajan, who was popular in the army, and appointed him his co-ruler and heir. After Nerva's death, Trajan became the first native of the province to attain supreme power in the empire. Trajan's reign was marked by large-scale conquests. Two campaigns in 101-102 and 105-106 resulted in the conquest of Dacia. In the East, the Nabataean Kingdom was annexed, in 114-117 during the war with Parthia, the emperor annexed Great Armenia and Mesopotamia to the Roman state, in 116 he reached the Persian Gulf and captured the capital of the Parthians, Ctesiphon. However, because of the revolts, Trajan was forced to stop the campaign and return. In August 117, Trajan died in Cilicia on his way to Rome. He was succeeded by his great-nephew Adrian.

Trajan held the following winning titles:: "German" since October 97; "Dacian" — since the end of 102; "Parthian" — since 116; full title at the time of death: "Emperor Caesar, Son of the Divine Nerva, Nerva Traianus Augustus Germanic Dacian Parthian, Grand Pontiff, endowed with the power of the people's tribune 21 times, Emperor 13 times, Consul 6 times, Father of the Fatherland" (Latin: Imperator Caesar Divi Nervae Filius Nerva Traianus Optimus Augustus Germanicus Dacicus Parthicus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribuniciae potestatis XXI, Imperator XIII, Consul VI, Pater Patriae).

Emperor Trajan, 2nd century AD

Trajan was tall and well built. His face had a concentrated expression of self-respect, enhanced by premature graying. Here is what Dion Cassius wrote about his habits::

"He stood out for his justice, bravery, and unassuming habits… He did not envy anyone or kill anyone, but he respected and exalted all worthy people without exception, without feeling hatred or fear for them. He did not pay attention to the slanderers and did not give vent to his anger. He had no sense of self-interest, and he did not commit unrighteous murders. He spent a great deal of money on both war and peace work, and having done a great deal of badly needed rebuilding of roads, harbors, and public buildings, he did not shed any blood in these enterprises... He was close to people not only in hunting and feasting, but also in their labors and intentions… He liked to easily enter the houses of the townspeople, sometimes without guards. He lacked education in the strict sense of the word, but in fact he knew a lot and could do it. I know, of course, about his taste for boys and wine. But if, as a result of his weaknesses, he committed base or immoral acts, this would cause widespread condemnation. However, it is known that he drank as much as he wanted, but at the same time kept his mind clear, and in his relations with the boys he did not harm anyone."

Here is what Aurelius Victor says in his work On the Caesars:

"Trajan was just, merciful, long-suffering, very faithful to his friends; thus, he dedicated to his friend Sura a building: (namely) baths called Suran. He had such confidence in the sincerity of the people that, as was the custom, when he presented the dagger, the badge of his authority, to the prefect of the Praetorium named Suburan, he repeatedly reminded him: "I give you this weapon to protect me, if I act correctly, and if not, then against me." After all, the one who manages others should not allow even the slightest mistake in himself. Moreover, by his self-control, he softened his habitual taste for wine, which Nerva also suffered from: he did not allow orders given after long-drawn-out feasts to be carried out."

Trajan made significant changes to the overall structure of the Roman army. Were created:

Legions II The Undaunted Trajan and XXX the Victorious Ulpiev (both in 105 for the second Dacian campaign, so that the total number of legions reached a maximum of 30 under the Empire)

Ala I Ulpia contariorum miliaria and Ulpia dromedariorum, consisting of fighting camels, several units from Romanized Dacians and 6 auxiliary cohorts from Nabataeans

A new mounted guard (equites singulares) with an initial strength of 500 men from Thrace, Pannonia, Dacia and Raetia.

The so-called Frumentarii were transformed into an intelligence formation based in a Foreign camp (Castra Peregrinorum). To strengthen the Danube border, the Trajan Rampart was erected. There are 3 new positions in the medical service-medicus legionis, medicus cohortis and optio valetudinarii (respectively, legion and cohort medic and head of a military hospital).

Dacian Campaign

At the very beginning of his reign, Trajan began to prepare for the Dacian campaign, designed to once and for all remove the serious threat that had long hung over the Danube border. Preparations took almost a year to complete — new fortresses, bridges, and roads were built in the mountainous regions of Moesia, and troops drawn up from Germany and the eastern provinces were added to the nine legions stationed on the Danube. On the basis of the VII Claudian Legion in Viminacium, a shock fist was assembled from 12 legions, 16 al and 62 auxiliary cohorts totaling up to 200 thousand people. After that, in March 101, the Roman army, violating the treaty of Domitian and divided into two columns (the western one was commanded by Trajan himself), crossed the Danube by a pontoon bridge. These forces were opposed by the approximately 160,000-strong Decebalus army (including the 20,000 — strong Bastarnae, Roxolani, and presumably Boer allies). The Romans had to fight heavy battles; the aggressor faced a worthy opponent who not only resisted staunchly, but also courageously counterattacked on the Roman side of the Danube.

In Tibisk, the army was reunited and began to move towards Tapi. Tapi was located on the outskirts of the Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa, where in September a battle took place with the Dacians who put up stubborn resistance.

After rejecting Decebalus ' request for peace, Trajan was forced to come to the aid of the attacked fortresses south of the Danube. There he was successful-the procurator of Lower Moesia Laberius Maximus captured the sister of Decebalus, and the trophies captured after the defeat of Cornelius Fusca were recaptured without a fight. In February 102, a bloody battle took place near Adamklissi, during which Trajan ordered his own clothes to be torn into bandages. Nearly 4,000 Romans were killed. In honor of this Pyrrhic victory, monumental monuments, a huge mausoleum, a grave altar with a list of the dead and a small mound were erected in Adamklissi. In the spring, a counteroffensive was launched, but the Romans, with considerable effort, drove the Dacians back into the mountains.

Trajan's Column in Rome

Trajan again rejected the repeated request for peace and in the autumn managed to approach Sarmizegetusa. On the third request to negotiate, Trajan agreed, since his army was already exhausted in the battles, but with rather harsh conditions for the Dacians. Although in the late autumn of 102, neither Trajan nor his commanders believed in the successful completion of the struggle. Nevertheless, in December, the triumph was celebrated, and in order to be able to quickly transfer reinforcements to Dacia, Trajan ordered his civil engineer Apollodorus to build a grand stone bridge over the Danube near the fortress of Drobeta, but due to non-compliance with the treaty, its construction was accelerated, and the protection was entrusted to the legion Legion I "Italica" (legio I "Italica").

On June 4, 105, Trajan was forced to start a new campaign, but he mobilized a smaller force — 9 legions, 10 mounted troops, 35 auxiliary cohorts (more than 100 thousand people in total) and two Danube flotillas. At the beginning of the war, another bridge was built across the Danube to transport legions to Dacia faster. As a result of the fighting, the Romans again penetrated the mountains of Orestia and stopped at Sarmizegetusa. The attack on the capital Sarmizegetusa took place in the early summer of 106, with the participation of the II Auxiliary Legion and the IV Happy Flavian Legion and a vexilation from the VI Iron Legion. The Dacians repulsed the first attack, but the Romans destroyed the water supply to take the city faster. Trajan laid siege to the fortress-turned capital. In July, Trajan took it, but in the end the Dacians set it on fire, and some of the nobles committed suicide to avoid capture. The remnants of the troops, together with Decebalus, fled to the mountains, but in September they were overtaken by a Roman cavalry detachment led by Tiberius Claudius. Decebalus committed suicide, and Tiberius cut off his head and right arm and sent them to Trajan, who handed them over to Rome. By the end of the summer of 106, Trajan's forces had crushed the last pockets of resistance, and Dacia had become a Roman province. Not far from Sarmizegetusa, the new capital of Dacia was laid — Ulpia Traiana (Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica). The newly conquered lands were flooded with immigrants from the empire, mainly from its Balkan and generally eastern suburbs. Along with them, new religious cults, customs, and languages reigned in the new lands. The settlers were attracted by the riches of the beautiful region and, above all, by the gold found in the mountains. According to the late Antique author John Lida, who referred to the military physician Trajan Titus Statilius Crito, about 500 thousand prisoners of war were taken.

In the Dacian campaigns, Trajan managed to create a corps of talented commanders, which included Lucius Licinius Sura, Lucius Quietus and Quintus Marcius Turbon. The northern coast of Pontus (the Black Sea) fell under Roman influence. Control over the Bosporus and political influence over the Iberians were strengthened. The triumph of the emperor took place in the year 107 and was grandiose. The games lasted 123 days and were attended by more than 19,000 gladiators. The Dacian trophies totaled five million pounds of gold and ten million pounds of silver. The celebration was made more solemn by distinguished guests from India.

Eastern Campaign

In the west, the empire had reached its natural borders — the Atlantic Ocean, so Trajan shifted the center of gravity of his foreign policy to the East, where rich and strategically important, but still undeveloped by Rome, areas continued to be preserved.

Immediately after completing the conquest of Dacia, Trajan annexed the Nabataean kingdom, taking advantage of the discord following the death of its last king, Rabel II. In late 106 or early 107, Trajan sent an army led by the Syrian legate Aulus Cornelius Palma Frontonianus, which occupied the capital of Arabia, Petra. Immediately after the annexation, Arabia was organized into the new province of Rocky Arabia. The first governor of the province was Gaius Claudius Severus, who simultaneously served as commander of the III Cyrenaica Legion, transferred from Egypt. In early 111, Claudius Severus began construction of the via Nova Traiana, a road leading from south to north across Arabia. This road is still operational in Jordan. And experts still admire the fact that it is drawn exactly along the border with the desert, that is, the territory on which, by definition, life could not have been. In fact, this road defined a climate zone convenient for human habitation, and at the same time-the border of the province and the empire from the east. Traian decided to make the capital of the new province in Bosra — the city was renamed Nova Traiana Bostra.

Disagreements with the old enemy Parthia over the candidates for the Armenian throne (Parthian nominee was Partamasiris, Roman — Axidar) became a catalyst for the preparation of the main phase of the campaign, during which bridgeheads for the offensive were won. After unsuccessful negotiations with the Parthian king Chosroes in October 112/113, Trajan left Italy, while reinforcements from Dacian garrisons were sent to the East, so that a total of 11 legions were targeted against Parthia.

On January 7, 114, Trajan arrived in Antioch to eliminate the riots that had arisen after the Parthian raids, and later went through Samosata in the upper Euphrates to Satala — the gathering place of the northern group of troops. Rejecting Partamasiris ' formal recognition of Roman authority, Trajan quickly occupied the Armenian Highlands. In the north, successful negotiations were initiated with Colchis, Iberia and Albania, which secured the eastern Black Sea coast for the Romans. Having eliminated the Parthian rule in the south-east of Armenia, the troops gradually occupied Atropatene and Hyrkania. In autumn, all the regions of Armenia and part of Cappadocia were merged into the province of Armenia.

In 115 AD, Trajan launched an offensive into northwestern Mesopotamia. The local princes, vassals of Khosroi, offered little resistance, since he was occupied in the eastern part of the kingdom and could not provide them with any help. After the occupation of the main cities of Sintara and Nisibis, Mesopotamia was also declared a province at the end of the year. While in Antioch for the second time, on December 13, 115, Trajan miraculously escaped from a devastating earthquake by jumping out of a house window, and was forced to spend several days in the open air at the hippodrome. The heavy destruction of this army rear base made further operations difficult, but in the spring of the following year, the completion of the grand fleet on the Euphrates marked the continuation of the campaign.

The armies moved along the Euphrates and Tigris in two columns, with communication between them apparently maintained through the old channels restored by Trajan. After the occupation of Babylon, the ships of the Euphrates army were transported overland to the Tigris, where the army joined and entered Seleucia. Chosroes was almost unable to cope with internal strife, and the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon was taken without much difficulty, as a result of which the king was forced to flee, but his daughter was captured. Later, Septimius Severus, after his Parthian campaign, asked the Senate to give him the title "divi Traiani Parthici abnepos" — "great-great-grandson of the divine Trajan of Parthia".

Trajan achieved unprecedented success: in the area of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, another province was created — Assyria, the Mezen Kingdom was taken at the mouth of the Euphrates, and the flotilla descended downstream to the Persian Gulf, and Trajan, who was warmly welcomed in the port city of Charax, began to plan a further advance to India. According to one legend, he went to the sea and, seeing a ship sailing to India, praised Alexander the Great and said: "If I were young, I would definitely go to India."

Territories of the Roman Empire during the reign of Trajan

Related topics

The Roman Empire, Reign of the Antonine Dynasty, The Emperors of Rome, The Trophy of Trajan, Trajan's Column


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