One original ancient Roman coin. / COS V PP SPQR OPTIMO PRINC, Dacia mourning, seated on pile of captured arms, DAC CAP below. Coin is in good condition and very rare and nice inclusion to the finest collection.
N/; Latin: Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nervae filius Augustus; 18 September 53 - 8 August 117 was Roman emperor from 98 to 117. Officially declared by the Senate optimus princeps ("the best ruler"), Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history, leading the empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death. He is also known for his philanthropic rule, overseeing extensive public building programs and implementing social welfare policies, which earned him his enduring reputation as the second of the Five Good Emperors who presided over an era of peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean world.
Trajan was born in the city of Italica (close to modern Sevilla, Spain) in the province of Hispania Baetica. Although misleadingly designated by some later writers as a provincial, his family came from Umbria and he was born a Roman citizen. Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in 89 Trajan supported Domitian against a revolt on the Rhine led by Antonius Saturninus. In September 96, Domitian was succeeded by the old and childless Nerva, who proved to be unpopular with the army.
After a brief and tumultuous year in power, culminating in a revolt by members of the Praetorian Guard, he was compelled to adopt the more popular Trajan as his heir and successor. Nerva died in 98 and was succeeded by his adopted son without incident.As a civilian administrator, Trajan is best known for his extensive public building program, which reshaped the city of Rome and left numerous enduring landmarks such as Trajan's Forum, Trajan's Market and Trajan's Column. Early in his reign, he annexed the Nabataean Kingdom, creating the province of Arabia Petraea.
His conquest of Dacia enriched the empire greatly, as the new province possessed many valuable gold mines. Trajan's war against the Parthian Empire ended with the sack of the capital Ctesiphon and the annexation of Armenia and Mesopotamia. His campaigns expanded the Roman Empire to its greatest territorial extent. In late 117, while sailing back to Rome, Trajan fell ill and died of a stroke in the city of Selinus. He was deified by the Senate and his ashes were laid to rest under the Column.
He was succeeded by his cousin Hadrian, whom Trajan supposedly adopted on his deathbed. As an emperor, Trajan's reputation has endured - he is one of the few rulers whose reputation has survived nineteen centuries.
Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano (that he be "luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan"). Among medieval Christian theologians, Trajan was considered a virtuous pagan. In the Renaissance, Machiavelli, speaking on the advantages of adoptive succession over heredity, mentioned the five successive good emperors "from Nerva to Marcus" - a trope out of which the 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon popularized the notion of the Five Good Emperors, of whom Trajan was the second. As far as ancient literary sources are concerned, an extant continuous account of Trajan's reign does not exist.An account of the Dacian Wars, the Commentarii de bellis Dacicis, written by Trajan himself or a ghostwriter and modelled after Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, is lost with the exception of one sentence. Only fragments remain of the Getiká, a book by Trajan's personal physician Titos Statilios Kriton. The Parthiká, a 17-volume account of the Parthian Wars written by Arrian, has met a similar fate.
Book 68 in Cassius Dio's Roman History, which survives mostly as Byzantine abridgments and epitomes, is the main source for the political history of Trajan's rule. Besides this, Pliny the Younger's Panegyricus and Dio of Prusa's orations are the best surviving contemporary sources. Both are adulatory perorations, typical of the late Roman era, that describe an idealized monarch and an equally idealized view of Trajan's rule, and concern themselves more with ideology than with actual fact. It is certain that much of the text of the letters that appear in this collection over Trajan's signature was written and/or edited by Trajan's Imperial secretary, his ab epistulis.Therefore, discussion of Trajan and his rule in modern historiography cannot avoid speculation, as well as recourse to non-literary sources such as archaeology and epigraphy. Marcus Ulpius Traianus was born on 18 September 53 AD in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica(in what is now Andalusia in modern Spain), in the city of Italica (now in the municipal area of Santiponce, in the outskirts of Seville).
Although frequently designated the first provincial emperor, and dismissed by later writers such as Cassius Dio (himself of provincial origin) as "an Iberian, and neither an Italian nor even an Italiot", Trajan appears to have hailed on his father's side from the area of Tuder (modern Todi) in Umbria, at the border with Etruria, and on his mother's side from the Gens Marcia, of an Italic family of Sabine origin. Trajan's birthplace of Italica was founded as a Roman military colony of Italian settlers in 206 BC, though it is unknown when the Ulpii arrived there. It is possible, but cannot be substantiated, that Trajan's ancestors married local women and lost their citizenship at some point, but they certainly recovered their status when the city became a municipium with Latin citizenship in the mid-1st century BC. Trajan was the son of Marcia, a Roman noblewoman and sister-in-law of the second Flavian Emperor Titus, and Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a prominent senator and general from the gens Ulpia. Marcus Ulpius Traianus the elder served Vespasian in the First Jewish-Roman War, commanding the Legio X Fretensis. Trajan himself was just one of many well-known Ulpii in a line that continued long after his own death. His elder sister was Ulpia Marciana, and his niece was Salonina Matidia. The patria of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish Baetica. As a young man, he rose through the ranks of the Roman army, serving in some of the most contested parts of the Empire's frontier. In 76-77, Trajan's father was Governor of Syria (Legatus pro praetore Syriae), where Trajan himself remained as Tribunus legionis. From there, after his father's replacement, he seems to have been transferred to an unspecified Rhine province, and Pliny implies that he engaged in active combat duty during both commissions. In about 86, Trajan's cousin P. Aelius Afer died, leaving his young children Hadrian and Paulina orphans. Trajan and a colleague of his, Publius Acilius Attianus, became co-guardians of the two children.
In 91, Trajan was created ordinary Consul for the year, which was a great honour as he was in his late thirties and therefore just above the minimum legal age (32) for holding the post. This can be explained in part by the prominence of his father's career, as his father had been instrumental to the ascent of the ruling Flavian dynasty, held consular rank himself and had just been made a patrician.  Around this time Trajan brought Apollodorus of Damascus with him to Rome. And also married Pompeia Plotina, a noble woman from the Roman settlement at Nîmes; the marriage ultimately remained childless.Trajan wearing the civic crown and military garb such as a muscle cuirass, 2nd century AD, Antalya Archaeological Museum. It has been remarked by many authors (among them Trajan's late successor Julian) that Trajan was personally inclined towards homosexuality, far in excess of the usual bisexual activity that was common among upper class Roman men of the period. Although Julian's scathing comments on the matterreflect a change of mores that began with the Severan dynasty, an earlier author, Cassius Dio, already makes reference to Trajan's marked personal preference for the male sex. Trajan's putative lovers included Hadrian, pages of the imperial household, the actor Pylades, a dancer called Apolaustus, and senator Lucius Licinius Sura. As the details of Trajan's military career are obscure, it is only sure that in 89, as legate of Legio VII Gemina in Hispania Tarraconensis, he supported Domitian against an attempted coup. Later, after his 91 consulate (held with Acilius Glabrio, a rare pair of consuls at the time, in that neither consul was a member of the ruling dynasty), he held some unspecified consular commission as governor on either Pannonia or Germania Superior - possibly both. Pliny - who seems to deliberately avoid offering details that would stress personal attachment between Trajan and the "tyrant" Domitian - attributes to him, at the time, various (and unspecified) feats of arms. Since Domitian's successor, Nerva, was unpopular with the army and had just been forced by his Praetorian Prefect Casperius Aelianus to execute Domitian's killers, he felt the need to gain the support of the military in order to avoid being ousted. He accomplished this in the summer of 97 by naming Trajan as his adoptive son and successor, allegedly solely on Trajan's outstanding military merits.
There are hints, however, in contemporary literary sources that Trajan's adoption was imposed on Nerva. Pliny implied as much when he wrote that, although an emperor could not be coerced into doing something, if this were the way in which Trajan was raised to power, then it was worth it. If this was what actually occurred, Trajan would be a usurper, and the notion of a natural continuity between Nerva's and Trajan's reigns would be an ex post fiction developed later by historians such as Tacitus.According to the Augustan History, it was the future Emperor Hadrian who brought word to Trajan of his adoption. Hadrian was then retained on the Rhine frontier by Trajan as a military tribune, becoming privy to the circle of friends and relations with which Trajan surrounded himself - among them the then governor of Germania Inferior, the Spaniard Lucius Licinius Sura, who became Trajan's chief personal adviser and official friend. As a token of his influence, Sura would later become consul for the third time in 107.
Some ancient sources also tell about his having built a bath named after him on the Aventine Hill in Rome, or having this bath built by Trajan and then named after him, in either case a signal of honour as the only exception to the established rule that a public building in the capital could be dedicated only to a member of the imperial family. These baths were later expanded by the third century emperor Decius as a means of stressing his link to Trajan. Sura is also described as telling Hadrian in 108 about his selection as imperial heir. According to a modern historian, Sura's role as kingmaker and éminence grise was deeply resented by some senators, especially the historian Tacitus, who acknowledged Sura's military and oratory virtues but at the same time resented his rapacity and devious ways, similar to those of Vespasian's éminence grise Licinius Mucianus. As governor of Lower Germany during Nerva's reign, Trajan received the impressive title of Germanicus for his skillful management and rule of the volatile Imperial province.
When Nerva died on 27 January 98, Trajan succeeded to the role of emperor without any outward incident. However, the fact that he chose not to hasten towards Rome, but instead to make a lengthy tour of inspection on the Rhine and Danube frontiers, hints to the possible fact that his power position in Rome was unsure and that he had first to assure himself of the loyalty of the armies at the front.
It is noteworthy that Trajan ordered Prefect Aelianus to attend him in Germany, where he was apparently executed ("put out of the way"), with his post being taken by Attius Suburanus. Trajan's accession, therefore, could qualify more as a successful coup than an orderly succession. The traditional donative to the troops, however, was reduced by half. There remained the issue of the strained relations between the emperor and the Senate, especially after the supposed bloodiness that had marked Domitian's reign and his dealings with the Curia.
By feigning reluctance to hold power, Trajan was able to start building a consensus around him in the Senate.  His belated ceremonial entry into Rome in 99 was notably understated, something on which Pliny the Younger elaborated. By not openly supporting Domitian's preference for equestrian officers, Trajan appeared to conform to the idea (developed by Pliny) that an emperor derived his legitimacy from his adherence to traditional hierarchies and senatorial morals.Therefore, he could point to the allegedly republican character of his rule. In a speech at the inauguration of his third consulship, on 1 January 100, Trajan exhorted the Senate to share the care-taking of the Empire with him - an event later celebrated on a coin. In reality, Trajan did not share power in any meaningful way with the Senate, something that Pliny admits candidly: "[E]verything depends on the whims of a single man who, on behalf of the common welfare, has taken upon himself all functions and all tasks".
One of the most significant trends of his reign was his encroachment on the Senate's sphere of authority, such as his decision to make the senatorial provinces of Achaea and Bithynia into imperial ones in order to deal with the inordinate spending on public works by local magnates and the general mismanagement of provincial affairs by various proconsuls appointed by the Senate. In the formula developed by Pliny, however, Trajan was a "good" emperor in that, by himself, he approved or blamed the same things that the Senate would have approved or blamed. If in reality Trajan was an autocrat, his deferential behavior towards his peers qualified him to be viewed as a virtuous monarch. The whole idea was that Trajan wielded autocratic power through moderatio instead of contumacia - moderation instead of insolence.
In short, according to the ethics for autocracy developed by most political writers of the Imperial Roman Age, Trajan was a good ruler in that he ruled less by fear, and more by acting as a role model, for, according to Pliny, "men learn better from examples". Eventually, Trajan's popularity among his peers was such that the Roman Senate bestowed upon him the honorific of optimus, meaning "the best", which appears on coins from 105 on.  This title had mostly to do with Trajan's role as benefactor, such as in the case of him returning confiscated property. That Trajan's ideal role was a conservative one becomes evident from Pliny's works as well as from the orations of Dio of Prusa - in particular his four Orations on Kingship, composed early during Trajan's reign. Dio, as a Greek notable and intellectual with friends in high places, and possibly an official friend to the emperor (amicus caesaris), saw Trajan as a defender of the status quo.
In his third kingship oration, Dio describes an ideal king ruling by means of "friendship" - that is, through patronage and a network of local notables who act as mediators between the ruled and the ruler. Dio's notion of being "friend" to Trajan (or any other Roman emperor), however, was that of an informal arrangement, that involved no formal entry of such "friends" into the Roman administration. As a senatorial Emperor, Trajan was inclined to choose his local base of political support from among the members of the ruling urban oligarchies.
In the West, that meant local senatorial families like his own. In the East, that meant the families of Greek notables.
The Greeks, though, had their own memories of independence - and a commonly acknowledged sense of cultural superiority - and, instead of seeing themselves as Roman, disdained Roman rule. What the Greek oligarchies wanted from Rome was, above all, to be left in peace, to be allowed to exert their right to self-government i. To be excluded from the provincial government, as was Italy and to concentrate on their local interests.  This was something the Romans were not disposed to do as from their perspective the Greek notables were shunning their responsibilities in regard to the management of Imperial affairs - primarily in failing to keep the common people under control, thus creating the need for the Roman governor to intervene.
An excellent example of this Greek alienation was the personal role played by Dio of Prusa in his relationship with Trajan. Dio is described by Philostratus as Trajan's close friend, and Trajan as supposedly engaging publicly in conversations with Dio. Nevertheless, as a Greek local magnate with a taste for costly building projects and pretensions of being an important political agent for Rome,  Dio of Prusa was actually a target for one of Trajan's authoritarian innovations: the appointing of imperial correctores to audit the civic finances of the technically free Greek cities. The main goal was to curb the overenthusiastic spending on public works that served to channel ancient rivalries between neighboring cities. As Pliny wrote to Trajan, this had as its most visible consequence a trail of unfinished or ill-kept public utilities. Competition among Greek cities and their ruling oligarchies was mainly for marks of preeminence, especially for titles bestowed by the Roman emperor. Such titles were ordered in a ranking system that determined how the cities were to be outwardly treated by Rome. The usual form that such rivalries took was that of grandiose building plans, giving the cities the opportunity to vie with each other over extravagant, needless... Structures that would make a show. A side effect of such extravagant spending was that junior and thus less wealthy members of the local oligarchies felt disinclined to present themselves to fill posts as local magistrates, positions that involved ever-increasing personal expense. Roman authorities liked to play the Greek cities against one another - something of which Dio of Prusa was fully aware.
[B]y their public acts [the Roman governors] have branded you as a pack of fools, yes, they treat you just like children, for we often offer children the most trivial things in place of things of greatest worth... In place of justice, in place of the freedom of the cities from spoliation or from the seizure of the private possessions of their inhabitants, in place of their refraining from insulting you... Your governors hand you titles, and call you'first' either by word of mouth or in writing; that done, they may thenceforth with impunity treat you as being the very last! Last but not least, inordinate spending on civic buildings was not only a means to achieve local superiority, but also a means for the local Greek elites to maintain a separate cultural identity - something expressed in the contemporary rise of the Second Sophistic; this "cultural patriotism" acted as a kind of substitute for the loss of political independence, and as such was shunned by Roman authorities. As Trajan himself wrote to Pliny: These poor Greeks all love a gymnasium...They will have to content with one that suits their real needs. The first known corrector was charged with a commission "to deal with the situation of the free cities", as it was felt that the old method of ad hoc intervention by the Emperor and/or the proconsuls had not been enough to curb the pretensions of the Greek notables. Eventually, Dio gained for Prusa the right to become the head of the assize-district, conventus (meaning that Prusans did not have to travel to be judged by the Roman governor), but eleutheria (freedom, in the sense of full political autonomy) was denied. Statue of Trajan, Luna marble and Proconessian marble, 2nd century AD, from Ostia Antica. Eventually, it fell to Pliny, as imperial governor of Bithynia in 110 AD, to deal with the consequences of the financial mess wrought by Dio and his fellow civic officials.
"It's well established that [the cities' finances] are in a state of disorder", Pliny once wrote to Trajan, plans for unnecessary works made in collusion with local contractors being identified as one of the main problems.  One of the compensatory measures proposed by Pliny expressed a thoroughly Roman conservative position: as the cities' financial solvency depended on the councilmen's purses, it was necessary to have more councilmen on the local city councils. According to Pliny, the best way to achieve this was to lower the minimum age for holding a seat on the council, making it possible for more sons of the established oligarchical families to join and thus contribute to civic spending; this was seen as preferable to enrolling non-noble wealthy upstarts.Such an increase in the number of council members was granted to Dio's city of Prusa, to the dismay of existing councilmen who felt their status lowered. Also, according to the Digest, it was decreed by Trajan that when a city magistrate promised to achieve a particular public building, it was incumbent on his heirs to complete the building. Trajan ingratiated himself with the Greek intellectual elite by recalling to Rome many (including Dio) who had been exiled by Domitian, and by returning (in a process begun by Nerva) a great deal of private property that Domitian had confiscated. He also had good dealings with Plutarch, who, as a notable of Delphi, seems to have been favored by the decisions taken on behalf of his home-place by one of Trajan's legates, who had arbitrated a boundary dispute between Delphi and its neighboring cities. However, it was clear to Trajan that Greek intellectuals and notables were to be regarded as tools for local administration, and not be allowed to fancy themselves in a privileged position. As Pliny said in one of his letters at the time, it was official policy that Greek civic elites be treated according to their status as notionally free but not put on an equal footing with their Roman rulers. When the city of Apamea complained of an audit of its accounts by Pliny, alleging its "free" status as a Roman colony, Trajan replied by writing that it was by his own wish that such inspections had been ordered. Concern about independent local political activity is seen in Trajan's decision to forbid Nicomedia from having a corps of firemen If people assemble for a common purpose... For the same reason, judging from Pliny's letters it can also be assumed that Trajan and his aides were as much bored as they were alarmed by the claims of Dio and other Greek notables to political influence based on what they saw as their "special connection" to their Roman overlords. A revealing case-history, told by Pliny, tells of Dio of Prusa placing a statue of Trajan in a building complex where Dio's wife and son were buried - therefore incurring a charge of treason for placing the Emperor's statue near a grave. Trajan, however, dropped the charge. Nevertheless, while the office of corrector was intended as a tool to curb any hint of independent political activity among local notables in the Greek cities, the correctores themselves were all men of the highest social standing entrusted with an exceptional commission.
The post seems to have been conceived partly as a reward for senators who had chosen to make a career solely on the Emperor's behalf. Therefore, in reality the post was conceived as a means for "taming" both Greek notables and Roman senators.  It must be added that, although Trajan was wary of the civic oligarchies in the Greek cities, he also admitted into the Senate a number of prominent Eastern notables already slated for promotion during Domitian's reign by reserving for them one of the twenty posts open each year for minor magistrates (the vigintiviri). Such must be the case of the Galatian notable and "leading member of the Greek community" (according to one inscription) Gaius Julius Severus, who was a descendant of several Hellenistic dynasts and client kings.  Severus was the grandfather of the prominent general Gaius Julius Quadratus Bassus, consul in 105.Other prominent Eastern senators included Gaius Julius Alexander Berenicianus, a descendant of Herod the Great, suffect consul in 116. Trajan created at least fourteen new senators from the Greek-speaking half of the Empire, an unprecedented recruitment number that opens to question the issue of the "traditionally Roman" character of his reign, as well as the "Hellenism" of his successor Hadrian. But then Trajan's new Eastern senators were mostly very powerful and very wealthy men with more than local influence and much interconnected by marriage, so that many of them were not altogether "new" to the Senate. On the local level, among the lower section of the Eastern propertied, the alienation of most Greek notables and intellectuals towards Roman rule, and the fact that the Romans were seen by most such Greek notables as aliens, persisted well after Trajan's reign. One of Trajan's senatorial creations from the East, the Athenian Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a member of the Royal House of Commagene, left behind him a funeral monument on the Mouseion Hill that was later disparagingly described by Pausanias as "a monument built to a Syrian man".
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