Trajan was a Roman ruler who was known for his exceptional military abilities and his philanthropic work during his reign from 98 to 117. He was awarded the title of Senate "Optimus Princeps" or "best ruler".
He was born in Italica, Spain, to a noble father. Marcus Cocceius Nerva ruled the great empire in 96 AD. However, it was very unpopular with the general public and court officials. Without a single child to succeed him, he was forced to choose Trajan as his successor. When Trajan ascended the throne, the kingdom progressed by building several institutions that proved to be a boon to the general public. Moreover, his military campaigns contributed to his celebrity status. He conquered Dacia and launched three military invasions. Thus, under his rule, the Roman Empire reached its peak. Trajan carried out many other social and political reforms that made him popular in his rival kingdoms as well. After a successful reign that lasted 19 years, Trajan died of an unknown disease. His adopted son, Hadrian, succeeded him.
Trajan was born as Marcus Ulpius Traianus, on September 18, 53 AD. His birthplace, Hispania Baetica, is part of present-day Spain. He was the first Roman emperor to be born outside of Italy. He belonged to a prominent noble family in the province of Hispania.
Trajan's mother Marcia was a Roman noblewoman and daughter-in-law of the Roman emperor Titus. Trajan's father was the governor of Syria.
Trajan began military training very early in life. As a teenager, he worked in the military under his father's command. The Roman emperor Domitian, who was otherwise known to be ruthless, was kind to Trajan because he understood his abilities.
In 89, Trajan set out for the Rhine to help Domitian fight the German rebel governor Saturninus. Although the battle was won even before Trajan arrived on the battlefield, Domitian still decided to honor him. He was decorated with parts of praetors and parts of consuls.
He succeeded his stepfather Nerva to the throne and ruled from 98 until his death in 117. He based his rule on military force and securing borders, especially the eastern ones. In numerous military campaigns, he captured Dacia, the Nabatean Empire in Arabia, Armenia, and Mesopotamia all the way to the Persian Gulf. he is called the first provincial emperor of the Roman Empire.
Unlike his predecessors, his personality will remain known throughout the Middle Ages until today, and therefore he is one of the few historical figures from the ancient world who has retained his fame, that is, has not fallen into historical oblivion.
Despite the massive respect he received from the Senate, far from earning the title of absolute ruler, Trajan continued to prove himself by introducing several new reforms in society. He ordered the construction of several roads, public baths and new bridges. He also facilitated business processes for Rome by building a modern port in Ostia.
He freed many prisoners and called the exiles again. This earned him much respect and his kingdom prospered. Historians often mention him as a thoughtful ruler. However, Trajan's real passion was war.
During his reign which lasted 19 years, Trajan took part in several wars. The three most talked about were two wars with the Dacians and one on the eastern border.
In 117 AD the revolution spread to Egypt and Cyprus. Soon the revolt reached the northern frontiers and Trajan was forced to retreat to Rome. However, he never returned it. During the journey back, he became seriously ill and died on August 9, 117. His body was returned to Rome, and his cremation took place according to Roman rituals. His body was cremated and buried in 'Trajan's Column'.
Trajan was known as a just ruler and a noble man. Centuries have passed and historians have yet to find any evidence to suggest that he committed any evil deed.
Trajan never had children of his own, and after his death he was succeeded by his adopted son Hadrian.