Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Trajanus) trāˈjən [key], c.a.d. 53–a.d. 117, Roman emperor (a.d. 98–a.d. 117). Born in Spain, he was the first non-Italian to become head of the empire. Trajan served in the East, in Germany, and in Spain. He was adopted in a.d. 97 by Emperor Nerva, who died shortly afterward. A capable man, Trajan set about strengthening his regime by embarking on an aggressive foreign policy. In two wars against Dacia he brought that region, the parent of modern Romania, under Roman control. This conquest is commemorated by the sculptured Trajan's Column, which stands in the Forum of Trajan in Rome. Trajan then annexed Arabia Petraea, and in three campaigns he conquered the greater part of the Parthian empire, including Armenia and Upper Mesopotamia. On his way home from this campaign, he died in Cilicia. He was succeeded by Hadrian. Trajan was an able military organizer and civic administrator. He partially drained the Pontine Marshes and restored the Appian Way, and at Rome he built an aqueduct, a theater, and the immense Forum of Trajan, containing basilicas and libraries.

See F. A. Lepper, Trajan's Parthian War (1948); L. Rossi, Trajan's Column and the Dacian Wars (1972).

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