Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus Augustus, or better known as Trajan, was born at Italica, in Spain, on September 18, 53 AD. Of Italian stock himself, Trajan is frequently but misleadingly designated the first provincial emperor. Trajan was the son of Marcia and Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a prominent senator and general from Ulpia. 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, where their ancestors had settled late in the 3rd century BC. As a young man, he rose through the ranks of the Roman army, serving in some parts of the Empire's frontier. In 77 AD, Trajan's father was Governor of Syria, where Trajan himself remained as Tribunus legionis. Trajan was nominated as Consul and brought Apollodorus of Damascus with him to Rome around 91 AD. Along the Rhine River, he took part in the Emperor Domitian's wars while under Domitian's successor, Nerva, who was unpopular with the army and needed to do something to gain their support. He accomplished this by naming Trajan as his adoptive son and successor in 97 AD. According to the Augustan History, it was Hadrian who brought word to Trajan of his adoption. When Nerva died on January 27, 98 AD, the respected Trajan succeeded him without question.
He is known for carrying out the Roman Empire’s greatest territorial extent through his conquests in the East. Trajan also set up cash subsidies to help raise poor children and is well known for his building projects. Many of his buildings were created by the talented architect Apollodorus of Damascus. Important structures include Trajan's Column, Trajan's Forum, Trajan's Bridge, Alcantara Bridge, the road and canal around the Iron Gates, and possibly the Alconetar Bridge. In 101, he carried out the invasion of Dacia that Domitian had been forced to abandon by Decebalus....
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