Trajan, Emperor of Rome (A.D. 98-117), was born at Italica in Spain on the 18th of September, in the year 53 and died on the 7th August, in the year 117. He was descended from an old Roman family, and was adopted in 97 by the Emperor Nerva. Trajan was one of the ablest of the Roman emperors; he was stately and majestic in appearance, had a powerful will, and showed admirable consideration and a chivalrous kindliness. He gained a large amount of territory for the empire and laid the foundations of civilization all over the provinces by the founding of municipal communities. He established order on the borders of the Rhine, built the larger part of the boundary wall (limes) between Roman and Germanic territory from the Danube to the Rhine, and with great determination led two campaigns (101-2 and 105-7) against the Dacian king, Decebalus, whose country he converted into a new province of the empire. In his internal administration Trajan was incessantly occupied in encouraging commerce and industries. The harbour of Ancona was enlarged and new harbours and roads were constructed. Numerous stately ruins in and around Rome give proof of this emperor's zeal in erecting buildings for public purposes. The chief of these is the immense Forum Trajanum, which in size and splendour casts the forums of the other emperors into the shade. In the middle of the great open space was the colossal equestrian statute of Trajan; the free area itself was surrounded by rows of columns and niches surmounted by high arches. At the end of the structure was the Bibliotheca Ulpia, in the court of which stood the celebrated Trajan's Column with its reliefs representing scenes in the Dacian wars. Later Hadrian built a temple to the deified Trajan at the end of the Forum towards the Campus Martius. Art and learning flourished during Trajan's reign. Among his literary contemporaries were Tacitus, Juvenal, and the younger Pliny with whom the emperor carried on an animated correspondence.
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