Marcus Ulpius Traianus (53-117 CE) was born in Italica, in what is now Spain. His family had settled there long before, but his father was the first to endeavour on a senatorial career.

Trajan had an destinguished military career and was stationed in various parts of the empire. During this time he became guardian for Hadrian, later to become his successor. Trajan was appointed governor of Upper Germany by Nerva in 97, and later adopted by Nerva as his son and successor. This would set the pattern for a series of adoptive emperors, chosen for their abilities, and the period is often referred to as the Five Good Emperors.

Trajan conquered Dacia for the Roman Empire, further added the Arabian Peninsula and defeated the Parthian Empire, bringing the empire to its largest extent ever.

He died of sickness in 117 after the end of the Parthian War. On his deadbed he adopted Hadrian as son and heir.


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