Emperor Trajan (98-117AD) was the second of the “Five Good Emperors” and just the right emperor for the times. Outline map of the Roman Empire He expanded the empire further, he conquered the lands south-east of the Black sea and also succeeded in quelling the rebellious Dacians to whom Emperor Domitian had been paying a shameful ransom.
Trajan was also a great builder. He had a fabulous marble column, known as Trajan’s column erected in memory of the great and successful wars against the Dacians. The column is known as “Trajan’s column” and is still standing in Rome . The artistic quality of the sculpture around this amazing column is not the best but it is certainly “neo-realist” and as such tells us much of those events.
The column was stood in a new forum which he had built and within this forum a grandiose Roman library was built half of which contained documents in Latin and the other half in Greek. He also built a magnificent basilica, a triumphal arch and numerous statues adorned his forum. Throughout the empire he had new public buildings built such as theatres and baths. Bridges, roads and acqueducts were amplified and maintained.
Trajan was called “Optimus” by his people. He was a man of intellect as well as one of action and men of literature such as Pliny the younger and Plutarch were amongst his personal friends. He ensured that poor children were fed and assisted poor landowners to improve their properties through loans made at advantageous rates.