* For test – short answer question: A page or a page and a half
- Dates: from 27 BC onward – most will be on the reigns of the emperor (at least 2)
- focus on the handout
Cf. Chapter XXV up to p. 334.
SOURCES TO READ:
1. Trajan as a road-builder: no. 90 (p. 68) = 'CIL' 3.8267 ('ILS' 5863).
2. Trajan as a lawgiver: no. 288 (p. 241) = 'The Digest of Laws' 48.19.5 (Ulpian).
3. Trajan, Pliny the Younger and life in the provinces: no. 322 (pp. 284-6) = Pliny the Younger, 'Letters'
10.33 and 34.
4. Trajan, Pliny the Younger and the Christians: no. 447 (pp. 409-11) = Pliny the Younger, 'Letters' 10.96
5. Hadrian and slave-owners: no. 223 (p. 184) = 'Scriptores Historiae Augustae' (Aelius Spartianus, 'The
Life of Hadrian') 18.7-11.
6. Hadrian and the soldiers: no 305 (pp. 260-1) = 'ILS' 9134 and 2487.
PLACE NAMES AND OTHER GEOGRAPHICAL DETAILS TO BE ABLE TO LOCALIZE ON A MAP:
[IMAGE 1] On the map on the inside cover of your textbook: Tibur (modern Tivoli, city of the Latium).
[IMAGE 2] On the map on pp. 274-5: Italica (city of Baetica); Beneventum (city of Campania); Delphi (city
of Achaea); Sarmizegethusa (city of Dacia); Palmyra (city in the Syrian desert); Nisibis, Ctesiphon,
Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and Babylon (Parthian cities of Mesopotamia).
1. [IMAGE 3] NERVA (Marcus Cocceius Nerva), *emperor 96-98: Born in Narnia (mod. Narni in Umbria) in
35 or so. A friend of Nero and twice consul, in 71 with Vespasian as colleague and in 91 with Domitian as
colleague. Apart from that he seems not to have had any posting in the provinces and hardly any
military experience. He probably never married and had no children.
2. [IMAGE 4] TRAJAN (Marcus Ulpius Traianus), *emperor 98-117: Probably born in 53 at Italica (mod.
Santiponce, near Seville) in Spain. His father M. Ulpius Traianus had been governor of Baetica under
Nero, consul (probably in 70), twice governor of Syria (73-74 and 76-77), and finally governor of Asia (78-
79). Trajan's early career consisted mainly of military postings notably in Spain and in Syria. Consul in 91
and governor of Upper Germany in 97.
3. [IMAGE 5] HADRIAN (Publius Aelius Hadrianus), *emperor 117-138: Born perhaps also in Italica, but
more probably in Rome, on 24 January 76. His family, the Aelii, were among the earliest provincial
senators. At the death of his father, Trajan, his father's cousin, became his tutor. Quaestor in 101;
tribune of the plebs; legate of the First Legion Minerva in the Second Dacian War (105-6); governor of
Lower Pannonia and consul in 108; governor of Syria in 117.
CHRONOLOGY (*dates to remember). All the dates are AD:
*96: Death of Domitian, stabbed to death in his bedroom by an attendant (18 September). The
conspiracy included his wife, Domitia Longina, the two praetorian prefects, members of the palace and a
- Nerva, a 61-year old senator, is proclaimed emperor by the Senate (19 September).
- In November an assassination attempt is prevented.
97: Rebellion of the praetorians who asked for the punishment of Domitian's assassins. Nerva is forced to allow them to kill their former prefects together with several other conspirators and to give public
thanks for these executions (October).
- Adoption of Trajan, governor of Upper Germany, as son, heir designate and co-regent (28 October).
- [IMAGE 6] Completion and dedication of the Forum Transitorium (= 'The Passage-way Forum') aka
Forum of Nerva.
*98: Death of Nerva (27 January) from a violent attack of fever.
98-99: [IMAGES 7-8] En route for Rome, Trajan consolidates the frontiers of the Rhine and Upper
Danube, arriving in the city at some point between spring and autumn 99.
101-102: First Dacian War.
102: He celebrates a triumph in Rome and receives the surname 'Dacicus'/'Conqueror of the Dacians'.
- Beginning of the laying-out of the port of Ostia.
103: Division of Pannonia into Upper and Lower Pannonia (between 103 and 106).
105-106: Second Dacian War.
106: Capture of Sarmizegethusa and suicide of Decebalus; the city becomes a Roman colony ('Colonia
- Annexation of Arabia which becomes a Roman province (roughly present-day Jordan).
107: (Before 107) Law obliging senators to invest one third of their wealth in Italy.
- Dacia becomes a Roman province.
- Trajan celebrates a second triumph.
- Beginning of major public works in Rome (e.g., [IMAGES 9-10] Trajan's baths and Trajan's Forum).
c. 110: Break with the Parthians over succession to the throne of Armenia.
112: [IMAGES 11-14] Dedication of the Forum of Trajan.
113: [IMAGES 15-19] Dedication of Trajan's column: a celebration of Trajan's two Dacian Wars (AD 101-
102 and 105-106 respectively; 38 m. high with a 5 m. high statue of the emperor).
114-117: [IMAGE 20] Parthian War.
114: Invasion of Armenia which is annexed to Armenia Minor; Cappadocia becomes a Roman province.
- Campaign in northern Mesopotamia and capture of Nisibis.
- Trajan receives the title of 'Optimus Princeps'/'Best Leader'/'Best Prince'.
115-117: Jewish rebellion in Cyrenaica, Egypt, Judaea, Cyprus and Mesopotamia.
- Egypt experienced the most damage where the Jewish population attacked the Roman
- Jewish community is going to be nearly wiped out before the events of 114-117
116: Invasion of Babylonia. Capture of the cities of Seleucia, Ctesiphon and Babylon.
- Trajan reaches the Persian Gulf.
- Trajan receives the title 'Parthicus Maximus' /'Greatest Conqueror of the Parthians'.
*117: End of the Jewish revolt.
- Parthian counter-offensive. Victory of Trajan who, nonetheless, has to give up the idea of a permanent
Roman settlement in Assyria and Lower Mesopotamia.
- Hadrian becomes governor of Syria.
- *Trajan died of a stroke at Selinus (mod. Gazipasha) in Cilicia (8 or 9 August).
- *The army acclaimed Hadrian emperor (11 August).
- Trajan is the cousin of the father of Hadrian (also Spanish)
- [IMAGE 21] Abandonment of Trajan's eastern conquests.
118: [IMAGE 22] Hadrian arrives at Rome (9 July), after having visited Moesia and Pannonia.
- Work starts on the villa at Tibur (which will be finished in 133) and [IMAGES 23-31] the
Pantheon is rebuilt (originally built by Marcus Agrippa).
120: [IMAGE 32] Dacia is subdivided into two provinces, Upper and Lower.
121: Hadrian in Gaul.
- Re-inforcement of the Rhine and Danube frontiers (not one of expansion)/garrisons placed along the Rhine and Danube as well.
122: Travels through Upper Germany, Raetia, Noricum, Lower Germany (spring), Britain (summer), Gaul
and Narbonensis (fall), Spain (winter).
- [IMAGES 32-33] Beginning of Hadrian's Wall, running for 118 km. from Walls end-on-Tyne to
Bowness-on-Solway; the work will be finished by 126. Will not always be built in stone and was
not always a wall – there were garrisons in place instead at some points. Used to prevent large-
123: [IMAGE 34] Hadrian is in Syria where he inspects the Roman frontier.
- Visit to Cappadocia and Bithynia (winter).
124: Visit to Asia (Pergamum, Ephesus; spring-summer).
- Rhodes and then Greece (Athens, the Peloponnese and Delphi; fall-winter).
125: Return to Rome via Sicily.
126: Travels in Italy.
128: Hadrian goes to Sicily, Africa and, perhaps, Mauretania (or in 123?) (spring).
- Back to Rome for the summer, then Greece (Athens; fall-winter).
129: Hadrian spends the winter in Athens. Large-scale building works starts in this city (e.g., [IMAGES 35-
37] the Olympieion).
- [IMAGE 38] Visits Asia, Phrygia, Cappadocia, Cilicia (spring-summer). Stays in Antioch for the rest of the
130: Visits Palmyra, Arabia, Judaea (spring). Jerusalem becomes 'Colonia Aelia Capitolina'.
- Visits Egypt (summer-winter). [IMAGES 39-40] Death of Hadrian's favorite, Antinous/Antinoos, and
foundation of the city of Antinoopolis (30 October).
- Antinous is deified by creating cities and statues dedicated to him
131: [IMAGE 41] Travels through Syria, Asia (spring), Thrace, Media, Dacia, Macedonia (summer-fall),
132: Return to Rome.
132-135: Jewish revolt in Judaea known as that of Bar Kochba.
134: Jerusalem is recaptured.
135: End of the Jewish revolt. Judaea becomes the province of Syria-Palestine.
136: Starts of Hadrian's illness. Adoption of Hadrian's friend, Lucius Ceionius Commodus, who becomes
Lucius Aelius Caesar.
*138: Death of Lucius Aelius Caesar (1 January). Adoption of Titus Aurelius Antoninus (the future
ANTONINUS PIUS), who himself adopts Lucius Ceionus Commodus (son of L. Aelius Caesar, a 7-year old
boy born in 130 AD, later called LUCIUS VERUS) and Marcus Annius Verus (the future MARCUS
AURELIUS, a 17-year old boy, born in 121 AD; his grandfather was a relative of Hadrian).
- [IMAGE 42] *Death of Hadrian at Baiae on the bay of Naples (10 July). [IMAGES 43-44] Hadrian's ashes
together with those of his wife Sabina Augusta (died in AD 136 or 137) were buried in the Mausoleum of
Hadrian (mod. Castel S. Angelo). This monument, started in the 120s, was completed by Antoninus Pius
in AD 139. Most of the Antonine and Severian emperors, their wives and immediate families found their
resting place there, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in AD 217.
- Main problem was who his successor was going to be: adopted Marcus Aurellius, and then
another before him who was Lucius but both were too young to reign. Antonius becomes
emperor and is forced to adopt the former two children so that they can one day be emperor.
POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND:
- What recommended him to the conspirators was his status as a noble, his double tenure of the consulship and his involvement in court politics since the reign of Nero. Probably also his age (61-year
old when he became emperor), his lack of children and, in a way, of ambition.
- idea that he wouldn’t be able to reign for a long time which gave an opportunity for future
successors – he would not create a dynasty
- an emperor of transition
- His qualities:
a. He formed good relations with the Senate.
b. He came up with some excellent ideas in agrarian and fiscal areas which were continued by his
successor: e.g., his building of granaries in Rome or his move to buy up land for distribution to the
poorest citizen. He may have been the initiator of the alimentary scheme that aimed at providing funds
for the maintenance of poor children in rural Italy, although major responsibility for its execution
probably lay with Trajan.
- The assassination attempt in November 96 gave Nerva the opportunity to demonstrate his clemency
(mercy – as he forgave them for plotting to kill them which gained him more support). However, it also
exposed the fragility of Nerva's position, an emperor with no heir designate.
- The rebellion of the praetorians in October 97, demanding the execution of Domitian's murderers, was
a humiliation for Nerva. He was forced to allow them to kill their former prefect together with several
conspirators and to give public thanks for these executions, thus losing his prestige since he had
promised when he became emperor never to put to death a senator before he was condemned by a
senatorial court (he became to be seen as a weak and highly influenced emperor). His answer to that
was to adopt as son, successor and co-regent Trajan, the governor of Upper Germany. It was a choice
justified by the fact that he knew and had confidence in the man, but also because Trajan was a well-
known military man and as such had the respect of the whole Roman army.
- Nerva died of illness a few months later on 28 January 98. His death marks an important point in the
development of the empire, since he was the last emperor born in Italy.
- The first emperor who was not an Italian (he was Spanish).
- [IMAGE 45] Under him the Empire will reach its largest extension.
- [IMAGE 46] Daci