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Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano that he be "luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan". Among medieval Christian theologians, Trajan was considered a virtuous pagan.
An account of the Dacian Warsthe Commentarii de bellis Daciciswritten by Trajan himself or a ghostwriter and modelled after Caesar 's Commentarii de Bello Gallicois lost with the exception of one sentence. Both are adulatory perorationstypical of the late Roman era, that describe an idealized monarch and an equally idealized view of Trajan's rule, and concern themselves more with ideology than with actual fact.
Although frequently designated the first provincial emperor, and dismissed by later writers such as Cassius Dio himself of provincial origin as "an Iberian, and neither an Italian nor even an Italiot", Trajan appears to have hailed on his father's side from the area of Tuder modern Todi in Umbriaat the border with Etruriaand on his mother's side from the Gens Marciaof an Italic family of Sabine origin.
It is possible, but cannot be substantiated, that Trajan's ancestors married local women and lost their citizenship at some point, but they certainly recovered their status when the city became a municipium with Latin citizenship in the mid-1st century BC. His elder sister was Ulpia Marcianaand his niece was Salonina Matidia.
As a young man, he rose through the ranks of the Roman armyserving in some of the most contested parts of the Empire's frontier.
From there, after his father's replacement, he seems to have been transferred to an unspecified Rhine province, and Pliny implies that he engaged in active combat duty during both commissions. Aelius Afer died, leaving his young children Hadrian and Paulina orphans.
Trajan and a colleague of his, Publius Acilius Attianusbecame co-guardians of the two children. This can be explained in part by the prominence of his father's career, as his father had been instrumental to the ascent of the ruling Flavian dynastyheld consular rank himself and had just been made a patrician.
Although Julian's scathing comments on the matter  reflect a change of mores that began with the Severan dynasty an earlier author, Cassius Dio, already makes reference to Trajan's marked personal preference for the male sex.
Trajan's putative lovers included Hadrianpages of the imperial household, the actor Pylades, a dancer called Apolaustus, Lucius Licinius Suraand Nerva. He accomplished this in the summer of 97 by naming Trajan as his adoptive son and successor, allegedly solely on Trajan's outstanding military merits.
Pliny implied as much when he wrote that, although an emperor could not be coerced into doing something, if this were the way in which Trajan was raised to power, then it was worth it.
If this was what actually occurred, Trajan would be a usurper, and the notion of a natural continuity between Nerva's and Trajan's reigns would be an ex post fiction developed later by historians such as Tacitus.
Some ancient sources also tell about his having built a bath named after him on the Aventine Hill in Rome, or having this bath built by Trajan and then named after him, in either case a signal of honour as the only exception to the established rule that a public building in the capital could be dedicated only to a member of the imperial family.
However, the fact that he chose not to hasten towards Rome, but instead to make a lengthy tour of inspection on the Rhine and Danube frontiers, hints to the possible fact that his power position in Rome was unsure and that he had first to assure himself of the loyalty of the armies at the front.
It is noteworthy that Trajan ordered Prefect Aelianus to attend him in Germanywhere he was apparently executed "put out of the way" with his post being taken by Attius Suburanus.
The traditional donative to the troops, however, was reduced by half. By feigning reluctance to hold power, Trajan was able to start building a consensus around him in the Senate.
Dio, as a Greek notable and intellectual with friends in high places, and possibly an official friend to the emperor amicus caesarissaw Trajan as a defender of the status quo. In the West, that meant local senatorial families like his own.
In the East, that meant the families of Greek notables. Dio is described by Philostratus as Trajan's close friend, and Trajan as supposedly engaging publicly in conversations with Dio.
As Pliny wrote to Trajan, this had as its most visible consequence a trail of unfinished or ill-kept public utilities. Such titles were ordered in a ranking system that determined how the cities were to be outwardly treated by Rome.
According to Pliny, the best way to achieve this was to lower the minimum age for holding a seat on the council, making it possible for more sons of the established oligarchical families to join and thus contribute to civic spending; this was seen as preferable to enrolling non-noble wealthy upstarts.
He also had good dealings with Plutarchwho, as a notable of Delphiseems to have been favored by the decisions taken on behalf of his home-place by one of Trajan's legates, who had arbitrated a boundary dispute between Delphi and its neighboring cities.
Concern about independent local political activity is seen in Trajan's decision to forbid Nicomedia from having a corps of firemen "If people assemble for a common purpose Trajan, however, dropped the charge.Marcus Ulpius Traianus was born on 18 September 53 AD in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica (in what is now Andalusia in modern Spain), in the city of Italica (now in the municipal area of Santiponce, in the outskirts of Seville).Although frequently designated the first provincial emperor, and dismissed by later writers such as .
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