Trajan

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Marcus Ulpius Nerva Trajanus Augustus (Trajan, A.D. 53 – A.D. 117) was a Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD and the second of the Five Good Emperors. He was adopted by Nerva and was succeeded by Hadrian. During his reign he oversaw a rigorous program of building projects and showed toleration in areas where many other Emperors would not. When Pliny the Younger asked Trajan in 112 what was to be done with Christians, Trajan responded to be leniant. Under Trajan the Roman Empire reached the pinnacle of its expansion near the end of his reign when a war with Parthia led him to conquer land east of the Euphrates river. He also reached the Persian Gulf. A Judean revolt in 117 led to harsh response as did an uprising in his newly conquered lands. He died before he could prosecute the war further. His military conquests had no meaningful longterm impact.

Traditionally, Trajan is often cited as a paradigm of the just ruler. For example, in Dante's Paradiso, he is included in Dante's list of the six most virtuous rulers. Among Roman Emperors, only he and Constantine the Great have this distinction.

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