Who Was The Second Emperor Of Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome is renowned for its powerful emperors, legendary generals, and majestic monuments that stand as a lasting symbol of its greatness. The Second Emperor of Ancient Rome, Trajan, played an important role in the Roman Empire’s success and remains one of the most respected and well-known Roman rulers today. In this article, we look at Trajan’s remarkable life, his reign as emperor, and his impact on Roman culture and power.

Early Life and Family

Marcus Ulpius Traianus, better known as Trajan, was born in about 53 AD near the modern city of Seville in Spain. His family was of Italian noble descent, and his father, Marcus Ulpius Traianus, was a prominent senator and general in the Roman army under the reign of Vespasian, first emperor of the Flavian Dynasty. Trajan was a well-educated man, with a thorough knowledge of rhetoric, oratory and law, which helped him later in his career. When Vespasian died in 79 AD, Trajan received a position of substantial importance in the army: he was made commander of the Legio X Fretensis, in Judaea.

The Reign of Trajan

Trajan was adopted by the childless emperor Nerva, who was the first of the so-called Five Good Emperors, and made commander of the Praetorian Guard. Nerva died in 98 AD, and Trajan was unanimously declared emperor bymembers of the Senate. His reign was marked by peaceful government, military successes, restructuring of the justice system, and expansion of Roman territories. Trajan was also a great innovator and a protector of the Senate, often consulting it on major decisions. In terms of building monuments and creating works of art, Trajan has left a lasting legacy in the form of his famous bridge over the Danube, thePantheon, and the Arch of Trajan. During his reign, he also built roads and aqueducts, which improved economic and trade activity in the empire.

Achievements and Legacy

Under Trajan’s rule, the Roman Empire reached its largest size and the Empire began to show signs of stability and prosperity. Trajan was also a patron of the arts, sponsoring many monumental works and statues. He had great respect for the Senate and its members, and often consulted them when making major decisions. Trajan was known as a kind-hearted and compassionate ruler, as well as a military genius. His reign was especially beloved by the people of Rome, and he was widely seen as a peaceful emperor who brought about much needed stability to the empire.

Final Years

Trajan’s reign came to an end in 117 AD when he died in Cilicia while campaigning against the Parthians (now located in southern Armenia). He was deified soon after his death and his ashes were interned in Rome, where his famous column still stands as an iconic reminder of Rome’s golden age of emperors.


Trajan was one of the most successful, respected and loved emperors of ancient Rome. His reign marks one of Rome’s most prosperous eras and his legacy can still be seen in the monuments, roads and aqueducts which he built. He left behind a powerful example of how a great emperor can maintain stability and prosperity in a vast empire, and Trajan’s reign and legacy will continue to be celebrated for centuries to come.

Impact on Roman History

The reign of Trajan marked an important turning point in the history of Rome. Apart from its military and political successes and the enormous building projects he funded, he also enacted laws that drastically changed the way civil rights were administered and granted citizenship to an unprecedented number of people. These radical political changes would have long-lasting impacts on Roman legal and political systems and changed the concept of Roman citizenship forever.

Impact on Roman Culture

Trajan was a strong supporter of the arts and culture and commissioned architects, sculptors and painters to create works of art that have become iconic symbols of the peak of Roman culture, power and progress. Apart from his public works, Trajan was also an avid supporter of theatre, music, and the sciences which helped further develop Rome’s cultural heritage and ensure its place as one of the most advanced societies of its time.

Impact on Roman Military Might

Trajan was not only respected for his political reforms and public works, but also for his military achievements. He was an excellent military strategist and led successful campaigns in Dacia, Assyria and Parthia, vastly extending the boundaries of the Roman Empire. His military prowess further consolidated Rome’s power and made it the superpower of its time.

Impact on Modern World

The legacy of Trajan’s reign is still visible today, with many of his works of art, engineering and infrastructure still standing. His example of responsible and effective leadership has inspired world leaders and continues to be seen as a shining example of Roman rule and a model for governance in the modern world.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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