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Trajan comes to Power

Contributed by David Verne

After Nerva dies from a stroke on January 27th, Trajan travels to Rome from his post along the Rhine. When he enters Rome, he does so walking, without ceremony, and wearing common clothes. This wins over the people, and the Senate realizes that he is someone they can work with. Trajan defers to them in a speech and appears to turn back to the principate method of rule, as one man among equals. In reality, he was as much of an autocrat as Domitian, but unlike Domitian, Trajan was respectful towards the Senate and sought their approval for new policies even though they didn't actually have a say.

Trajan keeps a close eye on the budget and manages to maintain a balanced budget without additional taxes. He also cements the welfare reforms that Nerva had enacted. These reforms would give loans to farmers, and these loans would be paid back over time which funded the grain dole in Rome. He also greatly reduced the massive central bureaucracy created by Domitian and relied instead on his provincial governors. Trajan understood that the governors had a much better idea of the unique needs of the people in their province. He had no intention of micromanaging his governors, and when they wrote to him asking his opinion on a policy, he would politely tell them to figure it out for themselves. [1]

My Take by David Verne
Trajan cementing his rule in Rome was part of his larger plan to go to war with Dacia. The Dacian king, Decebalus, has spent the years since the last war well, using the yearly Roman tribute to build a large fortification network throughout the mountains. Decebalus has also exploited Dacia's large deposits of gold, silver, and iron to build a massive army with a possible 200,000 warriors that could be raised. Trajan didn't have a problem with Dacia's independence; the problem was that Decebalus continued to act hostile towards Rome.

See Also


  1. Duncan, Mike (January 10, 2010). 79- The Dacian Wars.

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