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Former good article nominee Trajan was a History good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
March 15, 2015 Good article nominee Not listed
March 31, 2016 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former good article nominee

So much for "weak eyes"[edit]

Small caps in transcribing inscriptions look better and are precisely the same size as regular minuscule.

>He was born on September 18, 66 A.D, in the city of Italica. When he became >emperor 45 years later, he thus became the first Roman Emperor not born in >Italy....

alejandra was here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

--- Trajan's "provincial family," the Ulpii, was originally from Italy and settled in Spain not long after the Second Punic War. They had been active in Roman politics for centuries, and I doubt anyone thought too much about Trajan being born outside Italy when he became Emperor. It was no different than if a U.S. President born in California came to Washington to begin his term. No one would say that was "bad" because California wasn't part of the U.S. until 1846.

Trajan's family was active in Roman politics for centuries after his reign, as well. Aurelian's wife was a member of that family. John

Is this appropriate: "While many consider Trajan to be an example of how Rome accepted the ideals from all over the empire, many consider the rise of a Spaniard to the top of Roman politics to be the beginning of the fall of true 'Roman' society. Wouldn't it be more informative instead to mention how utterly Romanized Hispania Baetica was? --Wetman 04:15, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

As per the discussion here, I'm going to remove the sentence until someone can produce a reference stating its significance. For one thing, Claudius was not "Italian", he was Roman, which is quite a different thing. For another, this idea that Trajan came from an extra-Roman "foreign" provincial family, regardless of where they'd lived for the past century or so, is simply inaccurate, as another poster has already pointed out. Binabik80 18:26, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


In the historical context of this article, is it really appropriate to link "Persia" to Iran? -- Jmabel | Talk 06:31, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)

The Roman enemy beyond the Tigris at this point were the Parthians.--Wetman 04:15, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"Gate of Trajan" or "Trajan's Gate"[edit]

The article on John Hunyadi mentions this place (and has a link to it):

Hunyadi, at the head of the vanguard, crossed the Balkans through the Gate of Trajan, captured Nish, defeated three Turkish pashas, and, after taking Sofia, united with the royal army and defeated Murad II at Snaim.

Could anyone tell me where this gate lies? Adam78 13:03, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC) Maybe there are the IRON GATES the place where the Tajan Bridge wasCristianChiritaGa

It is the so called "iron gate." . It is (was) a deep, tight valley where the danube river passes. It is after the Danube has passed

Belgrade. Trajan conquered it out of logistic necessity before he started the first dacian war. He built a road alongside the Danube river passing the so called iron gate. He had to construct the road in form of a balcony into the rock. User: Primitivus; 23:55; 24. Dec.2007 (CEST)

Major anon uncited additions[edit]

Recently, someone anonymously added enormous content to this article, without citing a single source. This was way beyond what someone would know offhand. Please, anonymous contributor, if you are reading this, add some indication of your sources!

Meanwhile, if this is not clarified: could someone who knows this area better than me please have a look and tell us if this looks like probable copyvio or not? -- Jmabel | Talk June 29, 2005 05:54 (UTC)

It´s a clear copyright violation, see: Parthian war and other sections were simply copied. I have make a Revert to Wetman, 25. June.

There is some wrong historical information[edit]

As I know, Trajan never conquered Dacia completely, I think he conquered something like 15 - 20 %, winning the wars because he took the capital and split the country. But Dacia was not conquered completely and was not part of the Roman Empire.

The romans destroyed the dacian kingdom, althoug, didn't conquer all the ancient territory of the dacians, they took the main and best regions and for two centuries Dacia was roman province, with many roman colonies, very important for the Empire because her gold mines. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13 Jan 2006

While it is true that Trajan didn't completely conquer Dacia and that its gold mines were valuable, after the death of Constantine the Great the Romans pulled out of Dacia and never returned. The constant invasions of Gothic tribes was to much for the Roman army too handle. --Sgusm (talk) 17:36, 10 September 2010 (UTC)


Recently added: "Dio Cassius reports that Trajan drank heavily and was a pederast, but in his relations with boys he harmed no one." Probably accurate, a citation would be nice, but why quote Dio Cassius on this relatively minor matter and not on (what I remember from maybe 30 years ago to be) his wide-ranging praise of Trajan? Or do I mis-remember? -- Jmabel | Talk 01:37, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

  • My reading of this passage is that it is supportive of Trajan, rather than deprecatory. As for this being minor, I think that is a matter of opinion. I think it is quite important, it humanizes the man and also counters the tendency of modern writing to depict the ancients, or any alien topic, in a light making them seem "just like us." Haiduc 03:06, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Small Head[edit]

At the beginning of the article say "He has an abnormally small head."

Well i think that in the statue he can look so, but, i think that there is no other source about this. Can be vandalism in the article?

-Fco —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 10 November 2006.

Ten Jewish Martyrs[edit]

Anyone know anything about Trajan being the Caesar during the incident of the Ten Martyrs? Valley2city 20:05, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

No, this event took place supposedly during the Jewish revolt of 70AD. But there are discrepanceies as the article about the Ten Martyrs names Shimon ben Gamliel as one of them and he was executed in 70AD as well as a Rabbi Akiva who died circa 135AD. In 70AD Vespasian was emperor. The question remains wether it was Vespasian or his son Titus who are meant by this story. And in 135 Hadrian was emperor and Trajan was already dead for 18 years. As the story most likely took place during the First Jewish-Roman War, Hadrian seems unlikely and Trajan impossible. -- fdewaele, 28 November 2006, 20:10

Reading the wikipedia article on the Hebrew Calendar, I came across this reference to Trajan:

Alexandrian Jewish calendar

The Ethiopic Christian computus (used to calculate Easter) describes in detail a Jewish calendar which must have been used by Alexandrian Jews near the end of the third century. These Jews formed a relatively new community in the aftermath of the annihilation (by murder or enslavement) of all Alexandrian Jews by Emperor Trajan at the end of the 115–117 Kitos War. Their calendar used the same epacts in nineteen year cycles that were to become canonical in the Easter computus used by almost all medieval Christians, both those in the Latin West and the Hellenist East. Only those churches beyond the eastern border of the Byzantine Empire differed, changing one epact every nineteen years, causing four Easters every 532 years to differ. [Emphasis Added]

But when I read the entry on Trajan, I find no mention of this. Is the accuracy of that statement disputed?

All thoughts appreciated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:21, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Much vandalized[edit]

So are, like, 90% of the edits to this article in the last few months either vandalism or reversion of vandalism? Or is it even more than that? - Jmabel | Talk 06:15, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


Isn't the inclusion in Category:Andalusian people anachronistic? This would be like including Immanuel Kant as Russian because Königsberg is now Russian Kaliningrad, or calling King David a Palestinian. - Jmabel | Talk 23:06, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Hadrian's bringing of the adoption news[edit]

In fact, Hadrian was not, according to the sources, the one to bring Traian news of his adoption. He wanted to very much and tried to, but was stopped by various people who were out to get him. There was something about sabotage to his chariot I believe. This is according to Suetonius, whom I suspect is usually wrong, but it's the information that exists, so the wikipedia article should reflect that. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:17, 29 April 2007 (UTC).

I suspect you're thinking of the life of Hadrian in the Historia Augusta, which reports that Servianus attempted to delay Hadrian from delivering the news and that Hadrian's chariot was sabotaged, but that Hadrian still got to Trajan first on foot (2.5–6). Ronald Syme (Tacitus, pp. 600–601) thinks that the story comes from Hadrian's autobiography and was intended to justify the later execution of Servianus. EALacey 17:53, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I must agree, all signs point to generally untrustworthy statements as being eminently useless from the Historia Augusta. I have actually just read a reference to this story in "The Limits of Empire" by B. Isaac. This sort of anecdote surely falls into that category. Lazarus Plus (talk) 22:46, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Tiny freaking head[edit]

Good gods, he's got such a tiny head! It's disturbingly freaky! Was that how his head was in history? Someone should start a section in his article about his tiny head! —Preceding unsigned comment added by AndarielHalo (talkcontribs) 01:13, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Since when does the apparently small size of a historical figure's head have any significance? Trajan was one of the more respected Roman Emperors, so why the random talk about the size of his skull?

AndyB66 (talk) 23:08, 22 September 2010 (UTC)AndyB66

Selinus in Cilicia or Sicilia, please check[edit]

According to Mary Boatwright (in A. Barrett, ed., Lives of the Caesars, Blackwell, Oxford, 2008, p. 161), Trajan died in Gazipaşa (Selinus, Selinti, in Turkey, ancient Cilicia), not in the well-known Sicilian Selinus. Please check. --Lionni (talk) 15:34, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Selinus, the site of Trajan's death, was in Cilicia on the south-eastern coast of present day Turkey. See Julian Bennett, Trajan, Optimus Princeps (Bloominton, 1997) pg. 202. The city built a temple dedicated to Trajan and it appeared on their coinage under the emperor Septimius Severus, see Henry C. Lindgren, Lindgren III, Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: The Lindgren Collection (Berkeley, 1994) pg 99, coin A906a.

On another matter, note 7 of the Trajan article has two errors. "Mexicans" are mentioned as traveling with the commander Fuscus. "Lanas" are mentioned and I can find no reference to who they were. Rareanniversary (talk) 21:55, 26 April 2009 (UTC)


Is there some truth to the legend that Trajan's ashes were removed or stolen from Trajan's Column by some Spanish ambassador and taken to the Casa de Pilatos palace in Seville near his natal Italica? --Error (talk) 02:26, 23 March 2009 (UTC)


Just wondering how this name is pronounced. If he was from Spain, which speaks spanish, wouldn't the "J" in the middle of the name make the "H" sound? So it would sound like the last name Trahan? Just a thought. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

You're joking, right? The Spanish language did not exist in the 2nd century AD, along with French, German, English, Italian, etc. The Romans spoke Latin, if this was not painfully obvious to you before. "Trajan" is simply an Anglicization of his name; in Latin it is TRAIANVS (pronounced: Tray-ee-ah-noose), with no J, since this letter did not exist in the Latin Alphabet of the Roman period. Hope that clears this up.--Pericles of AthensTalk 18:14, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Trajan's origins[edit]

With Trajan becoming the first non-Italic Emperor,due you think that this marks a turning in the Roman mindset of what it means to be Roman? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nichhowsy (talkcontribs) 22:13, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Trajan's origins (edit)[edit]

Trajan's origins

With Trajan becoming the first non-Italic Emperor,due you think that this marks a turning in the Roman mindset of what it means to be Roman?Nichhowsy (talk) 22:16, 22 September 2010 (UTC) Nichhowsy

While the TP is not a forum, the short answer is "no" - he came from a solid Roman colonial family. It didn't matter that he was not born in Italy. HammerFilmFan (talk) 00:45, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

I would say that it has a lot to do with Hispania's eventual massive rise in influence within the empire(important writers and many senatorial families had centuries-old ties to Hispania). Additionally, when it comes to his ancestry only his mother is known to be fully Italian, ethnically speaking. His father is known to be born and raised in Hispania. His paternal grandfather had some distant Italian ancestry but how many of his paternal ancestors are actually Italian is not known. For example, the homeland of his paternal grandmother is a big question mark. With these pieces of his ancestry puzzle missing it can only be stated that he's of partial Italian origins. However, the fact that he was born and raised in Italica makes Trajan ethnically Hispanic in the same sense that the Latin writer Martial is. Until it is proven that his ancestry is completely Italian, he cannot be considered of Italian stock.Aesthetics101 (talk) 02:55, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Wrong Selinus in the article.[edit]

Trajan did not die in Selinus/Selinunte, Sicily. He died in Selinus, current Gazipasa, some 40km south-east of Alanya, Turkey. That settlement was later renamed Trajanopolis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andershl (talkcontribs) 21:42, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Romanization of Dacia = Formation of the Romanian people - no word about it?[edit]

There are 5 nations and languages with strong and direct roots from the Roman Empire: Italians, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanians. The conquest of Dacia by Trajan, marks the birth of the Romanians as a people. The article makes no mention about the Romanization of Dacia which lead to the formation of the Romanian people on that territory. Is this omission intentional and if yes, why? Thewallachian (talk) 17:49, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Because that's completely wrong. The Romanian people have their roots in the Vlachs and the nation formed in the Middle Ages. HammerFilmFan (talk) 00:44, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Trajan (Traian) as Hadrain![edit]

I would just like to think the person responsible for indicating the possibility that the visage of Trajan might well have been continued by an imposter! Certainly, the common belief that Hadrian was a native of "Adraini"?, or some other nearby place is wrong? Was the "Adraitic" Sea, named for either? And going deep into the well, could one well consider that "Adrian" was the correct form for both or one? (talk) 20:33, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Ronald L. Hughes

Legacy section is unbalanced ...[edit]

When I get some time I can cite many references that punch wholes in Trajan's reputation. While an excellent administrator, he wasted valuable resources in Mesopotamia that could have been used to much better effect elsewhere, for example. He did not handle the Jewish trouble well at all, nor did he set up for a successor that could, either - whatever Hadrian's other qualities might have been. HammerFilmFan (talk) 00:05, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

I would like to see those references that assess Trajan negatively. Yes we all know his eastern conquests were a failure. Yet, he was the first emperor to bring Persia to it's knees, plus he conquered Dacia. The Jews rebelled regularly during that period of Roman history and the issues at hand could hardly be blamed on Trajan. The concept of "resources could have been spent elsewhere" is also hollow. Expansion into Mesopotamia was the last truly profitable region into which the empire could expand. Trajan simply bit off more than he could chew. If anything the idleness of the empire between 117 and the early 160s hurt more in the long run. In retrospect we know it would have served the empire better if Trajan sought to achieve limited, realistic objectives in his eastern war, such as sacking Ctesiphon then settling on the Tigris how Severus and Diocletian did.--Tataryn77 (talk) 06:29, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
You are clearly not a professional historian from those remarks. Also, OR is not permitted here. HammerFilmFan (talk) 02:12, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
You clearly did not refute anything I said. However, I do think It would be great to see a more varied view here on the repercussions of Trajan's policies.--Tataryn77 (talk) 03:20, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Ancient sources on Trajan[edit]

It is claimed in the article that "ancient sources on Trajan's personality and accomplishments are unanimously positive".

I know at least one which is not - Julian the Apostate's The Caesars: [1] [2] Daizus (talk) 09:56, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Clarification about GENS[edit]

Traianus was a member of gens Ulpia. He was born in Spain into a Roman family of Italian stock. His mother is unknown; however, his paternal ancestors moved from Italy and settled in Italica (near modern Seville, Spain) in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica.

That's false. Marcus Ulpius Traianus' gens was TRAII and not ULPIA. Marcus Ulpius Traianus was adopted for a roman family but he was of turdetanii ancestors (iberian tribe of Southwest of Spain) His parents weren't from Italy then. And Trajan adopted his surname

About Marcus Ulpius Traianus' gens you can read: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

This is the ENGLISH Wikipedia. HammerFilmFan (talk) 00:17, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

I think that the book of Alicia Canto is not enough to change the incipit, as it has been done, a making Trajan "Born into an ethnically Hispanic family of partial Italian origin". That may of course be true, but as long as we know, his mother was from gens Marcia, his father from gens Ulpia. So I'll reverted back to the previous version. Carlo

Era style[edit]

Out of respect for the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty, it would be preferred that "BCE" and "CE" be used instead of "BC" and "AD" since these people had no affiliation, or liking to Christianity. If you object, please provide a valid reason as to why. Lupus Bellator (talk) 20:54, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

There's no call to switch from one convention to the other, per WP:ERA.Cúchullain t/c 20:25, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I may sound like a broken record but I agree again with Cúchullain as in talk Nerva. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 20:54, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Ditto. Lupus needs to stop his era crusading. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:49, 4 December 2012 (UTC)


Was Trajan homosexual or bisexual? And if so, why is this not mentioned? (talk) 09:38, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

You might be interested in Homosexuality in ancient Rome, in order to see why those modern labels might not be useful in understanding Roman male sexuality. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:43, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

His official name[edit]

His name is given (twice) as Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nerva fili Augustus. This should be Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nervae filius Augustus (2 words changed). Collideascope (talk) 22:19, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Right. Filius describes Trajan himself and so agrees (nominative) with his name; he's the son of (genitive) the Divine Nerva. Will fix. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:47, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

On the role of the Legio II Traiana Fortis in Trajan's Second Dacian War[edit]

The article states that, according to Dando-Collins, the Legio II Traiana Fortis was deployed in Laodicea (Syria) shortly after being recruited along with XXX Ulpia Victrix. Nevertheless, other scholars (Ronald Syme, Ritterling, Strobel, Urloiu...) think that it was actually garrisoned in the lower Danube, most probably in Moesia Superior, before being sent to the East.

Moreover, some of them (again Syme) think that both legions may have fought in Trajan's Dacian Wars.

Ritterling, E., 1925. RE XII. Col. 1485. Syme, R., 1971. Danubian Papers, Bucharest. Page 106. Strobel, K., 1984. Untersuchungen zu den Dakerkriegen Trajans. Studien zur Geschichte des mittleren und unteren Donauraumes in der Hohen Kaiserzeit, Antiquitas I 33. Bonn. Page 98. Strobel, K., 2010. Kaiser Traian. Eine Epoche der Weltgeschichte, Verlag Friedrich Pustet. Regensburg. Page 254-255, 265, 299, 364. Urloiu, R-L., AGAIN ON LEGIO II TRAIANA FORTIS,. History and Civilization. EUBSR 2013 International Conference, Volume 2.

Aquiles77 (talk) 19:18, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Trajan/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Tim riley (talk · contribs) 14:14, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Starting first read-through. More soonest. Tim riley talk 14:14, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Initial comments after first read through for spelling, punctuation etc:

  • The article uses mostly American spellings, but a few English spellings have crept in and should be Americanised for consistency: "unfavourable", "formalisation", "honour", "imperilled" and "Christianisation", unless any of these spellings is authorised in a reputable American dictionary.
  • Parenthetic dashes: the article is a mish-mash of hyphens, en-dashes, unspaced em-dashes and spaced em-dashes. You must comply with the Manual of Style and standardise on either spaced en-dashes or unspaced em-dashes throughout. I know some editors find it difficult to spot these differences, and I hope you will feel free to say if you have difficulty with this: I can help if necessary.
  • All the colloquial "wasn't"s, "didn't"s and "it's"s must be changed into "was not", "did not", "it is" etc. See MOS:N'T.

Those will need to be put right before the article meets the GA standard for prose. More detailed comments, following close reading, will follow a.s.a.p. – Tim riley talk 14:57, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

Before I start work on a close reading, may I just check that the nominator is intending to deal with the above points in the next few days? If not, there isn't much point to my proceeding further. Tim riley talk 12:47, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

Dear Tim Riley, I'm more than willing to press further the GAN for this article. What am I supposed to do?Cerme (talk) 21:00, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

I think the points above are clear. If you attend to them we can move on. Tim riley talk 10:39, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks a loyt!. I fear I will need help wish the dashes, though - I'm not familiar with the conventions used. Cerme (talk) 18:01, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

I have been remiss in failing to spot that the nominator has had no part in the writing of this article, and is on present evidence not able to make the necessary changes to bring it up to GA standard. I am failing the nomination, but I will be happy to help with any upgrade preparatory to a second nomination. Tim riley talk 21:33, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

A few questions following GOCE copy-edit[edit]

In response to a request at Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Requests, I have just completed a copy-edit of Trajan. I have a few minor concerns:

1) The last two sentences of the second paragraph in the section Trajan#Early life and rise to power are:

  • During his tenure in Pannonia, he fought against the Suebic tribes in Germania. Under Nerva's rule, Trajan was one of the most gifted generals.

These sentences immediately follow several sentences about his origins and family. The change to a "tenure in Pannonia", with no date and no transitional words, seems rather abrupt. Also, the next sentence mentions his being a "gifted general". Then the sentences that follow go back to Trajan as a young man, and his early military career. I think these sentences are out of chronological order and would be better placed later in the section. Does anyone have any suggestions about where to place them?

2) The last sentence of the first paragraph in the section Trajan#The ''Correctores'': Greek/Roman relations is the following:

  • This had to do mostly with curbing the overenthusiastic spending on public works that was used as a means of channeling ancient rivalries between neighboring cities, and therefore with the fact that junior members of the local oligarchies would feel disinclined to present themselves to fill posts as local magistrates, such positions involving ever increasing personal expenses.

Besides the fact that the sentence is a bit long, I think the part "that was used as a means of channeling ancient rivalries between neighboring cities" needs to be made clearer, if it is to remain in the sentence. For the average reader, it will not be clear how "overenthusiastic spending on public works" could have been used "as a means of channeling ancient rivalries", nor what the connection to the junior members of the local oligarchies feeling "disinclined to...fill posts" is. It's all too densely academic.

3) In the middle of the fourth paragraph in that section is the following sentence:

  • One of the compensatory measures proposed by Pliny expressed a thoroughly Roman conservative position: that it was necessary to lower the minimum age to hold a seat in the local city council in order to increase the number of younger members of the local oligarchies who would contribute to civic spending, something that was seen as better than enrolling upstarts from the plebs into the councils.

The structure of the sentence is clear enough, and the sentence is fairly clear up to "civic spending," but the last part is not clear enough. What are "upstarts from the plebs"? I suppose "plebs" is short for "plebians", but even that ought to be explained or linked. Also, it's not really clear why increasing the number of younger members of the local oligarchies would be better than "enrolling upstarts from the plebs". Why mention this if the reason is not given? This is comprehensible only to someone already familiar with Roman history.

4) I wonder whether the sections Trajan#The ''Correctores'': Greek/Roman relations, Trajan#Conquest of Dacia, and especially Trajan#War against Parthia are not too long.

Well, that's all. – Corinne (talk) 02:52, 25 October 2015 (UTC) P.S. I don't know how to get "Correctores" in italics in a section heading link. Corinne (talk) 02:53, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

Dear Corinne: Thank you very much for the copy-edit. The sentences discussed in points (2) through (4) were written by me, and I would like to discuss them with you later. RegardsCerme (talk) 17:16, 26 October 2015 (UTC)


I reverted the last edits about the origin of Trajan. The author of this edit, in order to pursue his point of view, has removed the recent work of a reputable provincial archaeologist and university professor, and has given as references a primary source, an online encyclopedia on volunteer basis (practically, another wikipedia) and a 50 years old book of a travel author. Cherrypicking on the web is not the best way to write a good quality article: I am sure that there are better sources which support the Spanish origin of Trajan, but until these are not found, I would suggest to leave in place those which are now in the article, and maybe discuss them on this thread. Alex2006 (talk) 17:17, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

I was just about to do the same; this determination with proving Trajan an "ethnic Spaniard", whatever that might mean in a 1st-century context, is IMO misguided. Trajan may not have been a pure-blood Italic, but that is beside the point. His paternal descent was certifiably Italian, and the milieu he grew up in was certainly fully Italic, even if a bit rustic. Constantine 17:28, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

I thought it was important to point out that Trajan was the product of a birth and upbringing in southern Hispania just like his father and grandfather and so on. Trajan's paternal Italian ancestry is from several centuries before his time and it's very non-specific in the sense that if you go back in his genealogy as soon as you get to his paternal grandmother, her origin is unknown, that would make his father only half Italian for certain.

I think it's misleading not to assume that he's "of fully Italic stock" when that simply can't be known. He's definitely of partial known paternal Italian ancestry but half of it is unknown and I think a distinction should be made between being of partial Italian origins and being of full Italian origins.

His place of birth is instrumental to his reign because according to Professor Leonard A. Curchin: "Trajan and Hadrian inturn recruited new senators, sothat Spaniards made up about 25 per cent of the Senate.". A trend that began with Vespasian but continued and increased with Trajan and Hadrian. 25 percent is massive considering that Hispania is a single Roman province.

I'm not trying to start anything like a internet forum "flame war" or anything of the sort. Just explaining my perspective. I'll definitely work to get better sources, as well. Just give me time, I'm new to this. Aesthetics101 (talk) 20:16, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

We are not assuming bad faith on your part, but trying to point out that Trajan was of only partly Italic ancestry is one thing; calling him an "ethnic Spaniard" is quite another. "Ethnically" labelling any figure is liable to open a can of worms, and one should be very careful when adding such labels. "Spaniard" in this context merely means someone from Spain; there was certainly no "Spaniard" ethnicity at the time, but rather a number of Iberian tribes of various origins (Celts etc.), along with the Italic settlers, who, at least until Trajan's time, formed the bulk of the Latin and Roman citizenry in the province. Mass award of citizenship to genuinely native provincials only began at about the time Trajan was born, and his family was clearly far older than that. And whatever the admixture of Iberian blood in Trajan's bloodline, the environment he grew up with did not differ much from any rural Italian town of his time. Him promoting fellow "Spaniards" to office was no different than any politician staffing his department with people from his province on the assumption that they would show loyalty. It had much to do with the all-pervasive Roman clientage networks and the emperors' promotion of the image of Hispania as a fully "Roman" province (Trajan, being born outside Italy, would have been considered a rustic by the ancient families of the state), and very little with "ethnicity". Constantine 20:44, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

Well, yes, I agree with that point. Ancestry and ethnicity are different. Trajan was certainly not fully Italian in ancestry, too many suspicious "unknowns" in his genealogy. But the term "Spaniard" when referring to people from Hispania(not modern Spain) is widespread among historians, like professor Leonard(he even explains his use of the term "Spaniard" in the beginning of the book), for example. It's nothing new nor is it generally frowned upon. In fact, it seems to be used more than "Hispanic". Do you know of a better name to use for the Latin speaking people of Hispania? Hispano-Roman? There seems to be no consensus on this that I'm aware of so I'd like there to be something more concrete.

My main question when it comes to ethnicity is: what makes Trajan ethnically more "Italian" than say, the Latin author Martial? Trajan clearly favored people from Hispania, at least when it came to his recruitment of Senators, which on its own isn't important but if you look at how Senators from Hispania peaked during Trajan and Hadrian's reign, it is worth noting, in my view. If they wanted to promote and reassure that Hispania was fully "Roman", then ethnicity must have played a role there too(they did not want to be seen as foreigners). Aesthetics101 (talk) 03:40, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

In addition to all these points, I would like to remind you of the original sentence:
  • Although frequently designated the first provincial emperor, Trajan, though born outside of Italy, was actually of Italic stock.
I'll leave it to you to work out the details, but the main point of this sentence is that although Trajan has frequently been designated the first provincial governor, he was not as fully provincial as other emperors (don't know which). If this is correct, and you agree the point is worth making, this syntax ought to be used in order to make the point. Corinne (talk) 04:42, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
"ethnicity must have played a role there too(they did not want to be seen as foreigners)" is not quit true. You mix the modern notion of ethnicity in a time and place ill-suited for it. Remember that Rome was in the beginning a city-state, and that a "provincial" was initially any politician who was not born in Rome, e.g. Marius or even Cicero. This carried a certain social stigma when opposed to the patrician families that had ruled the Republic. In the late Republic, for numerous reasons the Senate came to comprise more and more men born outside Rome, so this stigma was transferred to the provinces proper. Ethnic origin did not as yet enter into it (much) as most of these new senators were still of Italian stock. As far as we can tell, Trajan was of Italic stock. He may plausibly have had some local ancestry, but what it was and to what extent is unknown. Politically and culturally, which is more important either way, he belonged to a family and a community that was solidly Italian/Roman. Constantine 17:42, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

Corinne, I believe Claudius was the first foreign born Roman Emperor but I know little else about him. Other than that, he's sort of popular for not being a homosexual but I 'm not really sure about any of that other than his birthplace. Claudius seems to be very Italian but his wikipedia page doesn't say anything about him being of Italic stock. I think emperors like Trajan are given a more "pure" Roman identity because of their importance. You're right about the syntax, it's worded in a confusing manner and its point isn't clear. Trajan is not of pure Italian ancestry, you can look at his paternal ancestry to find that out rather easily. It's misleading to say that his "stock" or, rather, ancestry, is Italian, when it is documented as only partly so(his genealogy). His paternal grandmother is unknown, so his lineage isn't entirely Italian for certain. If ancestry is what that is referring to, it needs to be reworded to reflect that he is of partial known Italian ancestry.

Constantine, By Italian stock, are you referring to culture/ethnicity or ancestry? Can it really be known that all the senators from Hispania are pure Italians if their families have roots in Hispania that span centuries? If by Italian stock you mean ancestry, then he certainly isn't of Italian stock but more accurately, of partial Italian stock. Since his genealogy has so many unknowns, it can't be assumed that these unknown ancestors were from Italy. We have to go by what we know and we only know part of his ancestry from centuries past. I completely agree that culture is far more important than genetics or what have you. In that case, in your view was Trajan culturally more "Italian/Roman" than other Hispania-born Romans like Seneca the Younger, Seneca the Elder or Martial?

What's the ethnic difference between a "pure" Hispania-born person that is fully Romanized, culturally and another Romanized Hispania-born person that has Italian from several centuries back? If the criteria is cultural, then Martial should also be considered to be of Italic stock. Aesthetics101 (talk) 05:34, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

I am afraid that you are Flogging a dead horse here. What Constantine writes is perfectly clear, and this coincides with today's academic consensus about the Origin of Trajan. I encourage you again to read more academic sources and to discuss them here. All the rest (comparison with other people born in Hispania, meaning of ethnicity, etc.) is (at the best) only original research. Bye, Alex2006 (talk) 07:06, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

I just wanted to know what his thoughts were on what makes certain people of Hispania more Italian than others, as I find it very interesting. However, it's fine if you want to give me the Cold shoulder on that.

Let's move on to sources then. Is there a source for this academic consensus you mentioned? Because there are respected historians like Boston University professor Fred S Kleiner wrote that Trajan was "the first non-Italian to rule Rome"(probably referring to his birth and upbringing). He published the book in 2009 and is highly respected with a noteworthy academic background. I don't see why he would want to mislead anyone.

ps. I just noticed someone edited the "Early life and rise to power" section. It has been improved significantly.Aesthetics101 (talk) 00:45, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

He was not "someone" who improved the article, but Constantine, who precised in the article what he had explained here. I don't understand the "partial" which you introduced, can you explain it? About the source that you brought, by "non Italian" he means, as you say, his origin from Hispania, which none denies. The primary sources whence the academia derives its consensus is here:

Ulpius Trajanus ex urbe Tudertina, Ulpius ab avo dictus, Trajanus a Trajo ... Quid fuit origine Hispanus , nativitate velo Tudertinus fuerit Optimus Principum

I think that this is quite clear. You can put the accent on his birthplace, or on his patrilinear origin, or both, but what we know from it is what Constantine explained above. Alex2006 (talk) 05:51, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Ah, okay, then Constantine clarified that nicely in the appropriate section, then. I could do without the oddly condescending responses, though.

I will explain why I introduced "partial" : He was specifically referring to Trajan's paternal ancestors as hailing from Italy in that sentence. Well, if you look at Trajan's paternal grandmother she is unknown. That means Trajan's known paternal ancestors are only partially Italian for certain. It can't be assumed that an unknown paternal ancestor is of full Italian origin if one of his parents is unknown.

Since Trajan's father, Marcus Ulpius Traianus (senior) is only known to be half Italian, Emperor Trajan's paternal Italian ancestry is partial. Do you see my point? It's a very narrow point but I think the distinction is important, nonetheless. Aesthetics101 (talk) 00:50, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Your distinction does not seem important to any other editor so far, nor to any reliable modern source nor to any ancient source. Not only the substantive point, but your concern for it, are based on original research. I'm sorry if you find that condescending, but it's high time to drop the issue. Editing Wikipedia should be fun, and I'm sure you could make other and much more valuable contributions elsewhere. Richard Keatinge (talk) 14:49, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Actually, a respected historian that specializes in Hispania Baetica and ancient Rome by the name of Alicia M. Canto also makes this distinction.

In her book, Las raíces béticas de Trajano. Los "Traii" de la Itálica Turdetana y otras novedades sobre su familia, she writes: "About his supposed Italian descent, and his unknown grandparents ... we don't know the slightest of details about Trajan's grandparents, paternal nor maternal".

She even takes it a step further, stating that "it is often claimed that the Ulpia family hails from Italy, and settled Scipio's Italica during the republic. But the fact is that in Italy itself, there is no evidence of an Ulpius in the entirety of the long-lasting republican period".

I don't think you have the authority to make anyone here drop any issue. And I find the origins of famous historical figures to be the most fun of topics by far. As this source comes from a respected and reliable historian, I will add the fact that Trajan's grandparents are completely unknown to the article if I find the time to do so. Aesthetics101 (talk) 04:02, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

I do suggest that you obtain consensus here before making any changes to the article. Richard Keatinge (talk) 18:48, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Though he is believed to have Italian ancestry on his father's side, details about Trajan's paternal and maternal grandparents are nonexistent.

Anyone disagree with that statement? My reliable modern source is posted in my earlier response. Aesthetics101 (talk) 07:20, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

I merely doubt that anyone else thinks it's worth mentioning in this article. Richard Keatinge (talk) 08:06, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Well, I do. The reliable modern source I posted here presents relevant information. I think the factual information from said source holds more weight than the opinions of Wikipedia editors here. The article clearly talks about Trajan's origins in great detail so I don't see anything controversial about this. Aesthetics101 (talk) 10:31, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

OK, having struggled through your source (my Spanish isn't good) it seems to present a desperately strained argument at great length. As far as I know, in the twelve years since its publication, nobody else has really taken it up or even bothered to disagree with it. Feel free to try to persuade editors to support using it here. Richard Keatinge (talk) 11:04, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

Of course nobody has disagreed with it, she's just stating the obvious: that aside from frequently claimed, extremely non-specific Italian ancestry, we know diddly-squat about Trajan's ancestors. If you consider stringing together a series of well known, uncontroversial facts desperate, then sure. She's simply pointing out what we do know. A very interesting read, in my opinion.

It's apparent that the distinction Dr. Canto makes isn't one you want to hear but I don't think you are qualified to disagree with this archaeologist on a professional level nor is anyone else here that I'm aware of. Additionally, this source is more recent than both of the sources used in the relevant section and goes into detail about aspects of his origins that the other sources do not touch upon. I don't think I have to defend the credentials of this source but feel free to look her up. Otherwise I see no reason not to use this high quality source which is dedicated entirely to Trajan's origins. Aesthetics101 (talk) 09:04, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Feel free to gain an editorial consensus here. Richard Keatinge (talk) 10:02, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

That's what I was doing here. But no one has proven my point or source to be untrue. Not liking the distinction doesn't make it untrue.

Everyone seems to have deflected the distinction I brought up but no one has proven it untrue. And you just said that you don't like what the source says but that doesn't mean anything.

I'm just leaving my source here for others to go through. And unless someone can prove that Dr. Canto is not a reliable source, I will eventually use it provided I have time. Aesthetics101 (talk) 12:42, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Dear Aesthetics, I read the paper of Canto. Her hypothesis is mainly based on an (alleged) wrong reading of the sources: the word "Tudertinus" should be read as "Turdetanus". The reason for that, according to Canto, is that the correct word for inhabitant of Tuder is "Tuders" (actually, she wrote "Tudertis", mixing genitive with nominative, but this is a minor point). Reading something instead of something else is a very strong claim, and this means that you (not the others), should provide a robust proof that the academy is now accepting this hypothesis as valid. In this case, we can bring it into the article. Otherwise, this is just a case of another fringe theory (btw, doing some OR, my Latin dictionary reports "Tudertinus" as a valid form (younger than "Tuders") for inhabitant of Tuder). Alex2006 (talk) 14:08, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

My aim isn't to introduce the hypothesis itself but the uncontroversial facts she presents about his grandparents: "About his supposed Italian descent, and his unknown grandparents ... we don't know the slightest of details about Trajan's grandparents, paternal nor maternal". That's not at all fringe and only takes a second to look at his known genealogy, which is to say there isn't much. As Canto's credentials outweigh yours I don't think you're in a position to invalidate the very specific and uncontroversial distinction she made about his grandparents. Aesthetics101 (talk) 08:11, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

None of us is a specialist in this field, so we cannot outweigh anyone here. In order to write our articles we only use reliable sources belonging to the mainstream, and avoid those which appear to be fringe. Back to Canto, if what she writes is uncontroversial, you don't need to use her as source. If not, you cannot use it, unless you show that her theory has been accepted among the scholars, as @Richard Keatinge: pointed above. Alex2006 (talk) 08:46, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia only asks for modern reliable sources. Fringe is a relative term. In general, Dr. Canto is well within the mainstream. I would hardly consider an archaeologist from a respected University like Canto to be on the fringe.

As I said before I'm not aiming to add the hypothesis itself but the uncontraversial facts (or lack thereof) about Trajan's grandparents. That is all. Aesthetics101 (talk) 11:03, 19 November 2015 (UTC)


Wikipedia summarizes significant opinions, with representation in proportion to their prominence. A Wikipedia article should not make a fringe theory appear more notable or more widely accepted than it is. Claims must be based upon independent reliable sources. If discussed in an article about a mainstream idea, a theory that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight, and reliable sources must be cited that affirm the relationship of the marginal idea to the mainstream idea in a serious and substantial manner.

I hope that it is clear for you. Alex2006 (talk) 11:13, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Ok, so I can say that his grandparents are completely unknown(my main issue here) and do to that fact, a known scholar has pushed forward the possibility that Trajan could be of indigenous Iberian ancestry.

As long as it is not given undue weight. Got it. Thank you. Aesthetics101 (talk) 12:12, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

No, you got it wrong (as usual :-)). Unless you can find that the theory of Canto found acceptance among the academy, citing this in the article is WP:UNDUE and WP:OR (since the main point of Canto is the denial of the current interpretation of the main source about Trajan's origin). Alex2006 (talk) 12:18, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

I'll take your word for it even though it's used as a source on the Spanish version of Trajan's article.

And the uncontraversial fact about his unknown grandparents?(my main issue and a distinction that is made on his father's article already)Aesthetics101 (talk) 12:33, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

The fact that it is used on eswiki does not surprise me. First, the paper is in Spanish, second, unfortunately Wikipedia is full with nationalistic POV-pushers which try to declare notables as belonging to their nation/group/tribe (right now there is an Albanian trying to proof that Napoleon was partly of Albanian origin). About his grandparents, the fact that they are unknown is no positive proof that he was of provincial stock. Anyway, during the next days I will go to the Central library and look for the newest works about him (there is a fairly new very good biography of Karl Strobel about him) to see what the newest stand of the research is. Alex2006 (talk) 12:54, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

The fact that they're unknown is just that. I just wanted that fact in the article since he and his father are famous Roman historical figures (his father is mentioned in the article as well).

Since his father was a prominent senator it's worth noting that his father's father is an unknown. Aesthetics101 (talk) 13:19, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Forgive me for intruding, but the issue here seems to be: what's the point? Trajan's possible "Spanish" stock is as relevant to his role in Roman history as St. Augustine's Northern African descent was to his theology. If Trajan was from a Greek or Jewish family, now that would be something, as far as Greeks and Jews were somehow alienated from the Roman Imperial order. But then Trajan, as a scion of a Western grandee family, most probably regarded himself as a fully Roman citzen, inscribed in a Roman voting tribe and a member of the Roman Senate.Cerme (talk) 13:49, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Aesthetics101 I am not a scholar in this area, so I cannot take a side in this discussion, but I wonder about your wish to add that the identity of Trajan's grandparents is unknown. I thought, generally, an encyclopedia strives to impart what is known about the world and the universe, and does not dwell on what is unknown. If an encyclopedia attempted to state what is unknown about every topic, I think the size of the encyclopedia would become unwieldy. I also think in your wish to revise the original sentence, you miss the point of that sentence: that although Trajan is often called the first provincial emperor, given what is known about his Italic family background and the milieu in which he was raised, he was not really as provincial as some other emperors. However, it could be argued that that sentence is not a particularly important sentence. I'll leave that to others to decide. Corinne (talk) 01:32, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

No problem at all, Cerme, this is a "talk" page, after all. While I do think that upbringing is more important, I think the unknown nature of his grandparents is worth a mention. It helps give his origins some context in the same sense that Constantine added the unsubstantiated possibility that his ancestors could have married local women. He felt that unknown possibility was worth a mention as well(something no one took issue with). By the way, until it was introduced to the article, I had no idea that Cassius Dio dismissed Trajan as an "Iberian". It just sounded strange for a Roman historian to dismiss an emperor as a foreigner.

As for your thoughts on him considering himself a fully Roman citizen: Wasn't that the case for every Latin-speaking Iberian with full Roman citizenship? I'm sure the Iberian ancestors of Marcus Aurelius considered themselves fully Roman citizens as well. And Trajan's Spanish birth, upbringing, and education are not things I'd consider insignificant, either.

Corinne, I think it deserves a brief mention in the context of his father's prominence, in order to give his origins more background. Also, thanks for helping to clarify the main point of that sentence, it makes a lot more sense when you put it that way. It really can be argued that that sentence is not particularly important but its inclusion seems to be a matter of personal preference. For example, I just took a look at the Ancient History Encyclopedia and while Trajan's article mentions his Italian ancestry, Hadrian's article makes no such mention and simply goes on to say that both Trajan and Hadrian were "ethnically Hispanic". One writer chose to accent his paternal ancestry while the other placed the accent on their upbringing. That might not mean much to some contributors here but what they write is more important to me since every single contribution is reviewed by a panel of experts before being published. At the very least, it can be considered a reliable source by some entities while the same cannot be said about Wikipedia. Just mentioning it as a more reliable example of an online encyclopedia, is all. Aesthetics101 (talk) 18:21, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

I hope to get the book next week (currently it is borrowed), then I'll let you know. Alex2006 (talk) 08:26, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to add that on page 1 of Julian Bennett's biography of Trajan he mentions that the gentilicium and cognomen Ulpius and Traianus are probably from Osco-Umbrian (Ulpius being cognate with lupus - wolf). Both are independently attested in the region, at Tuder and Ameria, the latter town likely being the origin of Trajan's mother. He goes on to say that an Italian pedigree for gens Ulpia "seems certain".--Tataryn (talk) 23:24, 6 December 2015 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Trajan/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Zwerg Nase (talk · contribs) 13:29, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

I'll review this asap. Zwerg Nase (talk) 13:29, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Cerme Sorry that this is taking so long. You should have my review by wednesday! Zwerg Nase (talk) 14:13, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Dear Cerme, first of all, I am very sorry that this took so long. I have reviewed the text on paper two weeks ago, but did not find the time to put it all in here. Secondly, thank you for tackling this article, I find it very important that Wikipedia takes care of its vital articles, and I consider the Roman Emperors to be among them. Now for the review:

  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:


  • At one point, the name of a legion is in italics, all other instances are not. This should be done consistently.
  • There is a large number of repeated links that you should remove. To find them all easily, you can use a tool that is linked on the page I wikilinked before.


  • From the article on the subject, I learn that the notion of the Five Good Emperors comes not only from Gibbon, but even earlier from Machiavelli. Maybe you can include this?

Early life and rise to power[edit]

  • At the end of the second paragraph, the sentence The patria of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish Baetica,[8] where their ancestors had settled late in the 3rd century BC. seems like a repetition of something mentioned earlier.
  • Added a [citation needed] template there on paragraph four.
  • It does not become quite clear why Trajan was nominated as Consul. He is a guy from the province who had not held a magistrate in Rome. While clearly during the Dyarchy, these rules have softened, it would still be good to have explained why he was chosen for the highest office in Rome right away.
  • The way you introduce the possibility of his homosexuality reads very speculative to me. You should probably begin the sentence with something like Some authors have argued that Trajan had homosexual tendencies, although these accounts remain disputed. Right now it reads like he definitely was engaged in homosexual activity and we know that because he had no children, which is very presumptuous.

Roman Emperor[edit]

  • If in reality Trajan was an autocrat, his deferential behavior towards his peers qualified him to the role of virtuous monarch - this is quite a strong statement and you should add something like "Balot argues that...".

The Correctores: Greek/Roman relations[edit]

  • I added two [citation needed] templates here.
  • As much as Roman authorities liked to play the Greek cities against one another - you should find a more neutral way of putting this.

Conquest of Dacia[edit]

  • and to some, shameful - who says that? A judgmental statement like that should only, if at all, included if it is directly sourced. The source that is given at the end of the sentence, to is also questionable. Can you point me to why this is a reliable source?
  • Again, I added some [citation needed] templates here.
  • whose embankments were still visible until recently - what does recently mean? You should try not to include phrases that can become outdated with time. It would be better to name a year when they were definitely visible.
  • in 106 conquered part of Dacia - either "a part" or "parts"
  • form of a gigantic spearhead - try to find a more neutral term here
  • Elaborate on what the "villa model" is.

Period of peace: public buildings and festivities[edit]

  • ferocious beasts - again, not a very neutral term, I believe it would be enough to write "thousands of wild animals killed alongside..."

War against Parthia[edit]

  • war hawk senators is not a neutral enough term. If an author describes them as such, write "senators, who XX described as "war hawks"..."
  • an overambitious goal that eventually backfired on the results of his entire campaign - again, too judgemental for my taste

Death and succession[edit]

  • The first sentence of the second paragraph is a monster of Ciceronian proportions. You should divide it up into at least two sentences. I would recommend to cut of after Inferior.

Building activities[edit]

Trajan's legacy[edit]

  • I have not bothered putting the templates here since almost the entire section lacks references. Please do so.


This is my biggest headache, since I have several problems:

  • There is one dead link.
  • Citations to ancient sources as generally scarce. Since a lot of secondary literature is cited, I don't consider this a huge problem, but especially where you specifically refer to ancient authors, you should give the place where they said this. If you want, you can tell me where to look and I can add references from the Loeb Classical Library, which is officially sanctioned as a reliable source for Wikipedia.
  • The biggest problem is the way you did the citations to secondary literature. You chose an approach like in an academic paper where you give the full citation on first mention, and then continue with Name, pagenumber. However, you cannot do this on Wikipedia. I would recommend that you use the Harvard Style reference template that Wikipedia offers. What you need to do is:
  • You add a ref=harv parameter to all the sources you list in References and further reading.
  • Now you can go through all of the references and exchange them with {{sfn|name of author|year|pagenumber}}. That way, all references are consistent and the reader can click on a reference and immidiately gets to the full information about the source.
  • There are almost several huge mishaps here in the reference section. Ref #30 is simply "page 231". Page 231 where?? Ref #99 is just "Dando-Collins". What is that? Please go through all the references again and sort those out.
  • There are also a lot of orthography errors in the sources, such as missed spaces or too many spaces and so forth. By using the harv-references, you should get rid of many of these, but go through everything again and check.
  • Some titles are in all caps, which you need to change on Wikipedia even if the original title was written that way.
  • You can do references like #77 or #96 (there are more instances) better. Instead of writing "Available at [link]", you can embed the link in the title by using the cite web template.
  • Generally, it seems like you never used any cite templates, which you should. I have given an example with the Heuß reference (#241) in this edit.

That's it from me. I know that especially the references will be a great load of work, but getting to know the proper ways of citing on Wikipedia will be beneficial for your future work here. I put the review on hold for now. Cheers, Zwerg Nase (talk) 15:49, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Cerme I noticed that you again did not use the sfn-template in your recent edits. Please follow the instructions above or use other cite templates available on Wikipedia. Zwerg Nase (talk) 11:13, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Okay, that will take a long time, but I agree with you that the changes proposed are absolutely necessary. Thanks a lot for the work done so far!Cerme (talk) 17:10, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
@Cerme: No worries, take your time, this will be a worthy GA once all that is sorted out :) Zwerg Nase (talk) 21:49, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

@Cerme: See my last two edits for how you can quite easily make the footnotes with the short footnote-template. Zwerg Nase (talk) 18:03, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Also, you do not need any inline citations in the lead, if everything is cited in the article body. Zwerg Nase (talk) 18:04, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Hi, Zwerg Nase, I have been quoting the French Hachette handbook of Roman history by Chistol & Nony, and would like to know how I could reduce a work by two authors to the ref=harv standard.Cerme (talk) 22:24, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
@Cerme: I have been struggling with that a little bit myself. On the article for Senatus consultum ultimum, you can see how I did it in reference #12. More information here. Zwerg Nase (talk) 12:28, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
Zwerg Nase and Cerme, I am writing to remind you that this review page has not been posted in in 20 days. It must be concluded or else the article should fail. Thank you. Display name 99 (talk) 22:07, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
@Display name 99: Constant work is being done on the article. One big piece of bother still needs to be dealt with, but I am positive it will be within the week. Should it not, I will close the review. Zwerg Nase (talk) 22:29, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
Zwerg Nase, thank you for your response. I had neglected to check the article's history, and was merely concerned by the lack of activity on the review page. Display name 99 (talk) 23:17, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
Zwerg Nase and Cerme, it has now been over a week since the former of you promised to close the review should one significant problem not be fixed. It has now been over a week. The last edit made to this article was made on the 27th by the reviewer, and the last one made by the nominator was on the 24th. Zwerg Nase, has the problem been fixed? Display name 99 (talk) 01:19, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
Sources are consistent in the fact that he had a predilection for young men. I don't see how this would be "disputed". It's only the pleasure of the dispute here. Frimoussou (talk) 22:54, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Close review[edit]

Going through the article again, I had to find that while the footnote style has vastly improved, the article still lacks in several areas, even if not considering the shaky nature of Bennett's book as the primary source of the article. Several things I outline at the beginning of the review are still left undone. Grammar and punctuation have actually suffered since the first time I read the article. Also, several statements lack proper citations. That being said, I sadly fail this review now. As I have said above though, I highly encourage the nominator to work through the article again, preferably working with Strobel's biography of Trajan (if knowledge of German is there) and improve the article. Thank you for all the work done up to this part, I hope this article reaches GA status soon. Zwerg Nase (talk) 13:12, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

Bennett / Strobel[edit]

@Cerme: First of all, thank you for your work in the footnotes, it looks a lot better and more reader-friendly now!

I have now taken out the books by Bennett and Strobel from the library. It appears to me that the critique of Bennett's book is quite wide-spread: See here, here, here and here. German histiographers like Strobel, as was pointed out, seem to be even more critical than their English counterparts, whose general verdict is: A good overview from an archeologist, but with many errors stemming mostly from misinterpretation, misunderstanding or naiveté towards the sources. From an overview of these reviews of Bennett's book, I would not completely discard it as a reliable source, but be very careful on how to use it. For now, the article relies very much on Bennett and I would need to get deep into the subject matter to determine how much of a problem that is. My main concern is that Strobel asserts that Bennett was led to a general misinterpretation of Trajan's reign. If that is the case and that biased account finds itself here, it is highly problematic.

As far as I could see, it took you some time to get the formatting done, indicating that you do not have too much time on your hands at the moment? If I get into the literature more closely, it will take me a couple of days. For you then to implement changes, it will take even longer. It was righly pointed out above that this review has already taken far too long, which I have so far discarted, because you were never inactive in improving it and it is a vast topic to cover. However, with the prospect of so much work ahead, my idea would be: We close this review for now, and get to work together in making necessary improvements and then enter it for review again. What do you think?

As for the problem of citing articles from the congress collection, there are two possible options: 1) Not to use the sfn-template at that point and simply put in full references every time or 2) enter every article you use individually into the biblography, then you can use sfn with the author name again. I have met similar problems in the past, the whole reference-templates should get worked over to better suit the need of academic sources... Zwerg Nase (talk) 14:26, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

@Cerme: OK, so I am facing a problem. I only have the 1997 original edition of Bennett's book, not the 2001 2nd edition you used, and they have different page numbers, so I am having a very hard time checking the references. I will nevertheless try to double-check the statements in the article backed by Bennett references against the work of Strobel to see if there are considerable differences in interpretation. I hope to get enough done today to make a first statement on wether we will be able to get this GA review to a pass this time round. Zwerg Nase (talk) 12:33, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

More to do[edit]

@Cerme: It appears that during the workover on the references, on very many places there is now no space after the reference in the prose. I took out several instances, but there are many more. Please go through the text one more time to get those all dealt with. Additionally, I have added some [citation needed] templates, where references are needed. Zwerg Nase (talk) 13:00, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

Also, the claim that the Roman reception of Trajan was universally positive, does not appear to be true. Strobel writes about the works of Emperor Julian Apostata, who denounced Trajan as an "alcoholic on the Imperial throne". Zwerg Nase (talk) 13:05, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I forgot to put in the article a mention to Trajan's heavy drinking. It was public knowledge already during his lifetime, and is mentioned by Cassius Dio. I don't know wheter it marred his public image at the time - one must remember that Julian was a IVth. Century Emperor, a former Christian and a devout neopagan, writing about a IInd. Century Emperor with a completely different agenda and completely different mores. It appears that Trajan had devised an "Ulysses and the Sirens" arrangement with his staff - his request for wine were to be ignored after a certain amount of drinking.Cerme (talk) 23:28, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Trajan's death date.[edit]

I saw death dates such as August 7, August 8, August 9, August 10 and even August 11. What is the death date today is the most accurate? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:2698:2823:2FE4:2DFA:A7F1:1117:D5A0 (talk) 14:25, 18 March 2016 (UTC)


I just finished to read the beautiful biography of Trajan by Karl Strobel "Optimus Princeps" (in German). In the Preface the author writes that the book of Julian Bennett "Trajan. Optimus Princeps" cannot be used as a Reliable source. He writes that "in infinite places massive misinterpretations of primary sources and modern research can be discovered, which make the book generally unreliable: people who have no previous knowledge about the subject, will be misinformed in many places". Apparently the book of Bennett has been criticized by many scholars: among them "W. Eck, Scripta Classica Israelitica 17, 1998, 231-234". Despite the critics, the second edition of the book maintains all the mistakes of the first one. According to Strobel, the main problem is that Bennett (an archeologist!) does not known neither Latin nor ancient Greek, and has problem to read Italian, German and French. According to Strobel, the diffusion of the book has caused many erroneous information to be considered as true. Alex2006 (talk) 09:25, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

@Alessandro57: Thanks for pointing this out! @Cerme: I will try to confirm this. If so, the article would need far more work than I initially thought. Zwerg Nase (talk) 16:54, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
@Zwerg Nase:, you are welcome! I would like to point out that I don't want to make any polemic against Bennett, but relata refero ;-). I don't know Bennett's book, but I just read the book by Strobel, who is a well known scholar, and wrote his biography about Trajan during two leaves of absence at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. Alex2006 (talk) 17:09, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
@Zwerg Nase:, that's important. I read Bennett's book, and his main interest - as should be expected from an archaeologist - are Trajan's buildings (The Column, the Arch in Beneventum, the Roman Forum, and so on) about which he offers the most detailed information. In his general account of Trajan's reign, as far as I can gather, he says nothing that struck me as outlandish, bizarre or controversial, only as a very conventional historical narrative. Veyne, on the other hand, offers a far more controversial interpretation of issues like the alimenta, Trajan's "ideology" and so on - as should be expected from a French postmodern historian and a friend of Foucault's.... Does Strobel point, in his book,to any particular points in Bennett's account? In the affirmative case, which ones?Cerme (talk) 21:11, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
@Cerme: All what Strobel says about Bennett, I reported above. I should maybe also add that Bennett's book is not used as reference by Strobel, but this is obvious, after what he wrote. I think that one should read the Review of Werner Eck which Strobel cites above (Werner Eck, Review of Julian Bennett, Trajan, Optimus Princeps. A Life and Times: XVII, 231. ), in order to understand more about Bennett's "zahllose Fehler". Alex2006 (talk) 09:44, 20 March 2016 (UTC)
@Alessandro 57:I'm concerned at the moment with the Roman Empire map presented in the article, which is attributed to Bennett. The Bennett map is much more sketchy - and, therefore, in my view, more accurate as far as historical authorities are concerned. I'm upset with the fact that the article's map includes Susa into the Roman Empire - something for which there is the scantiest evidence and which appears to me as extrmely improbable. Fact is, Trajan's Mesopotamian "conquests" amounted as far as we know to a very temporary Roman occupation of Southern Mesopotamian, and it's daring to affirm (unless there is some conclusive archaeological evidence) that an already overextended Roman army could stretch outside of Mesopotamia into Susa. Fact is that the maximum extent ever of the Roman Empire, in terms of permanent conquests, was attained under Septimius Severus, not under Trajan- something that should mentioned in the article, plus the fact that a map of the Roman Empire under Trajan should tell between permanent conquests (Dacia) and temporary ones (Armenia & Mesopotamia). Cerme (talk) 19:54, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
I stated years ago that a map of the empire under Severus would be more appropriate, but was rejected. Apparently it's because so many sources say Trajan's empire was the largest yadah yadah so we can't do OR and say it wasn't. About Susa, doing a quick search on Google Books brings up numerous secondary sources stating the Romans captured Susa, but I'm not sure where they're getting that from, either Dio or the Historia Augusta? Apparently troops pursued Osroes there and took a bunch of his stuff. Unless there's modern secondary sources saying that the Romans didn't take Susa, the sheer weight of two centuries of secondary sources saying the Romans indeed took it outweighs our speculation. I have no horse in this race, though, and would be happy to edit the current map based upon the outcome of a lengthy discussion amongst the experts we have around here.--Tataryn (talk) 22:04, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
@Alessandro57 Can you quote anything specific that Strobel says about errors in Bennett? You said "All what Strobel says about Bennett, I reported above", but from what I can see, there's nothing specific mentioned – which would seem rather unacademic for an author to blast Bennett for errors but never elaborate.--Tataryn (talk) 22:45, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
@talkYes, many secondary sources say that Trajan took Susa, but they never state where they got that from. Besides, there is the problem that Susa at the Early Second Century was probably a backwater far away from Mesopotamia, and stating that Trajan took it appears to me as a bit of epic exaggeration by means of a fictive throwback to the age of Alexander the Great, as in the bogus epic poem in Petronius' Satyricon stating that Pompey the Great crossed the Indus River. As far as the actual extent of the Roman Empire at the end of Trajan's reign goes, the map in the German Wikipedia appears to me as the most accurate single piece available (In the French Wikipedia, there is a whole Power Point presentation on the Parthian Wars)Cerme (talk) 18:48, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
The map on the German article has significant errors. The map does not show Charax as being part of Trajan's conquests. It shows Sarmizegetusa as being in the Wallachian plain – and the Romans did not hold the Wallachian plain for any real period of time. It also does not show Porolissum as being part of the province of Dacia. The province of Mauretania Tingitania did not extend that far south along the Atlantic coast. The Nabataean region is also completely wrong. It does not show Leuce Come or any of the more distant settlements as being part of the Empire. The map doesn't show Ammonium in Egypt as part of the empire either. All these errors make the map wholly inaccurate, much more so than the current map which is pretty much accurate on all fronts except the possibility that Susa was not part of Trajan's conquests. When I say "the map does not show...", I don't mean that those cities are not labelled, I mean that the territory depicted does not encompass the area where those places would be labelled if they were. Also, that French power point actually shows Susa as being captured by the Romans, so I'm not sure what you were getting at by referring to it.--Tataryn (talk) 20:01, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes, my bad.Sorry. The German map had the advantage of showing Charax outside the Roman Empire, as the sources tells that the Characene king submitted to Trajan as client king. But then it has Sarmizegetusa in the wrong place (the Wallachian plain as part of the Empire is to be admitted , IMHO, as long as it was abandoned by Hadrian and not by Trajan). As to the French map, it has the advantage of being more of a map of military operations - but then it has Susa, again.... In the end, we have to settle with the existing map, in that it is not more inaccurate than the other alternatives. The only issue is that the map shown in the article is unproperly sourced, as it is not a copy, in any meaningful sense, of the map sketched by Bannett. That should be admitted and the map properly sourced.Cerme (talk) 21:20, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

I'll add some sources during the coming week, it shouldn't be too difficult. It should be noted that tons of ancient maps here on wikipedia have zero sources. For example those at the Sassanid Empire, Achaemenid Empire, Parthian Empire, Roman Republic, etc. etc. So after this week the Roman Empire map will be sourced better than vast majority of maps around here. Should we go to those articles listed above (and any articles with unsourced maps) and start demanding sources?--Tataryn (talk) 21:49, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

Absolutely, I think. Ancient History maps reflect the state of the arts in terms of actual historical knowledge ammassed and should not reflect preconceived notions about Ancient societies. There is a tendency, I think, to make the Roman Empire even more "grand" than it actually was. Cerme (talk) 22:30, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
@Cerme, sorry for the delay in my answer, but I was in vacation in the capital of the Empire ;-) . Concerning maps, I always use the historic atlas by de Agostini, and there Susa lies far away from the Empire's border: at its latitude, the border of the provincia Mesopotamia was the Tigris. I also agree with you that Trajan's conquests in modern Iraq, Caucasus and southeast Turkey where temporary: anyway, a lot of sources affirm the the greatest extension of the Empire occurred under him. @Tataryn please read all my edits, not only the last one. We need access to the source where Bennett's mistakes are described in details. I will ask an experienced user and friend of mine, who possibly has online access. Valete ;-) Alex2006 (talk) 11:48, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
@Alex2006 Alessandro, I feel that , in reviewing the article so as to achieve GA status, we must keep track of the changes in outlook brought by modern historiography. In the sources I searched for, Susa is included in Trajan's conquest only in XIXth. Century books. Also, the notion that Susa was the "summer capital" of the Parthian Empire is a creative anachronism coming from the notion that Trajan was the equal of Alexander the Great and therefore Parthia was the continuation of Darius' Persian Empire. As Trajan was a senatorial emperor, and Septimius Severus a military one, Ancient sources expanded Trajan's achievments and deflated Severus', whose province of (Northern) Mesopotamia was a permanent conquest that remained in the Empire for at least a half century (Trajan's conquests, otherwise, actually lasted a few months). What I found in the way of conffirming Trajan's conquests was that Parthian Susa was an Hellenistic (Seleucid) foundation which traded with Charax, and , therefore that Trajan might have envisaged a raid on Susa in order to control an important trade route - but with that we are in the realm of the (barely) possible. All this must , I feel, be kept track of somehow in the final text.Cerme (talk) 17:16, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
@Cerme, thanks for your explanation! I checked Strobel again, and there is no mention of Susa's conquest. Alex2006 (talk) 17:43, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Fixed the map. Thanks for all the insight!--Tataryn (talk) 21:54, 10 April 2016 (UTC)


According to the lead "Trajan" is pronounced /ˈtreɪdʒən/ which seems like a particularly Anglicised pronunciation. If that is the case it should probably be noted (probably just by adding |lang|pron to the IPAc-en template, which would render as English: /ˈtrən/). I have looked about a bit and while it does seem to be fairly commonplace, I cannot find a source for it that I'd call authoritative. It also seems to be pronounced differently in French (where it seems to be something like /ˈtʁaʒɔ̃/).

I'd also be curious to know what the basis for the pronunciation is, since from what I can tell (mostly based on the Latin spelling and pronunciation article), a standard pronunciation of his name in Latin would be /ˈtraːjaːnʊs/ or /ˈtraːjjaːnʊs/, which is pretty far removed from /ˈtreɪdʒən/. While most of it can be easily explained using standard English phonology/pronunciation rules, on the face of it see no reason why the first vowel should be /eɪ/ rather than /aː/ (as I would expect it to be) and certainly see no reason why it would be more "correct" or "valid" (therefore justifying the pronunciation guide). Is there some standard Latin → English conversion that it uses or is it just convention? Alternatively, is the name Trajan simply an English equivalent to Tráiánus that I am unfamiliar with (e.g. due to it having fallen out of popular use)?

Alphathon /'æɫ.fə.θɒn(talk) 18:23, 29 December 2016 (UTC)

Um. Don't be silly. Nobody I'm aware of writes Trāiānus or says /traːˈjaːnʊs/ in English, and it would be odd to do so. Exonyms exist for good reasons (you didn't even get the Latin stress correct, which is telling), even if many people are confused about this point these days and have misguidedly come to believe that they are "wrong". And all or most Latin names ending in -ānus are Anglicised this way still nowadays, by dropping the -us ending and pronouncing the result as if it were English. /aː/ isn't even an English phoneme, for crying out loud. Why should any native speaker of English needlessly import it? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:41, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
@Alphathon: This is English wikipedia, so the Latin and French pronunciations (and spellings) are irrelevant. We don't pronounce 'Paris' or 'France' anything like the French do, nor do we pronounce 'Julius Caesar' like the Romans did, with a hard-k like in Kaiser. The only relevant issue is how the majority of reliable sources in English pronounce it, and we already know the answer to that. Mathglot (talk) 23:54, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
I think you've both misunderstood me somewhat. I am well aware of what an exonym is and am neither claiming that we should all call him Trāiānus, nor pronounce Trajan as if it were Latin. My points are:
  • Since this is an exonym, it should probably be noted in the lead that the pronunciation is for the English form (probably just using lang|pron| in the {{IPAc-en}} template). The Latin name's pronunciation should probably also be provided alongside for clarity. (The French form is largely irrelevant and was merely presented for comparison.) For comparison, see the many articles on cities with English exonyms (e.g. from the lead of Cologne:  Cologne (English: /kəˈln/; German: Köln, pronounced [kœln], Colognian: Kölle [ˈkœɫə]) ). This would be something like  Trajan (English: /ˈtrən/; Latin: ...Traianus..., Latin pronunciation: [...traːˈjaːnʊs...] . Of course it would probably be somewhat cumbersome to transcribe the long form name Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nervae filius Augustus and I'm not sure there's a good solution to that. It may also be worth noting that the article on Julius Caesar has the Latin pronunciation in the lead (and only the Latin, not that that should form a basis for what this article says of course).
  • What is the basis for the English pronunciation? Is it merely a convention due to common use? Is it actually an English name that has fallen out of common use? Is it a result of spelling pronunciation (which I suspect is how the afore mentioned Caesar shifted)? Is it based on some systematic way of converting Latin names to English? (Of particular interest to me is the vowel /eɪː/, since /ɑː/ (the a in father in standard dialects) is far closer to the original /aː/, at least to my ear. Note that I make no reference to the difference between the English /dʒ/ and the Latin /j/ nor the missing -us since their origins are fairly self-evident.) This part is largely just personal curiosity, but may affect how the text in the lead is worded.
@Mathglot: I know that what is important is how reliable sources pronounce it but as I mentioned I wasn't able to find any and the current IPA has no citation (or at least no inline citation). (This of course doesn't make it false.) Regardless, I didn't claim that it was false but merely that it ran counter to my expectations. If anything I was asking for a source (although I didn't explicitly say so). (In fact that's part of what brought me here: I have read the name many times but only recently heard it spoken and thought "That doesn't sound right: why is it being pronounced /eɪː/?" I then came here and found the same pronunciation asserted but unsourced.) Unfortunately most written sources, which is what is mostly available via search engines etc, don't seem to mention the pronunciation (or at least not that I've been able to find).
@Florian Blaschke: it is somewhat unhelpful to dismiss other users out of hand like that, particularly when you don't even address the point(s) raised. (Whether intentional or not, you are attacking a straw man). What I wrote was "[…] seems like a particularly Anglicised pronunciation. If that is the case it should probably be noted […]" and "I'd also be curious to know what the basis for the pronunciation is, since [it is quite different than the original Latin and modern French]". I in no way claimed that we should be saying Traianus, merely that there is a surprising disparity between the original Latin and the (supposed) modern English pronunciation. It's also worth noting that /aː/ is in fact an English phoneme, just one that doesn't appear in either standard British or American English.
Alphathon /'æɫ.fə.θɒn(talk) 13:20, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
You can search Google for "pronunciation of Trajan" and find as many websites as you like, all of which agree on the pronunciation. Anglicized or not is irrelevant, the quesetion is, how do we pronounce it? How do you pronounce 'flamboyant' or 'et cetera'? Mathglot (talk) 09:48, 22 April 2017 (UTC)