*Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
There are dozens of empires which have shaped the world today, though only Rome could be said to have the greatest effect on Western traditions. Throughout its reign, a variety of men took the helm and steered it to vast financial and territorial dominance, but none managed to expand the Roman footprint as much as Marcus Ulpius Traianus, the emperor who stretched the empire to its greatest size. Born on September 18, 53 in what is now southern Spain, Trajan would go on to become regarded as one of the Five Good Emperors historians have picked out near the middle of Rome’s history.
The city of Italica, Hispania Baetica — near Seville — had become a haven for the Ulpis family, serving as the ancestral home for more than 250 years before Trajan’s birth (and lasting long after his death). When he came into the world on September 18, 53, he became the newest member of a very prominent family, welcomed by a father who served as a senator and general for the region.
In his late teens and early twenties, he worked his way up in the Roman army, gaining a reputation as a soldier’s commander while fighting in some of the most brutal combat the edges of the Roman Empire had to offer. …(Read more)