Front Matter The First Settlers Escape from the Burning City The Clever Trick The Boards Are Eaten The Wolf and the Twins Romulus Builds Rome The Maidens Carried Off Union of Sabines and Romans Death of Romulus Strange Signs of the Romans The Quarrel with Alba The Horatii and Curiatii Tarquin and the Eagle The Roman Youths The King Outwitted The Murder of Tarquin The Ungrateful Children The Mysterious Books Tarquin's Poppies The Oracle of Delphi The Death of Lucretia The Stern Father A Roman Triumph A Roman Triumph (Cont.) Defense of the Bridge The Burnt Hand The Twin Gods The Wrongs of the Poor Fable of the Stomach The Story of Coriolanus The Farmer Hero The New Laws Death of Virginia Plans of a Traitor A School-Teacher Punished Invasion of the Gauls The Sacred Geese Two Heroes of Rome Disaster at Caudine Forks Pyrrhus and His Elephants The Elephants Routed Ancient Ships Regulus and the Snake Hannibal Crosses the Alps The Romans Defeated The Inventor Archimedes The Roman Conquests Destruction of Carthage Roman Amusements The Jewels of Cornelia Death of Tiberius Gracchus Caius Gracchus Jugurtha, King of Numidia The Barbarians The Social War The Flight of Marius The Proscription Lists Sertorius and His Doe Revolt of the Slaves Pompey's Conquests Conspiracy of Catiline Caesar's Conquests Crossing of the Rubicon Battle of Pharsalia The Death of Caesar The Second Triumvirate The Vision of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra The Poisonous Snake The Augustan Age Death of Augustus Varus Avenged Death of Germanicus Tiberius Smothered The Wild Caligula Wicked Wives of Claudius Nero's First Crimes Christians Persecuted Nero's Cruelty Two Short Reigns The Siege of Jerusalem The Buried Cities The Terrible Banquet The Emperor's Tablets The Good Trajan Trajan's Column The Great Wall Hadrian's Death Antoninus Pius The Model Pagan Another Cruel Emperor An Unnatural Son The Senate of Women The Gigantic Emperor Invasion of the Goths Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra A Prophecy Fulfulled First Christian Emperor Roman Empire Divided An Emperor's Penance Sieges of Rome End of the Western Empire

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

Trajan's Column

You remember, do you not, how the cowardly Domitian bought peace from the Dacians, and then came back to Rome, saying that he had conquered them? Well, this peace did not last very long, and during the reign of Trajan the Dacians again began to make raids into the Roman territory.

To repulse them, the emperor himself led an army into their country, and won so many victories that they begged for peace. Then, on his return to Rome, he received the honors of a triumph, and the surname of "The Dacian."

In the very next year, however, the war broke out again. This time Trajan kept on fighting until the Dacians were completely conquered, and their king had killed himself in despair. Then all Dacia became a Roman province, and the emperor received a second and much more magnificent triumph.

Shortly after this, Trajan was forced to fight the Parthians, descendants of the Persians who had once invaded Greece. He won great victories over them also, and added a large province called Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire. During this campaign, he visited Babylon, which was rapidly falling into ruins, and saw the palace where Alexander the Great had died more than four hundred years before.

To commemorate the victories of Trajan, a column was erected in Rome. It still stands there perfectly preserved, and still bears the name of the good emperor.


Trajan's Column.

While Trajan was in Asia, he was taken ill, and he died before he could reach Rome, although his dearest wish had been to breathe his last among his own people. In memory of him, the city where he died was named Trajanopolis ("City of Trajan").

You will doubtless be surprised to hear that this emperor, who was so good and charitable as a rule, persecuted the Christians sorely. Many of them even suffered martyrdom by his order; but this was because he believed that they were wicked and perverse.

Trajan, it is said, had been taught by Plutarch, a well-known writer, who related the lives of prominent men in a very fascinating way. In his book of Lives, which has been translated into English, you will find many of the stories which you have read here, for Plutarch wrote about all the greatest men in Roman history. He also compared them with the great men of Greece, whose lives he told in the same volume.

During this reign, also, lived Tacitus, the great Roman historian, Juvenal, the poet, and Pliny the Younger, who wrote a famous oration in praise of the emperor. This speech has been preserved, and when you have learned Latin, you will read it with great interest.

Such was the respect that the Romans felt for Trajan that during the next two hundred years the senators always addressed a new emperor by saying: "Reign fortunately as Augustus, virtuously as Trajan!" Thus, you see, the memory of a man's good deeds is very lasting; even now Trajan's name is honored, and people still praise him for the good he did while he was emperor of Rome.