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This webpage reproduces a section of
A Description of the Trajan Column
by John Hungerford Pollen

printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode,
printers to Queen Victoria
London, 1874

Text and engravings are in the public domain.
Any color photographs are © William P. Thayer 1997-


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p77

The interval between the two Dacian Wars

Trajan returned to Rome, and was honoured by the senate with the title of Dacicus. Dion Cassius and Pliny bear witness to the enthusiasm of the Romans at the return of a monarch whose entire conduct had endeared him so much to all classes of the citizens. He declined the honours of a triumph, and entered the city on foot, distinguished by his stature, being a head taller than the generality of his soldiers, and bare-headed, as he is usually represented on the column. Every portico, cornice, wall, and ledge on which a footing could be had in the streets through which the procession passed were crowded with eager spectators.

To reward the army and increase the general joy, Trajan held one of the greatest exhibitions seen for a long period of gladiatorial combats, public games, and sacrifices. Dancers were again introduced into the theatres, and Trajan seems to have taken a personal pleasure in restoring an entertainment which other Roman rulers had the grace to have banished from the public shows.

When these festivities were ended, Trajan devoted himself to the most diligent supervision, and to a large share in the personal administration of public affairs. For civil administration he had both talent and sagacity. Though given to gross debauchery, he had the wisdom to give general orders that no commands given after prolonged drinking bouts should be executed, at any rate, immediately.93 He rose after these excesses and devoted himself to the hearing of causes and the diligent administration of justice, entered into the details of the civil administration, and originated many wise and prudent measures specially for the bringing up of orphans and the poor, the improvement of land and police, and the rebuilding and adornment of the cities and harbours of the Empire.94 p78

PREPARATION FOR A SECOND WAR

During these peaceful labours the restless ambition of Decebalus again threatened the Roman occupation. The first sign of disturbance seems, according to Dion,95 to have been an expedition against the Jazyges across the Theiss. Roman and other deserters were again seduced to his pay, and probably engineers amongst the number. Trajan determined on reducing this turbulent province. The Senate declared these rebels public enemies, and exhorted the emperor to use all the power of the state in bringing them into subjection. Trajan at once determined to undertake a second war in person, and this time to do the work of subjection and annexation thoroughly.


The Author's Notes:

93 Victor. Caes. 13.

94 Merivale.

95 Dion Cass. LXVIII.10.


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Page updated: 27 Nov 01