Marcus Ulpius Traianus (father of Trajan)

Marcus Ulpius Traianus (c. AD 29 – before 98) was a Roman senator who lived in the first century. He was father to the Roman Emperor Trajan.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus
Bust of Marcus Ulpius Traianus the Elder at the National Museum of Serbia.jpg
Bust of Marcus Ulpius Traianus at the National Museum of Serbia, Belgrade
Bornc. 29 AD
Diedbefore 98 AD (aged around 69)
IssueTrajan and Ulpia Marciana
Reverse of Roman aureus struck under Trajan, c. AD 115, commemorating the elder Marcus Ulpius Traianus after his deification.


Traianus belonged to a family of the gens Ulpia, which originally came from the Umbrian city of Tuder, but he was born and raised in the Roman colony of Italica, north of modern Santiponce and northwest of Seville, in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica.[1] The town was founded in 206 BC by Scipio Africanus, as a settlement for wounded and invalid veterans of the wars against Carthage.[1] The Ulpii, like the Aelii and the Traii, were among the leading Roman families of the city.[1] From the latter family came the ancestors of Traianus, who intermarried with the Ulpii, giving rise to the cognomen Traianus.[1] Since the father of Traianus joined the ranks of the patricians in Rome, it is very likely that his grandfather was already a member of the Roman Senate.[1] The ancestry of Traianus' mother is unknown. His sister Ulpia was the mother of Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, and grandmother of the emperor Hadrian. Traianus married a Roman noblewoman named Marcia.[2] She was the elder sister of Marcia Furnilla, the second wife of Titus, which enabled her to further her husband's career.[2] They had two children: a daughter, Ulpia Marciana, and a son, Marcus, the future emperor Trajan.[2]


The chronology of Traianus' career is uncertain. He may have taken his seat in the senate by the reign of Claudius.[2] In the time of Nero, he may have commanded a legion under the general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo; during the First Jewish-Roman War, from AD 67 to 68, he came into favour with the future emperor Vespasian, then governor of Judaea, under whom he commanded the Tenth Legion. After his accession to the Empire, Vespasian recognized Traianus' military successes by awarding him the governorship of Cappadocia, and naming him consul suffectus for the months of September and October in AD 72.[a] After his consulship, Trajan served as governor of Syria from 73 to 74, then proconsul of Asia from 79 to 80. He was also governor of Hispania Baetica, but the time of this appointment is unknown.[5] During his time in Syria, Traianus prevented a Parthian invasion.


Traianus lived out his final years in honor and distinction. Indirect evidence suggests that he may have died before his son became emperor in AD 98.[6] Around 100, his son founded a colony in North Africa, named Colonia Marciana Ulpia Trajana Thamugadi after his father; today the town is known as Timgad, in Algeria. In 113, the elder Traianus was deified by his son, and his titulature is Divus Traianus Pater.[citation needed]

Nerva–Antonine family treeEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gallivan dated Trajan's consulship to AD 70, based on his arrangement of the fragments of tablet 'E' of the Fasti Ostienses;[3] however, subsequent recovery of fragments allowed Vidman to date his tenure to the months of September and October of 72.[4]



  1. ^ a b c d e Strobel 2010, p. 40.
  2. ^ a b c d Strobel 2010, p. 41.
  3. ^ Gallivan 1981, p. 187.
  4. ^ Vidman, Ladislav (1982). Fasti Ostienses (in Latin). Prague: Academia. pp. 73–75. OCLC 220156633.
  5. ^ Eck, Werner (1982). "Jahres- und Provinzialfasten der senatorischen Statthalter von 69/70 bis 138/139". Chiron. Mitteilungen der Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 12.1982 (12): 281–362. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  6. ^ Bennett 1997, p. 20.

Works citedEdit

General sourcesEdit