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Marcus Ulpius Traianus Maior (c. 29 AD – before 98 AD; Latin: Maior, "the elder") was a Roman senator who lived in the 1st century. He was father to the Roman Emperor Trajan.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus (the Elder)
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. 115 AD, commemorating Marcus Ulpius Traianus after his deification.


Traianus belonged to the gens Ulpia, originating from the Umbrian City of Tuder, and was born and raised in the city of Italica (modern Santiponce, near Seville, Spain) in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica.[1] The Ulpii lived there from 206 BC, when the town was founded by Publius Cornelius Scipio, resettling wounded and invalid veterans of the wars against Carthage.[1] The Ulpii, like the Aelii and the Traii belonged to the leading Hispano-Roman families of the city.[1] From the latter family came a branch of the ancestors of Traianus, which intermarried with the Ulpii, originating the cognomen Traianus.[1] Since the father of Traianus joined the ranks of the Patricians in Rome, it is very likely that his grandfather had already belonged to the Roman Senate.[1] His mother's origin is unknown. His sister Ulpia would be the mother of praetor Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer (father of the Emperor Hadrian). Traianus married a Roman noblewoman called Marcia.[2] She was the elder sister of Marcia Furnilla, the second wife of future Emperor Titus, and consequently was in a position to help the career of her husband.[2] They had two children, a daughter called Ulpia Marciana and a son, the future Roman Emperor Trajan.[2] He was the maternal grandfather to Salonina Matidia; a maternal uncle to praetor Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer and a paternal great-uncle to Hadrian.


Traianus was possibly a senator by the reign of Claudius.[2] Before 67 AD, Traianus might have commanded a legion under the Roman General Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. Under Vespasian (who was the Roman Governor of Judea), Traianus commanded the Legio X Fretensis during the First Jewish–Roman War between 67-68 AD. During this time he came into favour with the future emperor.

As a result of his military successes, Vespasian awarded Traianus the governorship of an unknown Roman province and a suffect consulship. Paul Gallivan dated M. Ulpius Traianus the Elder to 70 based on his arrangement of the fragments of tablet E of the Fasti Ostienses;[3] however, subsequent recovery of fragments allowed Ladislav Vidman to date Ulpius Traianus' tenure to September–October 72.[4] He was appointed governor of Cappadocia-Galatia (70/71 AD). He then served as governor of Syria in 73/74 AD, followed by a term as proconsul of Roman Asia in 79/80 AD. At an unspecified time he served as Governor of Hispania Baetica.[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 98 AD.[6] Around 100 AD his son Trajan founded a colony in North Africa. This colony became a town and was called Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi (modern Timgad, Algeria). His son named this town in honour of him, his late wife and his daughter. The colony’s name is also a tribute to his sister and his paternal ancestors. In 113 AD, Traianus was deified by his son, and his titulature reads divus Traianus pater.

Nerva–Antonine family treeEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Strobel, Karl (2010). Kaiser Traian (in German). Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet. p. 40. ISBN 9783791721729.
  2. ^ a b c d Strobel, Karl (2010). Kaiser Traian (in German). Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet. p. 41. ISBN 9783791721729.
  3. ^ Gallivan, "The Fasti for A. D. 70-96", Classical Quarterly, 31 (1981), p. 187
  4. ^ Ladislaus Vidman, ed., Fasti Ostienses, Second edition (Prague: Academia, 1982), pp. 73-75
  5. ^ Werner Eck, "Jahres- und Provinzialfasten der senatorischen Statthalter von 69/70 bis 138/139", Chiron, 12 (1982), pp. 281-362
  6. ^ Bennett (1997), p. 20