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Roman aureus struck under Trajan, c. 115. The reverse commemorates both Trajan's natural father, Marcus Ulpius Traianus (right), and his adoptive father, the Deified Nerva (left).

Marcus Ulpius Traianus Maior (about 30 - before 100) (Latin: Maior, "the elder") was a Roman senator who lived in the 1st century. He was father of the Roman Emperor Trajan.



Traianus was a member of gens Ulpia. He was born in Spain into a Roman family of Italian stock. His mother is unknown; however, his paternal ancestors moved from Italy and settled in Italica (near modern Seville, Spain) in the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica. His sister was called Ulpia, who would be the mother of praetor Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer (father of Roman Emperor Hadrian). Traianus married a Roman woman called Marcia. They had two children, a daughter called Ulpia Marciana and a son, the future Roman Emperor Trajan. He was the maternal grandfather to Salonina Matidia; a maternal uncle to praetor Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer and a paternal great-uncle to future Roman Emperor Hadrian.


Traianus was the first member of his family to enter the Roman Senate. Before 67, 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 tenth legion legio X Frentensis during the First Jewish–Roman War between 67-68. During this time, he came into favor with the future emperor.

Due to his successes, Vespasian awarded Traianus with the governorship of an unknown Roman province and a consulship in 70. In later years, he served as a Roman Governor of Hispania Baetica, Syria, in 79 or 80 governed an unknown African province and then western Anatolia. During his time in Syria, Traianus prevented a Parthian invasion.


Traianus lived in his final years in honor and distinction. Indirect evidence suggests that he may died before his son became emperor in 98.[1] Around 100, his son Trajan had 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 honor 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, Traianus was deified by his son, and his titulature reads divus Traianus pater.

Nerva–Antonine family tree

  • (1) = 1st spouse
  • (2) = 2nd spouse (not shown)
  • (3) = 3rd spouse
  • SMALL CAPS = posthumously deified (Augusti, Augustae, or other)
  • dotted lines indicate adoption or (in the case of Hadrian and Antinous) lovers
NERVA (r. 96-98)
TRAJAN, adoptive son (r. 98-117)
Aelius Afer
Paulina Major
Libo Rupilius Frugi (3)
L. Vibius Sabinus (1)
Rupilia Annia
M. Annius Verus
Rupilia Faustina
HADRIAN, adoptive son (r. 117-138)
Paulina Minor
Domitia Lucilla
M. Annius Verus
M. Annius Libo
ANTONINUS PIUS, adoptive son (r. 138-161)
Aelius, adoptive son
Julia Paulina
MARCUS AURELIUS, adoptive son (r. 161-180)
Aurelia Fadilla
two infant sons
VERUS, adoptive son (r. 161-169)
COMMODUS (r. 177-192)
nine other children


  1. ^ Bennett (1997), p. 20




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