The Ancient Library

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Maesia. Longinus, one of the generals of Trajan was surprised by Decebalus in an ambuscade, and the Dacian king offered to restore him, if Trajan would grant peace, restore the country as far as the Danube, and pay the expenses of the war. Trajan, who could not accept such terms as these, gave an evasive answer, and in the mean time Longinus relieved the emperor from his difficulty by poison­ing himself. In order to effect a communication with the country north of the Danube, Apollo-dorus the architect constructed, by Trajan's com­mand, a bridge over the river, which is described by Dion Ca&sius (Ixviii. 13, and the valuable note of Reimarus), though his description is inaccurate, and his measurements exaggerated. " When the water is very low, some of the piles stand two or three feet above it." (Wilkirison's Wallacliia and Moldavia, p. 5.) The bridge was built at a place called Szernecz. The piers were of enormous size, but the arches were constructed of wood. Trajan crossed the Danube on his new bridge, and entered Dacia. He found great obstacles in this county, where there were no roads, and every thing was almost in a state of nature. Hadrian commanded a legion under the emperor, and greatly distin­guished himself in this Dacian campaign. De­cebalus being defeated on every side, killed himself, and his head was carried to Rome. Dacia was re­duced to the form of a Roman province ; strong forts were built in various places, and Roman co­lonies were planted. It is generally supposed that the column at Rome called the Column of Trajan was erected to commemorate his Dacian victories. On his return Trajan had a triumph, and he ex­hibited games to the people for one hundred and twenty-three days, a time long enough to satisfy the avidity of the Romans for these spectacles. Eleven thousand animals were slaughtered during these amusements ; and an army of gladiators, ten thousand men, gratified the Romans by killing one another. We must assume that there was at least another army as large to prevent the outbreak of so many desperate men. Probably many of these gladiators were prisoners. (a. d. 105.)

About this time Arabia Petraea was subjected to the empire by A. Cornelius Palma, the governor of Syria ; and an Indian embassy came to Rome.

Trajan constructed a road across the Pomptine marshes, and built magnificent bridges across the streams. Buildings, probably mansiones, were con­structed by the side of this road. He also called in all the old money, and issued a new coinage.

In the autumn of B. c. J 06 Trajan left Rome to make war on the Armenians and the - Parthians. The pretext for the war was that Exedares, the king of Armenia, had received the diadem from the Parthian king, and he ought to have received it from the Roman emperor, as Tiridates had received it from Nero. When Chosroes, the Parthian king, knew that Trajan was seriously bent on war, he sent ambassadors, who found Trajan at Athens, and, in the name of Chosroes, offered him presents, and informed him that Chosroes had deposed Exe­dares, and begged him to confer the crown on Par-thamasiris. Trajan refused his presents, and said that when he arrived in Syria he would do what was proper. He reached Seleucia in Syria in the month of December, and entered Antioch early in the following January. The evidence for the in­terview at Antioch between the emperor and Igna-tius, which ended in the condemnation of Ignatius,


is stated elsewhere [ignatius]. The circumstance^ as told, are exceedingly improbable, and sound cri« ticism would lead us to reject the genuineness of the narrative contained in the Martyrdom of Ig­natius on the internal evidence alone.

From Antioch Trajan marched to Armenia, by way of Samosata, on the Euphrates, which he took. He thence advanced to Satala, and Elegia, a town in Armenia, where he granted Parthamasiris an interview. Parthamasiris had already written to Trajan, and in his letter he assumed the title of king. Trajan sent no answer, and he wrote again, dropping the title of king, and prayed that M. Junius, governor of Cappadocia, might be sent to him : Trajan sent to him the son of Junius. The Armenian king took the diadem from his head, and placed it at the feet of Trajan, who sat on his tribunal within the Roman camp. He expected that Trajan would give it back to him, but he was told that Armenia was now a Roman province, and he was sent away escorted by some horsemen. The kings of tne countries bordering on Armenia made a form of submission to the Roman emperor ; the king of the Iberi, of the Sauromatae, of Colchis, and others.

Trajan returned by way of Edessa, where he was well received by the cautious Abgarus, king of Osrhoene, who now made his apology for not having paid the emperor a visit at Antioch, and through the interest of his son Arbandes, whom Trajan had seen and liked, the king of Osrhoene was excused for his former want of respect. The transactions with some of the petty chieftains of Mesopotamia hardly merit a notice, but military operations in this country are dangerous enough even without a formidable enemy, and the emperor set his soldiers an example of endurance, which may have been an act of prudence as of hardihood. The town of Singar (Sinjar) is one of those which are mentioned as having been taken by the Romans. The history of this campaign of Trajan is lost, and the few scattered notices that remain of it do not enable us to construct even a probable narrative. In fact the period from a. d. 108 to a. d. 115 is nearly a blank ; it is even doubful whether Trajan ever returned to Rome. The year a. d. 112 was the sixth and last consulship of Trajan, and there is some slight evidence which renders it probable that he was at Rome in this year.

In the spring of A. d. 115 he left Syria on his Parthian expedition. He had constructed boats of the timber which the forests near Nisibis supplied, and they were conveyed on waggons to the Tigris, for the formation of a bridge of boats. lie crossed the river and advanced into the country of Auiabene, an event which is recorded by an extant medal. The Avhole of this country, in which were situated Gaugamela and Arbela, places memorable in the history of Alexander, was subdued. From Adia-bene he marched to Babylon, according to Dion Cassius (Ixviii. 26), and he must therefore have re-crossed the Tigris. His course was through the desert to the Euphrates, and past the site of Hit (Is), where he saw the springs of bitumen, which was used for cement at Babylon, and which He­rodotus has described. Trajan meditated (Dion Cass.) the formation of a canal from the Euphrates to the Tigris, in order that he might convey his boats along it, and construct a bridge over the lower course of the Tigris. We must suppose that the bridge of boats over the upper Tigris in Adia-

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