Trajan was governor of Upper Germany when he was adopted by the emperor Nerva and made heir to the throne. He became emperor when Nerva died in A.D. 98. Trajan was a professional soldier who had worked his way up through the ranks. He had served honorably with Domitian as a general in his German campaigns. While Nerva was not trusted by the army because he was suspected of being involved in the murder of their favorite emperor Domitian, Trajan was liked by the soldiers because he was one of them. He continued to lead his Roman legions to conquer so much more territory that by the time of his death in A.D. 117, the Roman Empire covered more territory than at any other time in its 700 year history. Out of his conquests in the Middle East, he added four new Roman provinces. He even defeated Parthia, Rome' traditional arch enemy in the East and set a puppet king on the throne. He died of an illness in A.D. 117 while on his way to put down revolts in the provinces. On his death bed, he nominated Hadrian as his heir and successor. This practice of an emperor selecting a capable individual and adopting him as his son was to serve the empire well for the next eighty years.
Trajan was also a good ruler at home and completed many building projects of great benefit to the people. He repaired and built many new roads, bridges, and aqueducts throughout the empire, improving the water supply of many towns and making travel much faster and easier.
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