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Roman Empire at its Greatest

Rome Has Greatest Territorial Possessions in 117 AD

According to historians, Rome reached the peak of its territorial expansion in 117 AD where it is listed on the Bible Timeline with World History when Trajan succeeded in conquering Dacia. It was during that time that Rome gained the reputation of being the most powerful empire in history, as well as the third largest because of its extensive territories. In fact, research shows that there were at least 60 million individuals in Rome during the time of Jesus.

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The Roman Empire (red) and its clients (pink) in 117 AD during the reign of Emperor Trajan.

Trajan’s Goals of Expanding Rome’s Territories

Emperor Trajan had a primary objective of extending the territories of Rome to increase the empire’s power over other nations. Thus, he aimed to reign supreme over another thriving kingdom during that period, which was Parthia. The mighty ruler was able to take over Mesopotamia and Armenia, in 113 AD. His victories fueled his desire to conquer Parthia’s capital, and he succeeded in his attempts to do so. It was in 115 to 116 AD when Trajan captured Ctesiphon, the heart of the kingdom of Parthia.

Upon the conquest of Dacia, numerous revolts were organized in various provinces of Parthia. Eventually, these revolts by the Jewish people resulted to Trajan and his army’s withdrawal from Antioch’s Syrian capital. Being a fearless and wise ruler that he was, Trajan was able to put an end to these Jewish revolts. He also decided to go back to Rome, so he could devise a more effective plan to conquer Parthia once and for all.

Rome’s Territorial Possessions in 117 AD

The Roman Empire expanded greatly under Trajan’s reign. At that time, Rome covered a total area of 5 million square kilometers. As for its inhabitants, there were between 55 and 60 million residents in Rome, and they accounted for about 1/6 to 1/4 of the population throughout the world. Moreover, Antioch, Alexandria and Rome, which were the empire’s three major cities, were double the size of most European cities during that period in history.

The scope of Rome’s territories stretched from the infamous Hadrian’s Wall in northern England up to the banks of the Euphrates, situated in Syria. Also, it also covered the Rhine-Danube river system, the North African plains, Egypt’s Nile Valley, Europe’s flat lands, the Black Sea, and virtually surrounding the Mediterranean. That was how large and rich the Roman Empire was in 117 AD. All of these accomplishments were the outcomes of Trajan’s brilliant schemes and successful attempts at expanding the Roman Empire. Indeed, his remarkable sense of leadership and commitment to his responsibility has helped the empire become one of the most envied during that century.

Continuing Efforts After Trajan’s Rule

When Trajan died near the latter part of 117 AD, Hadrian took his place and aimed to maintain the empire’s power instead of expanding it. During his rule, frontiers were heavily guarded, and borders were firmly defined. To protect the Roman Empire from the threats of invaders, the Hadrian’s Wall was built. It also serves as a visible proof and surviving legacy of the emperor’s success in safeguarding the empire from the barbarians and other potential threats to its safety.

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