Italia restituta : the politics of Trajan’s signature program
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Table of Contents
The term Italia restituta refers to Trajan’s domestic political program, aimed at bolstering infrastructure and population on the Italian peninsula. I first discuss Trajan’s imperial legacy, then his political philosophy. Then I provide an overview of the history of roads and related institutions overseen by the Roman state, and how they were involved in the reign of Augustus, Trajan’s most distinguished predecessor who had a political program known as tota Italia. I then transition to discussion of Trajan’s alimenta program (intended to incentivize having children), then to his most notable commemorative monuments, the Arch at Beneventum and the Column of Trajan. After discussing the attitudes of contemporary high imperial historians, I explore Trajan’s perceptions of republican sentiment, which support my central argument that the emperor reclaimed and transformed republican virtues that had been abandoned or compromised in the previous century. I take into account the fact that Trajan inhabited a very different world than that of the republic or even the early empire, and that this domestic program was balanced by the enlargement of Roman territory to its greatest extent. Lastly, I describe what purpose this served and to what extent Trajan was successful in his endeavor.