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Jurriaan Gouw

Classics, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Understanding Power and Post-Truth Politics in the Age of Nerva and Trajan

My research aims to examine the rise of the Roman Emperor Trajan (CE 98-117) using a prosopographic method. Epigraphic and documentary evidence filling in gaps in the extremly pro-Trajan literary sources. By considering who held which command or political positions through their respective careers, I will build a picture of how Trajan was able to emerge as the successor to Nerva, from a position of relative obscurity under the Flavians.

This will lead into a discussion and analysis of the literary works of Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and more, who display clear pro-Trajanic biases which blur our understanding of his pre-Imperial career. By examining these sources from the angle of post-truth politics, and the way modern perceptions of Trajan were built on European ideals of Empire, I will demonstrate the way Trajan survives to us as one of the “good emperors”.

Research Area

  • Classics
  • Epigraphy and Papyrology


International Ancient Warfare Conference Bonn 2023 - Presented MA Research: "The role of the Praetorian Guard in the Assassination of Domitian and rise of Trajan" - 22-24th June 2023.

Public Engagement & Impact

Literacy Through Latin, University of Edinburgh Classics Society 2020/21 - Helped fund our Latin teaching in local schools as Treasurer of the Society.

Other Research Interests

Broad interest in military history through ancient and medieval world.

Political history through the Late Roman Republic.

Alexander the Great and the wars/politics of the Diadochi in the Hellenistic period.