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It is generally acknowledged that the Roman Empire reached its geographical zenith during Trajan's reign. Listening to the highly interesting History of Rome podcast I didn't notice any major territorial losses at least until Severus who seemed in fact to have enlarged the empire.

How does the extent of the Roman empire under Trajan compare to that under Severus? What territories were lost or abandoned after Trajan?

Denarius of Trajan Extent of Roman Empire under Trajan

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Hadrian abandoned today's Irak to the Parthians IIRC. –  Alain Pannetier Jul 11 '12 at 15:52

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Answering my own question: Wikipedia has interesting graphics comparing the extend of the empire under the two emperors. Although the maps are not of the same size (Trajan's is slightly larger) there is very little to choose from between them. Current Iraq is missing but there are additional conquests in Scotland, Africa and Arabia.

From Historum.com (authorSylla1) "Contrary to common belief, the maximal extension of this empire was reached not during the little more than two years (114-116) of nominal military occupation of the Parthian Mesopotamia & Armenia, which were never "romanized". The maximal effective extension of the Roman Empire was under Severus I, when large portions of land of Mesopotamia, North Africa and the trans-Danubian border were acquired in a more stable (centuries-long) way, i.e. they were regularly romanized. For some months under this ruler (208-211) most of Caledonia was militarily occupied too; naturally, it was never romanized either."

Trajan enter image description here

Severus enter image description here

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