Piers Plowman


William Langland

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Piers Plowman can help.
Trajan is the ex-Roman Emperor who lived his life as a non-Christian but was saved from Hell by Saint Gregory the Great. Trajan was ultimately allowed to reside in the lowest part of Heaven—an event covered by Anima in his teachings to Will. Trajan himself becomes one of Will’s teachers in a dream-within-a-dream, where his teachings mainly focus on the power of love.

Trajan Quotes in Piers Plowman

The Piers Plowman quotes below are all either spoken by Trajan or refer to Trajan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Nortona & Company edition of Piers Plowman published in 2006.
Passus XI Quotes

And let folk of all factions, whether friends or enemies,
Love each other and help each other as they would themselves.
Whoever lends no help loves not, the Lord knows the truth,
And he commands every creature to conform himself to love
Other Christians as himself and his enemies as well.
For whoever hates us it’s our merit to love.

Related Characters: Trajan (speaker), Will
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
Passus XII Quotes

“All these clerks,” I declared then, “that believe in Christ’s teaching,
Say in their sermons that neither Saracens nor Jews
Nor any creature of Christ’s likeness can be saved without Christendom.”

“Contra!” exclaimed Imaginative…
…“Salvabitur vix Justus in die judicii;
Ergo salvabitur.”

Related Characters: Will (speaker), Imaginative (speaker), Trajan
Page Number: 199-200
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Piers Plowman LitChart as a printable PDF.
Piers Plowman PDF

Trajan Character Timeline in Piers Plowman

The timeline below shows where the character Trajan appears in Piers Plowman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Passus XI
Love Theme Icon
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
...faith. Scripture claims that people are only saved by faith in Jesus, but Roman Emperor Trajan appears and objects to Scripture’s conception of salvation. Trajan explains that he was an “unchristian... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Corruption Theme Icon
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
Labor vs. Idleness Theme Icon
Trajan explains that “Law without love” is worthless, as are all crafts that are not learned... (full context)
Passus XII
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
Imaginative points out that although Trajan, the non-Christian Roman Emperor, was saved from Hell, “he is lodged in the lowest part... (full context)
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
...exclaims in Latin, “Salvabitur vix Justus in die judicii; / Ergo salvabitur.”  As for why Trajan was saved from Hell even though he was not a Christian, Imaginative explains that “there... (full context)