|14th Emperor of the Roman Empire|
|Reign||10 August 117 – 10 July 138|
|Father||Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer|
24 January 76|
Italica, Hispania (uncertain)
|Died||10 July 138
2) Gardens of Domitia
3) Hadrian's Mausoleum (Rome)
Hadrian (//; Latin: Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus;[note 1][note 2] 24 January, 76 AD – 10 July, 138 AD) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. He is also known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. Hadrian was regarded by some as a humanist and was philhellene in most of his tastes. He is regarded as one of the Five Good Emperors.
Hadrian was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus into a Hispano-Roman family. Although Italica near Santiponce (in modern-day Spain) is often considered his birthplace, his place of birth remains uncertain. However, it is generally accepted that he comes of a family with centuries-old roots in Hispania. His predecessor Trajan was a maternal cousin of Hadrian's father. Trajan never officially designated an heir, but according to his wife Pompeia Plotina, Trajan named Hadrian emperor immediately before his death. Trajan's wife and his friend Licinius Sura were well-disposed towards Hadrian, and he may well have owed his succession to them.
During his reign, Hadrian traveled to nearly every province of the Empire. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He used his relationship with his Greek lover Antinous to underline his philhellenism and led to the creation of one of the most popular cults of ancient times. He spent extensive amounts of his time with the military; he usually wore military attire and even dined and slept amongst the soldiers. He ordered military training and drilling to be more rigorous and even made use of false reports of attack to keep the army alert.
Upon his accession to the throne, Hadrian withdrew from Trajan's conquests in Mesopotamia and Armenia, and even considered abandoning Dacia. Late in his reign he suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea, renaming the province Syria Palaestina. In 136 an ailing Hadrian adopted Lucius Aelius as his heir, but the latter died suddenly two years later. In 138, Hadrian resolved to adopt Antoninus Pius if he would in turn adopt Marcus Aurelius and Aelius' son Lucius Verus as his own eventual successors. Antoninus agreed, and soon afterward Hadrian died at Baiae.
- 1 Sources
- 2 Early life
- 3 Public service
- 4 Emperor (117)
- 5 Hadrian's travels
- 5.1 Purpose
- 5.2 Britannia (122)
- 5.3 Africa, Parthia and Anatolia (123-124)
- 5.4 Greece (124-125)
- 5.5 Return to Italy and trip to Africa (126-128)
- 5.6 Greece, Asia, and Egypt (128–130)
- 5.7 Greece and the East; return to Rome (130-133)
- 5.8 Legal reforms and State apparatus
- 5.9 Hadrian and Judea; Second Roman-Jewish War and Jewish persecution (132–136)
- 5.10 In Rabbinic literature
- 6 Final years
- 7 Nerva–Antonine family tree
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
As is the case with his predecessor, Trajan, we lack a continuous account of the political history of Hadrian's reign. What we have in the way of such an account is, as on Trajan's reign, Book 69 of the Roman History by Cassius Dio. Dio's original text of this particular book is lost: what survives is a brief, much later, Byzantine era abridgment by the Eleventh Century monk Xiphilinius, who made a selection on Dio's account of Hadrian's reign based on his mostly religious interests, covering the Bar Kokhba war relatively fully, to the exclusion of much else. Hadrian is the first imperial biography of the Historia Augusta, but the notorious unreliability of that work ("a mish mash of actual fact, Cloak and dagger, Sword and Sandal, with a sprinkling of Ubu Roi") does not allow for using it as a source without care. Hadrian's biography is generally considered to be relatively free of fictional additions. Contemporary Greek authors such as Philostratus and Pausanias, who wrote shortly after Hadrian's reign, offer information on Hadrian's relations with the provincial Greek world, and Fronto, in his Latin correspondence, sheds some light on the general character of the reign's internal policies. As in the case of Trajan, using epigraphical, numismatic, archaeological and other non-literary sources is absolutely necessary in tracing a detailed historical account.
Hadrian was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus in either Italica or Rome, from a well-established, ethnically Hispanic family with centuries-old roots in Italica, Hispania Baetica (the republican Hispania Ulterior), near the present-day location of Seville, Spain.
Although it was an accepted part of Hadrian's personal history that he was born in Spain, his Historia Augusta biography states that he was born in Rome on 24 January 76, of an ethnically Hispanic with vague paternal links to Italy. However, this may be a complimentary fiction coined in order to make Hadrian appear as a natural-born Roman instead of a provincial, since his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were all born and raised in Hispania. His father was Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, who as a senator of praetorian rank would spend much of his time in Rome, away from his homeland of Hispania.
Hadrian's known paternal ancestry can be partially linked to a family from Hadria, modern Atri, an ancient town of Picenum in Italy. This family had settled in Italica in Hispania Baetica soon after its founding by Scipio Africanus several centuries before Hadrian's birth. His father Afer, was a paternal cousin of the future Emperor Trajan. Both Afer and Trajan were born and raised in Hispania. His mother was Domitia Paulina who came from Gades (Cádiz). Paulina was a daughter of a distinguished Hispano-Roman Senatorial family. His paternal great-grandmother is of unknown origin, which means that the exact amount of his paternal ancestry that can actually be linked to Italy(outside of nonspecific claims of forebears from Picenum from centuries earlier) is ultimately unknown.
Hadrian’s elder sister and only sibling was Aelia Domitia Paulina, married with the triple consul Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus, his niece was Julia Serviana Paulina and his great-nephew was Gnaeus Pedanius Fuscus Salinator, from Barcino (Barcelona). His parents died in 86 when Hadrian was ten, and the boy then became a ward of both Trajan and Publius Acilius Attianus (who was later Trajan’s Praetorian Prefect). Hadrian was schooled in various subjects particular to young aristocrats of the day, and was so fond of learning Greek literature that he was nicknamed Graeculus ("Greekling").
Hadrian visited Italica when (or never left it until) he was 14 years old, when he was recalled by Trajan, who thereafter looked after his development. He never returned to Italica although it was later made a colonia in his honour.
After his start at the vigintivirate, Hadrian's first military service was as a tribune of the Legio II Adiutrix. Excepcionally, he held a second tribunate when he was afterwards transferred to Legio V Macedonica and in such a capacity was chosen to inform Trajan of his adoption by Nerva. He was then retained in Germany - presumably on Trajan's orders - and was transferred to hold an even more excepcional third tribunate in Legio XXII Primigenia. When Nerva died in 98, Hadrian rushed to inform Trajan personally, coming in advance of the official envoy sent by the governor, Hadrian's brother-in-law and rival Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus - but this may be a fiction coined by Hadrian himself.
In 101, Hadrian began his senatorial career by being chosen quaestor , and afterwards Tribune of the Plebs. During the First Dacian War, he was a member of Trajan's personal entourage. During the Second Dacian War, he became legate of a legion - Legio I Minervia - and then went to be governor of Lower Pannonia. The fact that he had three spells of military service – instead of just one or two, as was customary to the regular senator – points to a thorough military career.
It was at this time that he married Trajan's grandniece, Vibia Sabina, in a move that seems to have been conceived by the empress Plotina, on whose favour he always counted. However, Trajan seemed to be far less enthusiastic, and that perhaps explains the downturn experienced by Hadrian's fortunes late during Trajan's reign. Hadrian failed to achieve the honor of a regular consulate before his own reign, being only suffect consul for 108. He was also archon in Athens for a brief time, and was elected an Athenian citizen. The Athenians awarded Hadrian an statue with the already mentioned inscription in the Theater of Dionysus offering a detailed account of his cursus honorum, which confirms and expands the one in Historia Augusta. Hadrian's career before Trajan's death was a regular one for a high ranking Roman senator, but without any particular distinction befitting a heir designate. After the 112 Athenian archontate, we hear no more of Hadrian before Trajan's Parthian War, and it's possible that he remained in Greece until being summoned into the imperial retinue.
His career before becoming emperor, as attested by epigraphy, follows:
- decemvir stlitibus iudicandis
- sevir turmae equitum Romanorum
- praefectus Urbi feriarum Latinarum
- tribunus militum legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis (95, in Pannonia Inferior)
- tribunus militum legionis V Macedonicae (96, in Moesia Inferior)
- tribunus militum legionis XXII Primigeniae Piae Fidelis (97, in Germania Superior)
- quaestor (101)
- ab actis senatus
- tribunus plebis (105)
- praetor (106)
- legatus legionis I Minerviae Piae Fidelis (106, in Germania Inferior)
- legatus Augusti pro praetore Pannoniae Inferioris (107)
- consul suffectus (108)
- septemvir epulonum (before 112)
- sodalis Augustalis (before 112)
- archon Athenis (112/13)
- legatus Syriae (117).
Hadrian was involved in the wars against the Dacians (as legate of the V Macedonica) and reputedly won awards from Trajan for his successes. Hadrian's military skill is not well-attested due to a lack of military action during his reign; however, his keen interest in and knowledge of the army and his demonstrated skill of leadership show possible strategic talent.
Hadrian joined Trajan's expedition against Parthia as a legate on Trajan’s staff. Neither during the first victorious phase, nor during the second phase of the war when rebellion swept Mesopotamia did Hadrian do anything of note. However, when the governor of Syria had to be sent to sort out renewed troubles in Dacia, Hadrian was appointed as a replacement, giving him an independent command.
Trajan, seriously ill by that time, decided to return to Rome while Hadrian remained in Syria to guard the Roman rear. Trajan only got as far as Selinus before he became too ill to go further. While Hadrian may have been the obvious choice as successor, he had never been adopted as Trajan's heir. As Trajan lay dying, nursed by his wife, Plotina (a supporter of Hadrian), he at last adopted Hadrian as heir. Since the document was signed by Plotina, it has been suggested that Trajan may have already been dead.
Hadrian quickly secured the support of the legions – one potential opponent, the Moorish prince and outstanding general Lusius Quietus, was promptly dismissed: by taking from Quietus his personal guard of Moorish auxiliaries, Hadrian could afterwards safely relieve him from his post as governor of Judea. The Senate's endorsement followed when possibly falsified papers of adoption from Trajan were presented (although he had been the ward of Trajan). The rumour of a falsified document of adoption carried little weight – Hadrian's legitimacy arose from the endorsement of the Senate and the Syrian armies. Nevertheless, various public ceremonies were organized – and Egyptian papyri tell of one organized between 117 and 118 CE – extolling the fact that Hadrian had been divinely chosen by his deified father and by the gods themselves.
Hadrian did not at first go to Rome – he was busy sorting out the East and suppressing the Jewish revolt that had broken out under Trajan, then moving on to sort out the Danube frontier. Instead, Attianus, Hadrian's former guardian, was put in charge in Rome. There he "discovered" a conspiracy involving four leading Senators including Lusius Quietus and demanded of the Senate their deaths.
There was no question of a public trial—they were hunted down and killed out of hand. Because Hadrian was not in Rome at the time, he was able to claim that Attianus had acted on his own initiative. According to Elizabeth Speller, the real reason for their deaths was that they were Trajan's men. Or better, the reason for their elimination is simply that all four were prominent senators of consular rank and, as such, prospective candidates for the imperial office (capaces imperii). Also, the four consulars were the chiefs of war hawk group of senators that was committed to Trajan's expansionist policies, which Hadrian intended to change. The consistent refusal of Hadrian to expand frontiers was to remain a bone of contention between him and the Senate throughout his reign.
Hadrian's instrument for getting rid of the four consulars, the Praetorian Prefect Attianus, was made a senator and promoted to consular rank, being afterwards discarded by Hadrian, who suspected his personal ambition. It's probable that Attianus was executed (or was already dead ) by the end of Hadrian's reign. The four consulars episode, however, was to strain Hadrian's relations with the Senate for his entire reign. This tense relationship – and Hadrian's authoritarian stance towards the Senate – was acknowledged one generation later by Fronto, himself a senator, who wrote in one of his letters to Marcus Aurelius that "“I praised the deified Hadrian, your grandfather, in the senate on a number of occasions with great enthusiasm, and I did this willingly, too [...] But, if it can be said – respectfully acknowledging your devotion towards your grandfather – I wanted to appease and assuage Hadrian as I would Mars Gradivus or Dis Pater, rather than to love him". The strain in the relationship between Hadrian and the Senate, however, never took the form of an overt confrontation, as had happened during the reigns of other previous "bad" emperors: Hadrian knew how to remain aloof in order to avoid an open clash. The Senate's political role, however, was effaced behind Hadrian's personal rule (in Ronald Syme's view, Hadrian "was a Führer, a Duce, a Caudillo"). The fact that Hadrian was to spend half of his reign away from Rome in constant travel undoubtedly helped the management of this strained relationship. Hadrian, however, underscored the autocratic character of his reign by counting the day of his acclamation by the armies as his dies imperiii and by enforcing new laws through imperial decree (as constitution) instead of having them approved by the Senate as a formality.
Hadrian and the military
Despite his own great reputation as a military administrator, Hadrian's reign was marked by a general lack of documented major military conflicts, apart from the Second Roman-Jewish War. However, disturbances on the Danubian frontier early in the reign led to the killing of the governor of Dacia, Caius Julius Quadratus Bassus, to which Hadrian responded by placing the then equestrian governor of Mauretania Caesariensis Q. Marcius Turbo, who had a long record of distinguished military service, as joint governor of Dacia and Pannonia Inferior with the powers of a Prefect. Shortly after, it was decided by Hadrian that all the part of Dacia that had been added to the province of Moesia Inferior – that is, present-day Southern Moldavia and the Wallachian Plain – was to be surrendered to the Roxolani Sarmatians, whose king Rasparaganus received Roman citizenship, client king status – and possibly an increased subsidy. The Roman partial withdrawal was probably supervised by the governor of Moesia Quintus Pompeius Falco. Presence of Hadrian on the Dacian front at this juncture, implied by the always unreliable Historia Augusta, is merely conjectural and speculative. Hadrian did not visit Dacia in the course of his subsequent travels, but nevertheless included it into his subsequent monetary series of coins with allegories of the provinces. The notion that he contemplated the idea of withdrawing from Dacia altogether, as stated by Eutropius, appears, therefore, as unfounded.
Hadrian had already surrendered Trajan's conquests in Mesopotamia, considering them to be indefensible. In the East, Hadrian contented himself with retaining suzerainty over Osroene, which was ruled by the client king Parthamaspates, once client king of Parthia under Trajan. There was almost a new war with Parthia around 121, but the threat was averted when Hadrian succeeded in negotiating a peace. Late in the reign (135), an invasion of the Alani in Capadocia, covertly supported by the king of Caucasian Iberia Pharasmanes, was successful repulsed by Hadrian's governor, the historian Arrian – a Greek intellectual that had been appointed to the Senate by Hadrian and ruled Capadocia as imperial legate between 137 and 137. After defeating the Alans, Arrian subsequently installed a Roman "adviser" in Iberia.
This abandonment of an aggressive policy was something for which the Senate and its historians never forgave Hadrian: the Fourth Century historian Aurelius Victor charged him with being jealous of Trajan's exploits and deliberately trying to downplay their worthiness: Traiani gloriae invidens. It's more probable that Hadrian simply considered that the financial strain to be incurred in keeping on a policy of conquests was something the Roman Empire could not afford: proof to it is the disappearance during his reigns of two entire legions: Legio XXII Deiotariana and the famous "lost legion" IX Hispania, possibly destroyed during a late Trajanic uprising by the Brigantes in Britain. Also, the acknowledgement of the indefensible character of the Mesopotamian conquests had perhaps already been made by Trajan himself, who had disengaged from them at the time of his death.
The peace policy was strengthened by the erection of permanent fortifications along the empire's borders (limites, sl. limes). The most famous of these is the massive Hadrian's Wall in Great Britain, built on stone and doubled on its rear by a ditch (Vallum Hadriani) which marked the boundary between a strictly military zone and the province. On the Danube and Rhine borders were strengthened with a series of mostly wooden fortifications, forts, outposts and watchtowers, the latter specifically improving communications and local area security. These defensive activities, however, generated very few literary records: the information that it was Hadrian who built the Wall in Britain can only be found, in the entire corpus of Ancient authors, in his Historia Augusta biography. But then, Hadrian's military activities were, in a certain measure, ideological, in that they emphasized a community of interests between all peoples living within the Roman Empire, instead an hegemony of conquest centered on the city of Rome and its Senate.
To maintain morale and prevent the troops from becoming restive, Hadrian established intensive drill routines, and personally inspected the armies. Although his coins showed military images almost as often as peaceful ones, Hadrian's policy was peace through strength, even threat, with an emphasis on disciplina (discipline) which was the subject of two monetary series. This emphasis on spit and polish was heartily praised by Cassius Dio, who saw it as a useful deterrent and therefore the cause of the general peaceful character of Hadrian's reign. Fronto, however, expressed other views on the subject: Hadrian, to him, liked to play war games and "giving eloquent speeches to the armies" – like the series of addresses, inscribed in a column, that he made while on an inspecting tour during 128 at the new headquarters of Legio III Augusta in Lambaesis – rather than actual warfare. In general, Fronto was very critical of Hadrian's pacifist policy, charging it with the decline in military standards of the Roman army of his own time. It was, however, Hadrian who at least systematized the employment of the numeri – ethnic non-citizen troops with special weapons, such as Eastern mounted archers – in low-intensity defensive tasks such as dealing with infiltrators and skirmishers.
During a journey on the Nile he lost Antinous, his favourite, and for this youth he wept like a woman. Concerning this incident there are varying rumours; for some claim that he had devoted himself to death for Hadrian, and others – what both his beauty and Hadrian's sensuality suggest. But however this may be, the Greeks deified him at Hadrian's request, and declared that oracles were given through his agency, but these, it is commonly asserted, were composed by Hadrian himself.
Antinous drowned in 130. Deeply saddened, Hadrian founded the Egyptian city of Antinopolis in his memory, and had Antinous deified – an unprecedented honour for one not of the ruling family. The cult of Antinous became very popular in the Greek-speaking world. It has been suggested that Hadrian created the cult as a political move to reconcile the Greek-speaking East to Roman rule.
Cultural pursuits and patronage
Hadrian has been described, firstly in an Ancient anonymous source later echoed by Ronald Syme, among others, as the most versatile of all the Roman Emperors (varius multiplex multiformis). He also liked to demonstrate knowledge of all intellectual and artistic fields. Above all, Hadrian patronized the arts: Hadrian's Villa at Tibur (Tivoli) was the greatest Roman example of an Alexandrian garden, recreating a sacred landscape, albeit lost in large part to the despoliation of the ruins by the Cardinal d'Este who had much of the marble removed to build Villa d'Este. In Rome, the Pantheon, originally built by Agrippa but destroyed by fire in 80, was rebuilt under Hadrian (working on a blueprint left by Trajan: see below) in the domed form it retains to this day. It is among the best preserved of Rome's ancient buildings and was highly influential to many of the great architects of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods.
From well before his reign, Hadrian displayed a keen interest in architecture, but it seems that his eagerness was not always well received. For example, Apollodorus of Damascus, famed architect of the Forum of Trajan, dismissed his designs. When Trajan, predecessor to Hadrian, consulted Apollodorus about an architectural problem, Hadrian interrupted to give advice, to which Apollodorus replied, "Go away and draw your pumpkins. You know nothing about these problems." "Pumpkins" refers to Hadrian's drawings of domes like the Serapeum in his villa. The historian Cassius Dio wrote that, once Hadrian succeeded Trajan to become emperor, he had Apollodorus exiled and later put to death.The story, however, is problematical – archaeological evidence (brickstamps with consular dates) has demonstrated, e.g., that the Pantheon's dome was already under construction late in Trajan's reign (115) and probably under Appollodorus's sponsorship.
Hadrian wrote poetry in both Latin and Greek; one of the few surviving examples is a Latin poem he reportedly composed on his deathbed (see below). He also wrote an autobiography – not, apparently, a work of great length or revelation, but designed to scotch various rumours or explain his various actions. Hadrian was a passionate hunter from the time of his youth according to one source. In northwest Asia, he founded and dedicated a city to commemorate a she-bear he killed. It is documented that in Egypt he and his beloved Antinous killed a lion. In Rome, eight reliefs featuring Hadrian in different stages of hunting decorate a building that began as a monument celebrating a kill.
Another of Hadrian's contributions to "popular" culture (in fact the generalized mores of the imperial elites) was the beard, which symbolised his philhellenism: Dio of Prusa had equated the generalized using of the beard with Hellenic ethos. Since the time of Scipio Africanus it had been fashionable among the Romans to be clean-shaven. Also all Roman Emperors before Hadrian, except for Nero (also a great admirer of Greek culture), were clean shaven. Most of the emperors after Hadrian would be portrayed with beards. Their beards, however, were not worn out of an appreciation for Greek culture but because the beard had, thanks to Hadrian, become fashionable. This new fashion lasted until the reign of Constantine the Great and was revived again by Phocas at the start of the 7th century.Notwithstanding his philhelenism, however, in all other everyday life matters Hadrian behaved as a Roman civic traditionalist, who demanded the use of the toga by senators and knights in public and strict separation between the sexes in the public baths and theaters.
As a cultural Hellenophile Hadrian was familiar with the work of the philosophers Epictetus, Heliodorus and Favorinus. At home he attended to social needs. Hadrian mitigated but did not abolish slavery, had the legal code humanized and forbade torture. He built libraries, aqueducts, baths and theaters. Hadrian is considered by many historians to have been wise and just: Schiller called him "the Empire's first servant", and British historian Edward Gibbon admired his "vast and active genius", as well as his "equity and moderation". In 1776, he stated that Hadrian's era was part of the "happiest era of human history".
While visiting Greece in 131–132, Hadrian attempted to create a kind of provincial parliament to bind all the semi-autonomous former city states across all Greece and Ionia (in Asia Minor). This parliament, known as the Panhellenion, failed despite spirited efforts to foster cooperation among the Hellenes. Hadrian died at his villa in Baiae. He was buried in a mausoleum on the western bank of the Tiber, in Rome, a building later transformed into a papal fortress, Castel Sant'Angelo. The dimensions of his mausoleum, in its original form, were deliberately designed to be slightly larger than the earlier Mausoleum of Augustus.
According to Cassius Dio, a gigantic equestrian statue was erected to Hadrian after his death. "It was so large that the bulkiest man could walk through the eye of each horse, yet because of the extreme height of the foundation persons passing along on the ground below believe that the horses themselves as well as Hadrian are very very small." This may refer to the huge statuary group placed atop the mausoleum, which disappeared at some later time, depicting Hadrian driving a four-horse quadriga chariot.
The Emperor travelled broadly, inspecting and correcting the legions in the field. Even prior to becoming emperor, he had travelled abroad with the Roman military, giving him much experience in the matter. More than half his reign was spent outside of Italy. Other emperors often left Rome simply to go to war, returning soon after conflicts concluded. A previous emperor, Nero, once travelled through Greece and was condemned for his self-indulgence. According to modern historians as Paul Veyne, what Hadrian intended by his incessant travelling was what Nero had failed to achieve: to break with the sedentary (casanière) tradition of previous emperors, who saw the Empire as a purely Roman hegemony; instead, Hadrian sought to make his subjects to feel part of a commonwealth of civilized peoples, sharing a common Hellenic culture.However, this didn't go well with Roman traditionalism: as far as the Historia Augusta portrays traditional ideology, Hadrian was regarded by its author as "a little too much Greek", far more cosmopolitan than it was thought fit to a Roman emperor.Therefore, the significance of Hadrian's travels as a means of stressing the cosmopolitan, oecumenical character of the Roman Empire, something confirmed late during the reign when Hadrian struck a series of special issue coins representing allegories of the various provinces.
Hadrian, traveled as a fundamental part of his governing, and made this clear to the Roman Senate and the people. In order to check the Roman populace, he had resource to his chief equestrian adviser, Marcius Turbo, who was made Pretorian Prefect in 121 – while he was still joint-governor of Dacia and Pannonia Inferior – and who had as his task to adjudicate non-senators. Busy as he was, however, Turbo was not allowed to keep check on the Senate, as Hadrian forbade equestrians to try case against senators. The Senate had ultimate legal authority over its members, as it remained formally as the highest court of appeal, from which appealing to the Emperor was forbidden. There are hints within certain sources that Hadrian also employed a secret police force, the frumentarii, to snoop primarily on people of high social standing, such as his close friends.
His visits were marked by handouts which often contained instructions for the construction of new public buildings. His intention was to strengthen the Empire from within through improved infrastructure, as opposed to conquering or annexing perceived enemies. This was often the purpose of his journeys; commissioning new structures, projects and settlements. His almost evangelical belief in Greek culture strengthened his views: like many emperors before him, Hadrian's will was almost always obeyed. Later the Greek rhetorician Aelius Aristides was to extol his activities by writing that he "extended over his subjects a protecting hand, raising them as one helps fallen men on their feet".
His travelling court was large, including administrators and likely architects and builders. The burden on the areas he passed through were sometimes great. While his arrival usually brought some benefits it is possible that those who had to bear the burden were of different class to those who reaped the benefits. For example, huge amounts of provisions were requisitioned during his visit to Egypt, this suggests that the burden on the mainly subsistence farmers must have been intolerable, causing some measure of starvation and hardship.
At the same time, as in later times all the way through the European Renaissance, kings were welcomed into their cities or lands, and the financial burden was completely on them, and only indirectly on the poorer class. Hadrian's first tour came just four years after assuming the office of Caesar, when he sought a cure for a skin disease thought to be leprosy and travelled to Judea Roman province while en route to Egypt. This time also allowed himself the freedom to concern himself with his general cultural aims. At some point, he travelled north, towards Germania and inspected the Rhine-Danube frontier, allocating funds to improve the defences. However, it was a voyage to the Empire's very frontiers that represented his perhaps most significant visit; upon hearing of a recent revolt, he journeyed to Britannia.
Prior to Hadrian's arrival in Britain, there had been a major rebellion in Britannia from 119 to 121. Although operations in Britannia at the time got no mention worthy of note in the literary sources, inscriptions tell of an expeditio Britannica involving major troop movements, including sending a vexillatio (i.e., a detachment) of some 3,000 men taken from legions stationed on the Rhine and in Spain; Fronto writes about military losses in Britannia at the time. The Historia Augusta notes that the Britons could not be kept under Roman control; Pompeius Falco was sent to Britain to restore order and coins of 119–120 refer to this. In 122 Hadrian initiated the construction of Hadrian's Wall. The wall was built, "to separate Romans from barbarians," according to the Historia Augusta (Augustan Histories). It deterred attacks on Roman territory (at a lower cost than a massed border army) and controlled cross-border trade and immigration.
Unlike the Germanic limes, built of wood palisades, Hadrian's Wall was primarily a stone construction. The western third of the wall, from modern-day Carlisle to the River Irthing, was originally built of turf for unknown reasons. Possibly to hasten its construction, the Wall's width was narrowed in some sections from the original planned 12 feet to 7. The turf wall was however later rebuilt in stone, and a large ditch with adjoining mounds, known today as the Vallum, was dug to the south of the wall.
Under Hadrian, a shrine was erected in York to Britain as a Goddess, and coins that introduced a female figure as the personification of Britain, labelled BRITANNIA, were struck. By the end of 122, Hadrian had concluded his visit to Britannia, and from there headed south by sea to Mauretania, never to return. Thus he never saw the finished Wall that bears his name.
Africa, Parthia and Anatolia (123-124)
In 123, he arrived in Mauretania where he personally led a campaign against local rebels. However, this visit was to be short, as reports came through that the Eastern nation of Parthia was again preparing for war; as a result, Hadrian quickly headed eastwards. On his journey east it is known that at some point he visited Cyrene during which he personally made available funds for the training of the young men of well-bred families for the Roman military. This might well have been a stop off during his journey East. Cyrene had already benefited from his generosity when he in 119 had provided funds for the rebuilding of public buildings destroyed in the recent Jewish revolt.
When Hadrian arrived on the Euphrates, he characteristically solved the problem through a negotiated settlement with the Parthian king Osroes I. He then proceeded to check the Roman defences before setting off West along the coast of the Black Sea. He probably spent the winter in Nicomedia, the main city of Bithynia. As Nicomedia had been hit by an earthquake only shortly prior to his stay, Hadrian was generous in providing funds for rebuilding. Thanks to his generosity he was acclaimed as the chief restorer of the province as a whole.
It is more than possible that Hadrian visited Claudiopolis and there espied the beautiful Antinous, a young boy who was destined to become the emperor's beloved. Sources say nothing about when Hadrian met Antinous; however, there are depictions of Antinous that shows him as a young man of 20 or so. As this was shortly before Antinous's drowning in 130, Antinous would most likely have been a youth of 13 or 14. It is possible that Antinous may have been sent to Rome to be trained as a page to serve the emperor, and only gradually did he rise to the status of imperial favourite.
After meeting Antinous, Hadrian travelled through Anatolia. The route he took is uncertain. Various incidents are described, such as his founding of a city within Mysia, Hadrianutherae, after a successful boar hunt. (The building of the city was probably more than a mere whim – low-populated wooded areas such as the location of the new city were already ripe for development). Some historians dispute whether Hadrian did in fact commission the city's construction at all. At about this time, plans to complete the Temple of Zeus in Cyzicus, begun by the kings of Pergamon, were put into practice. The temple, whose completion had been contemplated by Trajan, received a colossal statue of Hadrian, and was built with dazzling white marble with gold tread. Cyzicus received the additional honor of being declared a regional center for the Imperial cult (neocoros), sharing it with Pergamon, Smyrna, Ephesus and Sardes – something that offered the benefits of Imperial sponsorship of sacred games – attracting tourism and simulating private expenditure – as well as channeling intercity rivalry into common acceptance of Roman rule.
The climax of this tour was the destination that the hellenophile Hadrian must all along have had in mind, Greece. He arrived in the autumn of 124 in time to participate in the Eleusinian Mysteries. By tradition, at one stage in the ceremony the initiates were supposed to carry arms; but, this was waived to avoid any risk to the emperor. At the Athenians' request, he conducted a revision of their constitution – among other things, a new phyle (tribe) was added bearing his name. Also, a system of coercive purchases of oil was imposed on Athenian producers in order to grant an adequate supply of the commodity; management of the system was left in the hands of the local Assembly and Council, appeals to the Emperor notwithstanding.Athens also became the only provincial city to benefit from a regular supply of grain.Hadrian also created two foundations that were to provide for the funding of Athens' public games, whenever there was no citizen wealthy enough (or willingly) to sponsor them as a Gymnasiarch or Agonothetes.Usually, however, Hadrian preferred that civic expenditure by Greek notables should concentrate on buildings than on spectacles and competitions: in a letter to Aphrodisias he praised high priests of the imperial cult to be required to donate funds to works on an aqueduct rather than to gladiatorial games.Such aqueducts – associated with public fountains -nymphaea – were one of the Hadrian's additions to the Greek urban landscape: besides Athens, where two such fountains were built, Argos also received a similar project.
It was possibly at this time that Hadrian received, according to Eusebius, an apology (i.e., a defense) of the Christian faith made by two Christians, Quadratus and Aristides. Apparently Hadrian simply kept to Trajan's policy of passive tolerance, by which Christians should not be sought after but sentenced only after due trial. In a rescript addressed to the proconsul of Asia Minutius Fundanus and preserved by Justin Martyr, Hadrian laid down that accusers of Christians had to bear the burden of proof for their denunciations on pain of being punished for calumnia (defamation).
During the winter he toured the Peloponnese. His exact route is uncertain; however, Pausanias reports of tell-tale signs, such as temples built by Hadrian and the statue of the emperor – in heroic nudity – built by the grateful citizens of Epidaurus in thanks to their "restorer". He was especially generous to Mantinea, where he restored the Temple of Poseidon Hippios ; this supports the theory that Antinous was in fact already Hadrian's lover because of the strong link between Mantinea and Antinous's home in Bithynia. However, as this kinship between Mantinea and Bythinia was itself a mythological fiction of the kind used at the time for favoring political alliances between polities, a more serious reason might exist for Hadrian's particular generosity. Hadrian's buildings in Greece were no mere whims, as they followed a pattern of favoring old religious centers: besides the temple at Mantinea, Hadrian restored other ancient shrines in Abae, Argos – where he restored the Heraion – and Megara. This was a way of gathering legitimacy to Roman imperial rule by associating it to the glories of classical Greece – something well in line with contemporary antiquarian taste in cultural matters.By the way, Hadrian is credited by Pausanias with restoring Mantinea its ancient, classical name: it had been named Antigoneia since Hellenistic times, in honor of the Macedonian king Antigonus III Doson.
This same idea of resurrecting the classical past under Roman overlordship was behind the possibility that during his tour of the Peloponnese Hadrian persuaded the Spartan grandee Eurycles Herculanus – the contemporary leader of the Euryclid family that had ruled Sparta since Augustus' day – to enter the Senate, alongside the Athenian grandee Herodes Atticus the Elder. The two aristocrats would be the first Greeks from Old Greece to enter the Roman Senate, as "representatives" of the two "great powers" of the Classical Age.
By March 125, Hadrian had reached Athens, presiding over the festival of Dionysia. The building program that Hadrian initiated was substantial. Various rulers had done work on building the Temple of Olympian Zeus over a timespan of more than five centuries – it was Hadrian and the vast resources he could command that ensured that the job would be finished. He also initiated the construction of several public buildings on his own whim and even organized the building of an aqueduct.
Return to Italy and trip to Africa (126-128)
Back in Rome, he was able to see for himself the completed work of rebuilding the Pantheon. Also completed by then was Hadrian's villa nearby at Tibur, a pleasant retreat by the Sabine Hills for whenever Rome became too much for him. At the beginning of March 127 Hadrian set off for a tour of Italy. Once again, historians are able to reconstruct his route by evidence of his hand-outs rather than the historical records.
For instance, in that year he restored the Picentine earth goddess Cupra in the town of Cupra Maritima. At some unspecified time he improved the drainage of the Fucine lake. Less welcome than such largesse was his decision in 127 to divide Italy into 4 regions under imperial legates with consular rank, who had jurisdiction over all of Italy excluding Rome itself, therefore shifting cases from the courts of Rome. Actually, the four consulars acted as governors of the regions assigned to them. Having Italy effectively reduced to the status of a group of mere provinces did not go down well with Italian hegemonic feelings (specially with the Roman Senate) and this innovation did not long outlive Hadrian.
Hadrian fell ill around this time, though the nature of his sickness is not known. Whatever the illness was, it did not stop him from setting off in the spring of 128 to visit Africa. His arrival began with the good omen of rain ending a drought. Along with his usual role as benefactor and restorer, he found time to inspect the troops; his speech to the troops survives to this day. Hadrian returned to Italy in the summer of 128 but his stay was brief, as he set off on another tour that would last three years.
Greece, Asia, and Egypt (128–130)
In September 128, Hadrian again attended the Eleusinian mysteries. This time his visit to Greece seems to have concentrated on Athens and Sparta – the two ancient rivals for dominance of Greece. Hadrian had played with the idea of focusing his Greek revival round Amphictyonic League based in Delphi, but he by now had decided on something far grander. His new Panhellenion was going to be a council that would bring Greek cities together wherever they might be found. The meeting place was to be the new temple to Zeus in Athens. Having set in motion the preparations – deciding whose claim to be a Greek city was genuine would in itself take time – Hadrian set off for Ephesus. The notion of "Greek city", however, was mostly political and mythological, in preference to historical: it involved fabricated claims to Greek origins and imperial favour. Most important, it linked appreciation of an idealized cultural Hellenism with loyalty to Rome and her Emperor. The Panhellenion was devised with a view of associating the Roman Emperor with protection of Greek culture and of the "liberties" of Greece – in the case, urban self-government. It allowed Hadrian to appear as the fictive heir to Pericles, who supposedly had convened a previous Panhellenic Congress – which is mentioned, by the way, only in his biography by Plutarch, whose sympathies to the Imperial order are well-known.
From Greece, Hadrian proceeded by way of Asia to Egypt. We know from an inscription that he was at the time probably conveyed across the Aegean with his entourage by one Ephesian, Lucius Erastus, on behalf of whom he later sent a letter to the Council of Ephesus, stating that Erastus wanted to become a town councillor, and that he, Hadrian, was willing to pay himself the honorary sum required for entrance in the council, if the Ephesians regarded Erastus (who, as a merchant, was probably snubbed upon as unfit for civic prominence) worthy to fill such a position.
In Egypt, Hadrian he opened his stay by restoring Pompey the Great's tomb at Pelusium. Hadrian offered also sacrifice to Pompey as a hero and composed an epigram for the tomb. As Pompey was universally acknowledged as the conqueror of the Roman East, this restoration was probably linked to a need of reaffirming Roman Eastern hegemony after the recent disturbances there during Trajan's late reign.
In October 130, while Hadrian and his entourage were sailing on the Nile, Antinous drowned for unknown reasons; accident, suicide, murder or religious sacrifice have all been postulated. The emperor was grief-stricken. He ordered Antinous deified, and cities were named after the boy, medals struck with his effigy, and statues erected to him in all parts of the empire. Temples were built for his worship in Bithynia, Mantineia in Arcadia. In Athens, festivals were celebrated in his honour and oracles delivered in his name. The city of Antinopolis or Antinoe was founded on the ruins of Besa, where he died. The city was a proper Greek polis, which, however, allowed its citizens the privilege of marrying with members of the native population without disenfranchising themselves – proof that Hadrian intended, again, to use a local religious cult (in this case, an Egyptianized one) as a means to integrate native populations into the celebration of Roman rule. Antinous' cult differed from the previous imperial cult in that, instead of centering on worshipping the Emperor as a ruler, it envolved the Emperor as well as his subjects in a common religious activity, therefore emphasizing a sense of shared community. Eventually, it was very successful. As an "international" cult figure, Antinous had an enduring fame, far outlasting Hadrian's reign: local coins with his effigy were still being struck during Caracalla's reign, and he was invoked in a poem to celebrate the accession of Diocletian.
Greece and the East; return to Rome (130-133)
Hadrian’s movements subsequent to the founding of Antinopolis on 30 October 130 are obscure. Whether or not he returned to Rome, he traveled in the East during 130/131 (see below) and spent the winter of 131–32 in Athens, where he dedicated the Olympeion, and probably remained in Greece or went East because of the Jewish rebellion which broke out in Judaea in 132 (see below). Inscriptions make it clear that he took the field in person against the rebels with his army in 133; he then returned to Rome, probably in that year and almost certainly (judging again from inscriptions) via Illyricum.This third and final trip to the Greek East produced much religious enthusiasm in the region centered around Hadrian, who received a personal cult as a deity and numerous monuments and civic homages, according to the religious syncretism at the time.
Legal reforms and State apparatus
It was around that time that Hadrian enacted, through the jurist Salvius Julianus, what was to become the first attempt to codify Roman Law: the Perpetual Edict, according to which the various forms of legal action introduced yearly by pretors were to remain fixed. The practical meaning of this measure was that the law could no more be changed by a magistrate's personal interpretation of it; it had become a fixed statute, which only the Emperor could alter. At the same time, following a procedure initiated by Domitian, Hadrian professionalized the Emperor's advisory board on legal matters, the Prince's Counsel or consilia principis, which became a permanent body staffed by salaried legal aids. By so doing, Hadrian developed a professional bureaucracy, consisting mainly of equestrians, in place of the earlier freedmen of the Imperial household, that was to control the political field instead of the Senate's individual members. Something that was a sure marker of the superseding of surviving Republican institutions by an openly autocratic political system. Hadrian's bureaucracy was supposed to fill the permanent administrative functions never exercised before by the old magistrates, and therefore it didn't objectively detract from the Senate's position: the new civil servants were free men and as such supposed to act in behalf of the interests of the "Crown", not of the Emperor as an individual. However, the Senate never accepted the loss on its prestige caused by the emergence of a new aristocracy alongside it.Therefore, the extra strain on the already troubled relationship between the Senate and the Emperor that was to be a hallmark of the end of Hadrian's reign.
Hadrian and Judea; Second Roman-Jewish War and Jewish persecution (132–136)
In 130/131, Hadrian toured the East, bestowing honorific titles on many regional centers. Palmyra received a state visit and the civic name Hadriana Palmyra. Hadrian also bestowed honors on various Palmyrene magnates, among them one Soados, who lived in the Parthian city of Vologesias and, as a go-between, had done much to protect Palmyrene trade between the Roman Empire and Parthia.
It was then that Hadrian visited the ruins of Jerusalem, in Roman Judaea, left after the First Roman-Jewish War of 66–73. According to a midrashic tradition, he firstly showed himself sympathetic to the Jews, allegedly planning to have the city rebuilt and allowing the rebuilding of the Temple, but when told by Samaritans that it would be the cause for much sedition, he then changed his mind,. The reliability of this tradition is, however, doubtful, and ascribing such a motivation to Hadrian is something that seems to have been undone or contradicted by his -allegedly -subsequent decision to build a temple to the Roman god Jupiter on the ruins of the Temple Mount instead and other temples to various Roman gods throughout Jerusalem, including a large temple to the goddess Venus.
According to a modern scholar, Hadrian's original intention might have been to rebuild Jerusalem as a Roman colony -such as Vespasian had done earlier to Caesarea Maritima – with various honorific and fiscal privileges, as well as a pagan population, nonetheless paying attention to the city's special religious status to the Jews: witness the fact that the actual postwar existence of the Temple of Jupiter on the precise site of Herod's temple is doubtful; what is attested is the existence of an honorary statue of Hadrian at the place – the Temple of Jupiter was possibly located elsewhere. It is accepted that the usual Roman policy in other colonies involved exempting the Jewish population from participating in pagan rituals. What was demanded from Jewish communities was political support to the Roman imperial order, as attested in Caesarea, where epigraphy attests that some of its Jewish citizens served in the Roman army during both the 66 and 132 rebellions.
It has been speculated, therefore, that Hadrian intended somehow to assimilate the Jewish Temple into the civic-religious basis of support to his reign, as he had just done with Greek and other traditional places of worship. Actually, it has been ventured that Hadrian somehow attempted to unify all belief systems in his empire as a coherent whole that would serve as a basis of support for his autocratic legitimacy- a project that had been already devised earlier by Hellenized Jewish intellectuals such as Philo. This attempt of conciliation between Judaism and Hellenism, however, foundered when faced with strict Jewish monotheism.
The proof for this failure to integrate Judaism into an unified religious system lies in the fact that, after the war, Hadrian even renamed Jerusalem itself, as Aelia Capitolina after himself and Jupiter Capitolinus, the chief Roman deity. According to Epiphanius, Hadrian appointed Aquila from Sinope in Pontus as "overseer of the work of building the city," seeing that Aquila was related to him by marriage. Hadrian is said to have placed the city's main Forum at the junction of the main Cardo and Decumanus Maximus, now the location for the (smaller) Muristan.
A tradition based on the Historia Augusta suggests that tensions grew higher when Hadrian abolished circumcision (brit milah), which he, a Hellenist, viewed as mutilation. However one scholar, Peter Schäfer, maintains that there is no evidence for this claim, given the notoriously problematical nature of the Historia Augusta as a source, the "tomfoolery" shown by the writer in this particular relevant passage, and the fact that contemporary Roman legislation on "genital mutilation" seems to address the general issue of castration of slaves by their masters The notion of an "antisemitic" legislation by Hadrian is, therefore, possibly an anachronistic ("midrashic", in the words of a modern scholar) reading of Ancient sources.
It's possible that other issues intervened between Hadrian's intention to rebuild Jerusalem and the outbreak of the war: the tension between incoming Roman colonists and supporters who had appropriated land confiscated after the First Jewish War and the landless poor, as well as the existence of messianic groups triggered by an interpretation of Jeremiah's prophecy promising that the Temple would be rebuilt seventy years after its destruction, repeating the timing of the restoration of the First Temple after the Babylonian exile- something that would put the restoration of the Second Temple to around 140 
Hadrian's anti-Jewish policies (or, alternatively, assimilation policies by means of cultural and political hellenization) triggered in Judaea a massive anti-Hellenistic and anti-Roman Jewish uprising, led by Simon bar Kokhba. Based on the delineation of years in Eusebius' Chronicon (now Chronicle of Jerome), it was only in the 16th year of Hadrian's reign, or what was equivalent to the 4th year of the 227th Olympiad, that the Jewish revolt began, under the Roman governor Tineius (Tynius) Rufus who had asked for an army to crush the resistance. Bar Kokhba, the leader of the resistance, punished any Jew who refused to join his ranks. It was then that Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. The Fifth Macedonian Legion and the Eleventh Claudian Legion had also taken part in war operations in Judea at the time. Roman losses were very heavy- as they were compared by Fronto to the casualties of the earlier British uprising – and it is believed that an entire legion, the XXII Deiotariana, which according to epigraphy didn't outlast Hadrian's reign, was destroyed in the rebellion. Indeed, Roman losses were so heavy that Hadrian's report to the Roman Senate omitted the customary salutation, "If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the legions are in health."
Hadrian's army eventually put down the rebellion in 135. According to Cassius Dio, overall war operations in the land of Judea left some 580,000 Jews killed, and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed to the ground. The most famous battle took place in Beitar, a fortified city 10 km. southwest of Jerusalem. The city only fell after a lengthy siege of three and a half years, at which time Hadrian prohibited the Jews from burying their dead. They were eventually afforded burial when Antoninus (Pius) succeeded Hadrian as Roman Emperor. According to the Babylonian Talmud, after the war Hadrian continued the persecution of Jews.
The rabbinical sources, however, seem more concerned with morals and religion than with history, therefore offering a legendary account of the war and its aftermath, according to whom Hadrian attempted to root out Judaism, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions, prohibited the Torah law, the Hebrew calendar and executed Judaic scholars (see Ten Martyrs). The sacred scroll was ceremonially burned on the Temple Mount. In an attempt to erase the memory of Judaea, he renamed the province Syria Palaestina (after the Philistines), and Jews were barred from entering its rededicated capital. When Jewish sources mention Hadrian it is always with the epitaph "may his bones be crushed" (שחיק עצמות or שחיק טמיא, the Aramaic equivalent), an expression never used even with respect to Vespasian or Titus who destroyed the Second Temple.
Opposedly, scholars of a more revisionist tinge remark that Hadrian's strictures on circumcision and no-entry policy were poorly enforced, falling into abeyance with his death, and that, enslaving of war prisoners, war casualties and wantom destruction notwithstanding, Palestine remained predominantly Jewish in population, as well as its culture and religious life, a fact reflected by the completion of the Mishnah in the early Third Century, and that the "exile" of the Jewish people as a whole was originally a Christian legend coined by Justin Martyr, who saw it as divine punishment for Jesus' Crucifixion. The doubtful notion of the continued exclusion of the Jews from Jerusalem, as a measure that was strictly enforced long after Hadrian's reign, comes also from a Christian source, namely Eusebius' ecclesiastical histories, and intends to extol Jerusalem's alternative identity as a purely Christian center of worship. Eventually, in the view of these historians, this legendary corpus would become secularized so as to support a legitimization of the Zionist political project. Modern controversies aside, what Hadrian's bloody repression of the revolt undoubtedly achieved was to put an end to any pretension of Jewish political independence alongside the Roman Imperial order.
In Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature is critical of Hadrian's policy, particularly that of religious intolerance concerning the Jews. Indeed, his policies were viewed as an attack on the religious freedom of Torah law practice. Most of the stories related by the Sages of Israel reflect a two-faced approach to tolerance of the Jewish people. In one story he punishes a Jew who failed to greet him, and then punishes another Jew who wished him well. When asked what the logic was for his punishing both men, he replied: "You wish to give me advice on how to kill my enemies?"
In another story, Hadrian got down from his chariot and bowed to a Jewish girl afflicted with leprosy. When queried by his soldiers as to why he did this, Hadrian responded with a dual verse from the book of Isaiah in praise of the nation of Israel "So says God the redeemer of Israel to the downtrodden soul to the (made) repulsive nation, kings will view and stand."
The Malbim commentary to the book of Daniel comments how Hadrian erected a statue of himself at the site of the Bet HaMikdash on a day marking the anniversary of the Temple's destruction by Titus.
According to Jewish historical records of that time, the famous rabbi and scholar and a contemporary of Hadrian, Rabbi Yehoshua, the son of Hananiah, opposed any Jewish military intervention against the occupying Roman army, in spite of Rome's harsh decrees against the Jewish people. Rabbi Yehoshua, the son of Hananiah, is reported as saying: "A lion once pounced upon its prey and got a bone stuck in his throat. He then said, 'Whosoever comes and takes it out, I will give to him a reward.' An Egyptian heron came along whose bill is long, and reaching down into the lion's throat, extracted the bone. The bird then said to the lion, 'Give to me my reward.' The lion replied, 'Just be happy that you can say, I went down into the lion's mouth and I came out alive and well.' It is the same with us. It is enough that we have gone into this nation and came out with our lives."
Hadrian spent the final years of his life at Rome. In 134, he took an Imperial salutation for the end of the Second Jewish War (which was not actually concluded until the following year). In 136, he dedicated a new Temple of Venus and Roma on the former site of Nero's Golden House.
About this time, suffering from poor health, he turned to the problem of the succession. In 136 he adopted one of the ordinary consuls of that year, Lucius Ceionius Commodus, who took the name Lucius Aelius Caesar. He was the son-in-law of Gaius Avidius Nigrinus, one of the "four consulars" executed in 118, but was himself in delicate health. Also, his reputation was more that "of a voluptuous, well educated great lord than that of a leader". Therefore, various attempt have been made to justify this apparently unjustified choice, one of them – advanced by the French historian Jerome Carcopino – being that Aelius was actually Hadrian's natural son. It has also been speculated that Hadrian was fully aware that Aelius would never outlive him, and that the adoption of an aristocrat scion with no blood ties to the Emperor was a belatedly attempt to make amends for the episode of the four consulars, therefore aiming at a reconciliation with the powerful clan of old Italian families in the Senate. Of the four consulars, Aelius' father-in-law Avidius Nigrinus had been Hadrian's chief rival for the throne, as a senator of highest rank, breeding, connections and as a Stoic. According to the Historia Augusta, early in his reign Hadrian had even considered making Nigrinus his heir apparent, before eventually deciding to get rid of this worthy opponent.
Granted tribunician power and the joint governorship of Pannonia Superior & Pannonia Inferior – a commission that he discharged honorably, according to the Historia Augusta – Aelius Caesar held a further consulship in 137, but died on 1 January 138.
Following the death of Aelius Caesar, Hadrian next adopted Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus (the future emperor Antoninus Pius), who had served as one of the five imperial legates of Italy (a post created by Hadrian) and as proconsul of Asia. On 25 February 138 Antoninus received tribunician power and imperium. Moreover, to ensure the future of the dynasty, Hadrian required Antoninus to adopt both Lucius Ceionius Commodus (son of the deceased Aelius Caesar) and Marcus Annius Verus (who was the grandson of an influential senator of the same name who had been Hadrian’s close friend; Annius was already betrothed to Aelius Caesar’s daughter Ceionia Fabia). Hadrian’s precise intentions in this arrangement are debatable.
Though the consensus is that he wanted Annius Verus (who would later become the Emperor Marcus Aurelius) to succeed Antoninus, it has also been argued that he actually intended Ceionius Commodus, the son of his own adopted son, to succeed, but was constrained to show favour simultaneously to Annius Verus because of his strong connections to the Hispano-Narbonensian nexus of senatorial families of which Hadrian himself was a part. As Annius Verus was the step grandson of the then Prefect of Rome Lucius Catilius Severus, one of the remnants of the all-powerful group of Spanish senators from Trajan's reign, it was unavoidable that Hadrian should show some favor to the grandson in order to count with the grandfather's support. It is possible, according to one prosopography, that Catilius Severus was the third and last husband of Hadrian's mother, Domitia Lucilla Major. As Lucilla Major's second husband, Publius Calvisius Ruso, was the father of Domitia Lucilla Minor, Annius Verus' mother, Lucilla Minor would actually be Hadrian's half-sister, and Annius Verus, therefore his (half)nephew. In this case, in advancing Annius Verus, Hadrian would promote his own bloodline's fortunes. Note, however, that this prosopography is not universally accepted by other scholars, who argue that Hadrian's mother was known, according to Historia Augusta, as Domitia Paulina.
Alternatively, it may well not have been Hadrian, but rather Antoninus Pius – who was Annius Verus’s uncle – who advanced the latter to the principal position. The fact that Annius would divorce Ceionia Fabia and remarry to Antoninus' daughter Annia Faustina points in the same direction. When he eventually became Emperor, Marcus Aurelius would co-opt Ceionius Commodus as his co-Emperor (under the name of Lucius Verus) on his own initiative.Also, there is the fact that Marcus Aurelius, when already emperor, behaved coldly towards the memory of his adoptive grandfather, who is conspicuously absent from the list of people to which Marcus acknowledged a debt of gratitude in his Meditations. As emperor, Marcus would be far more attracted to the conservative, "serious", Roman outlook of Antoninus' reign than to Hadrian's more open, "lewd", "Hellenic" outlook – including Hadrian's almost exclusive homosexuality.
The ancient sources present Hadrian's last few years as marked by conflict and unhappiness. The adoption of Aelius Caesar proved unpopular, not least with Hadrian's brother-in-law Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus and Servianus' grandson Gnaeus Pedanius Fuscus Salinator. Servianus, though now far too old, had stood in line of succession at the beginning of the reign; Fuscus is said to have had designs on the imperial power for himself, and in 137 he may have attempted a coup in which his grandfather was implicated. Whatever the truth, Hadrian ordered that both be put to death. Servianus is reported to have prayed before his execution that Hadrian would "long for death but be unable to die". The prayer was fulfilled; as Hadrian suffered from his final, protracted illness, he had to be prevented from suicide on several occasions.
Hadrian died in the year 138 on the 10th of July, in his villa at Baiae at the age of 62. The cause of death is believed to have been heart failure. Dio Cassius and the Historia Augusta record details of his failing health.
He was buried first at Puteoli, near Baiae, on an estate which had once belonged to Cicero. Soon after, his remains were transferred to Rome and buried in the Gardens of Domitia, close by the almost-complete mausoleum. Upon completion of the Tomb of Hadrian in Rome in 139 by his successor Antoninus Pius, his body was cremated, and his ashes were placed there together with those of his wife Vibia Sabina and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138. After threatening the Senate – which toyed with refusing Hadrian's divine honors – by refusing to assume power himself, Antoninus eventually succeed in having his predecessor deified in 139 and given a temple on the Campus Martius, ornamented with reliefs representing the provinces.The Senate in consequence agreed to grant Antoninus the title Pius for his filial piety in granting his adoptive father honors.
Poem by Hadrian
- Animula, vagula, blandula
- Hospes comesque corporis
- Quae nunc abibis in loca
- Pallidula, rigida, nudula,
- Nec, ut soles, dabis iocos...
- P. Aelius Hadrianus Imp.
- Roving amiable little soul,
- Body's companion and guest,
- Now descending for parts
- Colourless, unbending, and bare
- Your usual distractions no more shall be there...
Nerva–Antonine family tree
- (1) = 1st spouse
- (2) = 2nd spouse
- (3) = 3rd spouse
- Darker purple indicates Emperor of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty; lighter purple indicates designated imperial heir of said dynasty who never reigned
- dashed lines indicate adoption; dotted lines indicate love affairs/unmarried relationships
- small caps = posthumously deified (Augusti, Augustae, or other)
- In Classical Latin, Hadrian's name would be inscribed as PVBLIVS AELIVS HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS.
- As emperor his name was Imperator Caesar Divi Traiani filius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus.
- Alicia M. Canto, Itálica, Sedes natalis de Adriano
- Inscription in Athens, year 112 AD: CIL III, 550 = InscrAtt 3 = IG II, 3286 = Dessau 308 = IDRE 2, 365: P(ublio) Aelio P(ubli) f(ilio) Serg(ia) Hadriano / co(n)s(uli) VIIviro epulonum sodali Augustali leg(ato) pro pr(aetore) Imp(eratoris) Nervae Traiani / Caesaris Aug(usti) Germanici Dacici Pannoniae inferioris praetori eodemque / tempore leg(ato) leg(ionis) I Minerviae P(iae) F(idelis) bello Dacico item trib(uno) pleb(is) quaestori Imperatoris / Traiani et comiti expeditionis Dacicae donis militaribus ab eo donato bis trib(uno) leg(ionis) II / Adiutricis P(iae) F(idelis) item legionis V Macedonicae item legionis XXII Primigeniae P(iae) F(idelis) seviro / turmae eq(uitum) R(omanorum) praef(ecto) feriarum Latinarum Xviro s(tlitibus) i(udicandis) //... (text in greek)
- Mary T. Boatwright (2008). "From Domitian to Hadrian". In Barrett, Anthony. Lives of the Caesars. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 159. ISBN 978-1405127554.
- Eutr. VIII. 6: "...nam eum (Hadrianum) Traianus, quamquam consobrinae suae filium..." and SHA, Vita Hadr. I, 2: ...pater Aelius Hadrianus cognomento Afer fuit, consobrinus Traiani imperatoris.
- After A. M. Canto, in UCM.es, specifically pp. 322, 328, 341 and footnote 124, where she stands out SHA, Vita Hadr. 1.2: pro filio habitus (years 93); 3.2: ad bellum Dacicum Traianum familiarius prosecutus est (year 101) or, principally, 3.7: quare adamante gemma quam Traianus a Nerva acceperat donatus ad spem successionis erectus est (year 107).
- Royston Lambert, 1984, p. 175
- Paul Veyne, L'Empire Gréco-Romain. Paris: Seuil, 2005, ISBN 2-02-057798-4 , page 312. In the French original: de l'Alexandre Dumas, du péplum et un peu d'Ubu Roi
- Danèel den Hengst, Emperors and Historiography: Collected Essays on the Literature of the Roman Empire. Leiden: Brill, 2010, ISBN 978-90-04-17438-2 , page 93
- Mary Taliaferro Boatwright, Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire. Princeton University Press, 2002, pages 20/26
- Alicia M. Canto, "Itálica, patria y ciudad natal de Adriano (31 textos históricos y argumentos contra Vita Hadr. His father died in AD 86 when Hadrian was at the age of 10. 1, 3", Athenaeum vol. 92.2, 2004, pp. 367–408 UNIPV.it
- Ronald Syme, in "Hadrian and Italica" (Journal of Roman Studies, LIV, 1964; pp. 142–9) examined the question and concluded that Rome was his birthplace. Against this is the argument of Canto, who argues that only one ancient source gives Hadrian's birth as Rome (SHA, Vita Hadr 2,4, probably interpolated), opposite to 25 ancient authors who affirm that he was born in Italica. Among these ancient sources is included his own imperial horoscope, which remained in the famous Antigonus of Nicaea's collection (end of the 2nd. century). This horoscope was well studied by prominent authors as F. H. Cramer, Astrology in Roman Law and Politics, Mem.Amer.Philos.Soc. nr. 37 , Philadelphia, 1954 (repr. 1996), see for Hadrian p. 162–178, fn. 121b and 122, etc.: "...Hadrian – whose horoscope is absolutely certain – surely was born in southern Spain... (in) SHA, Hadrian, 2, 4, the birth was erroneously assigned to Rome instead of Italica, the actual birth-place of Hadrian...", or O. Neugebauer and H. B. Van Hoesen in their magisterial compilation Greek Horoscopes, Mem.Amer.Philos.Soc. nr. 48, Philadelphia, 1959, nr. L76, see now here, ed. 1987 pp. 80, 90–1, and his footnote 19. They came also to the conclusion that the astronomic parallel of the Hadrian’s birth is situated in the Baetica, today Andalusia: “...L40 agrees exactly with the geographical latitude of southern Spain, the place of origin of Hadrian and his family...”.. "since Hadrian was born in Italica (southern Spain, near Seville, latitude about 37° 30)...".
- Historia Augusta, 'Hadrian', I-II, here explicitly citing the autobiography. This is one of the passages in the Historia Augusta where there is no reason to suspect invention. But see now the Canto's 31 contrary arguments in the op.cit. supra; among them, in the same Historia Augusta and, from the same author, Aelius Spartianus, Vita Sev. 21: Falsus est etiam ipse Traianus in suo municipe ac nepote diligendo, see also es:Adriano#cite note-nacimiento-0, and, characterizing him as a man of provinces (Canto, ibid.): Vita Hadr. 1,3: Quaesturam gessit Traiano quater et Articuleio consulibus, in qua cum orationem imperatoris in senatu agrestius pronuntians risus esset, usque ad summam peritiam et facundiam Latinis operam dedit
- On the numerous senatorial families from Spain residing at Rome and its vicinity around the time of Hadrian’s birth see R.Syme, 'Spaniards at Tivoli', in Roman Papers IV (Oxford, 1988), pp. 96–114. Tivoli (Tibur) was of course the site of Hadrian’s own imperial villa
- Royston Lambert, Beloved And God, pp.31–32.
- Aul.Gell., Noct.Att. XVI, 13, 4, and some inscriptions in the city with C(olonia) A(elia) A(ugusta) I(talica)
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- Bowman, 133
- Thorsten Opper, The Emperor Hadrian. British Museum Press, 2008 , page 39
- Anthony R Birley, Hadrian: The Restless Emperor. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013, ISBN 0-415-16544-X , page 54
- The inscription in footnote 1
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- H. W. Benario in Roman-emperors.org
- Anthony Birley, Hadrian the Restless Emperor, p. 68
- Anthony Birley, p. 75
- Elizabeth Speller, p. 25
- Kennedy, Maev (2008-06-09). "How Victorian restorers faked the clothes that seemed to show Hadrian's softer side". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
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- Historia Augusta (c. 395) Hadr. 14.5–7
- "Antinous’s mysterious death in the Nile led to a Graeco-Egyptian hero-cult to surpass all others in the Greek-speaking world, and busts of the young man are now among the most common from antiquity." (MacGregor, Neil, "There’s more to Hadrian than wall-building", Times of London, 6 July 2008.
Dyson, Stephen L., Rome: A Living Portrait of an Ancient City, p. 195.
- "The public taking of Antinous the Greek as a lover makes more sense as a deliberate political manoeuvre designed to ingratiate himself with the Greek-speakers who still made up 50% of the empire." (Januszczak, Waldemar, "Hadrian – Empire and Conflict at the British Museum", Times of London, 20 July 2008)
Lambert, op. cit. p. 185.
- Ando, footnote 172. The expression comes from the anonymous Lybellus de vita et moribus imperatorum
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[...] Hadrian's ban on circumcision, allegedly imposed sometime between 128 and 132 CE [...]. The only proof for Hadrian's ban on circumcision is the short note in the Historia Augusta: 'At this time also the Jews began war, because they were forbidden to mutilate their genitals (quot vetabantur mutilare genitalia). [...] The historical credibility of this remark is controversial [...] The earliest evidence for circumcision in Roman legislation is an edict by Antoninus Pius (138-161 CE), Hadrian's successor [...] [I]t is not utterly impossible that Hadrian [...] indeed considered circumcision as a 'barbarous mutilation' and tried to prohihit it. [...] However, this proposal cannot be more than a conjecture, and, of course, it does not solve the questions of when Hadrian issued the decree (before or during/after the Bar Kokhba war) and whether it was directed solely against Jews or also against other peoples.
- Mackay, Christopher. Ancient Rome a Military and Political History: 230
- The Bar Kokhba War Reconsidered: New Perspectives on the Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome Peter Schäfer Mohr Siebeck, 2003 pg 68
- The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World: The Jews of Palestine from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest By Peter Schäfer Routledge, 2 Sep 2003 pg 146
- Historia Augusta, Hadrian14.2
- Elizabeth Wyner Mark, ed., The Covenant of Circumcision: New Perspectives on an Ancient Jewish Rite. Lebanon, NH: UNiversity Press of New England, 2003, ISBN 1-58465-306-X, page 222
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- Chronicle of Jerome, s.v. Hadrian. See:  See also Yigael Yadin, Bar-Kokhba, Random House New York 1971, pp. 22, 258
- C. Clermont-Ganneau, Archaeological Researches in Palestine during the Years 1873–74, London 1899, pp. 463–470.
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- livius.org account. Note: website source states that Legio XXII "was probably destroyed" in the Bar Kokba revolt.(Legio XXII Deiotariana)
- Cassius Dio 69, 14.3Roman History.
Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore Hadrian in writing to the Senate did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors[...]
- Midrash Rabba (Lamentations Rabba 2:5), end
- Gittin 57a-58b; Lamentations Rabbah 2.2 §4;
- The Cambridge History of Judaism, Volume 4, 728
- On the unhistorical character of Bar Kokhba and of most accounts of the war, see Yael Zerubavel, Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition. University of Chicago Press, 1997 ISBN 0-226-98157-6 , page 141
- The Aramaic version, "שחיק טמיא", is used, e.g., in Genesis Rabbah 78:1. This is referenced by Rashi in his comment on the phrase, "טמא לנפש", in his commentary on Numbers 5:2. The other two locations in Genesis Rabbah referenced in Rashi's comment, 10:3 and 28:3, use the Hebrew version, "שחיק עצמות"
- Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People. London: Verso: 2010, ISBN 978-1-84467-623-1, pages 133/134; Justin also charges bar Kokhba with persecuting Christians:cf. Schäfer, The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World, 154
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- Geza Vermes, Who's Who in the Age of Jesus, Penguin: 2006, no ISBN given, entry "Hadrian"
- Midrash Rabba (Lamentations Rabba), section 3
- midrash HaGadol to dvarim 26:19
- Malbim to Daniel 9:27
- Midrash Rabba, Genesis Rabba 64 (end).
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- Anthony Birley, pp. 289–292.
- The adoptions: Anthony Birley, pp. 294–5; T.D. Barnes, 'Hadrian and Lucius Verus', Journal of Roman Studies (1967), Ronald Syme, Tacitus, p. 601. Antoninus as a legate of Italy: Anthony Birley, p. 199
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- Lambert, Royston (1997). Beloved and God: the story of Hadrian and Antinous. London: Phoenix Giants. ISBN 1-85799-944-4.
- Speller, Elizabeth (2003). Following Hadrian: a second-century journey through the Roman Empire. London: Review. ISBN 0-7472-6662-X.
- Syme, Ronald (1997) . Tacitus. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814327-3.
- Syme, Ronald (1964). "Hadrian and Italica". Journal of Roman Studies LIV: 142–9. doi:10.2307/298660.
- Syme, Ronald (1988). "Journeys of Hadrian" (PDF). Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 73: 159–170. Retrieved 2006-12-12. Reprinted in Syme, Ronald (1991). Roman Papers VI. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 346–357. ISBN 0-19-814494-6.
- Yourcenar, Marguerite (2005) . Memoirs of Hadrian. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-52926-4.
- Danziger, Danny; Purcell, Nicholas (2006). Hadrian's empire : when Rome ruled the world. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-83361-0.
- Everitt, Anthony (2009). Hadrian and the triumph of Rome. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6662-9.
- Gray, William Dodge (1919). "A Study of the life of Hadrian Prior to His Accession". Smith College Studies in History 4: 151–209.
- Gregorovius, Ferdinand (1898). The Emperor Hadrian: A Picture of the Greco-Roman World in His Time. Mary E. Robinson, trans. London: Macmillan.
- Henderson, Bernard W. (1923). Life and Principate of the Emperor Hadrian. London: Methuen.
- Ish-Kishor, Sulamith (1935). Magnificent Hadrian: A Biography of Hadrian, Emperor of Rome. New York: Minton, Balch and Co.
- Perowne, Stewart (1960). Hadrian. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hadrian.|
- Historia Augusta: Life of Hadrian
- Hadrian coinage
- Temple of Hadrian QuickTime VR, Rome
- Catholic Encyclopedia article
- A Bibliography
- Major scultoric find at Sagalassos (Turkey), 2 August 2007 (between 13 and 16 feet in height, four to five meters), with some splendid photos courtesy of the Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project
- Hadrian, in: De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors
- Next exhibition on Hadrian in the British Museum, 24 July – 26 October 2008: "Hadrian, Empire and Conflict". Curator: Thorsten Opper
- "Emperor Hadrian, YouTube hero": a review by Tom Holland of the Hadrian Exhibition at the British Museum, TLS, 6 August 2008.
HadrianBorn: 24 January AD 76 Died: 10 July AD 138
Quintus Aquilius Niger and Marcus Rebilus Apronianus
|Consul of the Roman Empire
Lucius Catilius Severus Iulianus Claudius Reginus and Antoninus Pius