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Hadrian

Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (January 24, 76 - 138), known as Hadrian in English, was a Roman emperor from 117-138.

One of the so-called Five Good Emperors, Hadrian is known for ordering the construction of the Pantheon in Rome, Hadrian's Wall and an extensive villa at Tivoli near Rome. In 132 he crushed an uprising of Jews in Palestine, declaring Jerusalem a Roman city and prohibiting Jews to worship there.

Hadrian was especially famous for his love affair with a young servant boy named Antinous. While touring Egypt, Antinous was killed, or perhaps killed himself, by drowning in the Nile. Stricken with grief, Hadrian founded the Egyptian city of Antinopolis[?]. For the rest of his life, Hadrian would have commissioned many hundred (thousands) of sculptures of Antinous in the manner of a Greek youth. The passion and depth of Hadrian's love for the boy was shown in busts and statues to be found all over Europe, featuring the boy's full lips and round cheeks.

A fragment from the Roman History of Dio Cassius as translated by Earnest Cary[?] in 1925:

"After Hadrian's death there was erected to him a huge equestrian statue representing him with a four-horse chariot. 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 small."

A fascinating account of Hadrian's life and times, written in the form of a fictional autobiography, but based on a careful study of the authentic sources, is Marguerite Yourcenar, Mémoires d'Hadrien (1951); English translation Memoirs of Hadrian (New York 1954).

Preceded by:
Trajan (98 - 117)
Roman emperors
Followed by:
Antoninus Pius (138 - 161)



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