Hadrian

Reece Period attributed: Period 6

Obverse image of a coin of Hadrian

Member of the The Adoptive Emperors dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 117 until 138.

Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born in AD 76 to a cousin of the emperor Trajan. At age ten his father died, and Hadrian became joint ward of Trajan and a Roman knight. He spent a dissolute youth, preferring hunting to military service, and Trajan kept an increasingly strict eye on him.

Trajan and Hadrian grew close while the former reigned. Trajan’s wife Plotina especially favoured Hadrian, and may have faked evidence that Trajan named Hadrian his successor. As emperor, Hadrian ruthlessly eliminated certain enemies, but ruled capably. He scaled back the size of the empire to the natural borders decreed by Augustus (The Danube, the Euphrates, and the Rhine) and built his famous wall to protect Britannia from fierce northern tribes.

Hadrian loved Greek culture, though he famously decried Homer as an inferior poet. He built a large palace at Tivoli and enjoyed pursuing married women and adolescent boys. In his final days, Hadrian suffered from severe sickness and tried many times to commit suicide, but his slaves never allowed it. He handed over government to Antoninus Pius, his chosen successor, and went to Baiae to die. His only major military accomplishment was the suppression of a Jewish revolt when he attempted to establish a new city at the site of Jerusalem.

Hadrian was the first emperor to sport a beard.

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Record: HAMP-B61CC8
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A Roman silver denarius of Hadrian (AD 117…
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Record: BM-6AB612
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper-alloy Roman as of Hadrian (AD 117…
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Record: IOW-030A96
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A complete and worn Roman copper-alloy as …
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Record: PUBLIC-98E0C8
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A silver Roman denarius of Hadrian (AD 117…
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Information from Wikipedia

  • Preferred label: Hadrian
  • Full names:
    • Hadrian
  • Title: Consul of the Roman Empire
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  • Definition: Hadrian (/ˈheɪdriən/; Latin: Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. Hadrian is known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. He also rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. Philhellene in most of his tastes, he is considered by some to have been a humanist, and 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 actual place of birth remains uncertain. However, it is generally accepted that he came from a family with centuries-old roots in Hispania. His predecessor, Trajan, was a maternal cousin of Hadrian's father. Trajan did not officially designate 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 travelled 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 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's son Lucius Verus as his own eventual successors. Antoninus agreed, and soon afterward Hadrian died at Baiae.
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    • Other title(s):
      • Consul of the Roman Empire
      • List of Roman Emperors
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