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: NMGW-CF0D98
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper alloy Roman as of Hadrian (AD 117…
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Record: PUBLIC-7A265A
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: Copper alloy as of Hadrian (AD 117-138), d…
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Record: PUBLIC-D375FA
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper-alloy Roman dupondius of Hadrian …
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Record: BH-5A6AA2
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A Roman copper-alloy as of Hadrian (AD&nbs…
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Information from Wikipedia

  • Preferred label: Hadrian
  • Full names:
    • Hadrian
  • Title: Consul of the Roman Empire, Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
  • Predecessor: Trajan
  • Successor: Antoninus Pius
  • Definition: Hadrian (; born Publius Aelius Hadrianus; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family that settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri in Picenum. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death. Rome's military and Senate approved Hadrian's succession, but four leading senators were unlawfully put to death soon after. They had opposed Hadrian or seemed to threaten his succession, and the senate held him responsible for it and never forgave him. He earned further disapproval among the elite by abandoning Trajan's expansionist policies and territorial gains in Mesopotamia, Assyria, Armenia, and parts of Dacia. Hadrian preferred to invest in the development of stable, defensible borders and the unification of the empire's disparate peoples. He is known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. Hadrian energetically pursued his own Imperial ideals and personal interests. He visited almost every province of the Empire, accompanied by an Imperial retinue of specialists and administrators. He encouraged military preparedness and discipline, and he fostered, designed, or personally subsidised various civil and religious institutions and building projects. In Rome itself, he rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the vast Temple of Venus and Roma. In Egypt, he may have rebuilt the Serapeum of Alexandria. He was an ardent admirer of Greece and sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire, so he ordered the construction of many opulent temples there. His intense relationship with Greek youth Antinous and the latter's untimely death led Hadrian to establish a widespread cult late in his reign. He suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea, but his reign was otherwise peaceful. Hadrian's last years were marred by chronic illness. He saw the Bar Kokhba revolt as the failure of his panhellenic ideal. He executed two more senators for their alleged plots against him, and this provoked further resentment. His marriage to Vibia Sabina had been unhappy and childless; he adopted Antoninus Pius in 138 and nominated him as a successor, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus as his own heirs. Hadrian died the same year at Baiae, and Antoninus had him deified, despite opposition from the Senate. Edward Gibbon includes him among the Empire's "Five Good Emperors", a "benevolent dictator"; Hadrian's own senate found him remote and authoritarian. He has been described as enigmatic and contradictory, with a capacity for both great personal generosity and extreme cruelty and driven by insatiable curiosity, self-conceit, and ambition.
  • Parents:
  • Birth place:
  • Death place:
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  • Other title(s):
    • Consul of the Roman Empire
    • Suffect consul of the Roman Empire
    • List of Roman emperors
  • Came After:
    • and Marcus Titius Lustricus Bruttianus
    • Pomponia (gens)
    • Quintus Pompeius Falco
    • and Quintus Vibius Gallus
    • Quintus Coredius Gallus Gargilius Antiquus
    • and Titus Sabinius Barbarus
  • Came before:
    • and Marcus Appius Bradua
    • Pomponia (gens)
    • and Gnaeus Minicius Faustinus
    • ignotus,
    • Appius Annius Trebonius Gallus (consul 108)
    • and Titus Sabinius Barbarus
  • Subjects on wikipedia:

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