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Hadrian, Emperor

Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus was also known as Hadrian was born January 24 76 AD and died on July 10 183 AD. He was the emperor of Rome during 117 – 138 AD where he is listed on the Bible Timeline with World History. He is most recognized for the Pantheon, Temple of Venus and Roma. He also had Hadrian’s Wall built that set the northern borders of Roman Britain. Hadrian was thought of by many as a ‘humanist’ and a ‘philhellene’. He is thought well of as one of the Five Good Emperors.

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During his youth, Hadrian was soundly taught in Italica Hispania (today’s Seville, Spain) his native land. Then he departed for Rome only around the age of 14. Where began work in the military as Tribune for Emperor Nerva, ho soon died and was succeeded by Trajan. Who was recorded as the first Emperor of Rome to be of local descent. In time historians would try to locate the birthplace of Trajan and Hadrian to Rome however they were of Hispanic ethnicity which was popularly thought of to be a factor for Trajan’s actions in adopting Hadrian.

It is disputed that Trajan actually adopted Hadrian since it did not occur until right around his death. Trajan’s wife Plotina was in favor of Hadrian succeeding and had been the one to sign the documents. Despite this Trajan had held Hadrian in high esteem and had thought of him as a possible heir but with no paperwork to make it formal.


As soon as he ascended the throne Hadrian established loyalty with his armies and immediately sent away a Lusius Quietus, a possible threat. The Senate was aligned next despite an argument that Hadrian’s adoption papers were indeed Trajan’s doing. He was soon well esteemed by the people due to his continued absence from Rome to maintain order. He spent 12 years out of 21 going from province to province correcting management and ensuring the obedience of the legions. He was very well learned and involved with every part of ruling and enforcing justice. His dedication to the army was so much so that he was said to sleep and eat with the ordinary soldiers and often portrayed wearing military clothes despite his reign being comparatively calm.

Hadrian’s directions to new buildings are possibly the greatest part of his remembrance. He brought about cities all over the Balkan Peninsula, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece. He loved Greece and Greek Literature so much that he was called ‘Graeculus’ or ‘Greekling’ in his younger years but this enthusiasm did not diminish with time. He frequented Greece often and was part of the Eleusinian Mysteries very intimately. The Arch of Hadrian was built by the people of Athens during 131-132 AD in recognition as the originator of the city. He devoted many places in Greece towards youthful ‘lover’ Antinous who had drowned in the Nile River 130 AD. Hadrian had cared intesnly for him and his mourned his passing so much that he Hadrian had him defied (where originated the mystery cult in honor of Antinous). While in Egypt he started the city Antinopolis, in Rome he had the Pantheon rebuilt (had burnt down) and Trajan’s Forum along with financing the erection of more buildings, baths and villas. Several of these creations stayed together for a long period of time even as far as the 19th Century; the Pantheon still stands to this day.


In 130 AD Hadrian went to Jerusalem, a place that was in ruins from the First Roman-Jewish War in 66-73 AD. He had the city reconstructed with his own plans and had it named Aelia Capitolina Jupiter Capitolinus in honor of himself and the Ruler of the Roman Gods.

After he had a temple built to Jupiter on top of the remains of the Temple of Solomon (which was hallowed by the Jews), the people gathered in defiance under Simon bar Kokhbah in what was to turn into bar Kokhbah’s Revolt. The Roman lost an immense amount in this venture however the Jews fatalities were just as terrible. When the revolt was finally ended 580,000 Jews had been destroyed and more than 1000 cities demolished. Afterwards Hadrian exiled all the Jews that remained and named the area Syria Palaestina in honor of the foes of the Jewish people, the Philistines. Hadrian then had an open fire of the Torah, killed the Jewish scholars, and banned the religion altogether.


When Hadiran’s health began to weaken he went back to Rome and spent his time writing poetry and governing the country. He adopted and had Antoninus Pius heir with the directions for Antoninus to name Marcus Aurelius as the following successor. Hadrian passed away in 138 AD supposedly from a heart attack at 62 years old.

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