Our foray into the adoptive emperors continues with an exploration of Hadrian!
Born in 75 CE, Hadrian was the son of a senator from Italica, a city in the province of Hispania Baetica. In 85, his father died and he became a ward of his distance relative Trajan. The connection between the two is established prior to Trajan’s accession to princeps in 96.
Hadrian comes to power in 117 and rules until his death in 138. There is some controversy surrounding his accession. The succession was only secured on Trajan’s deathbed and there’s the possibility that it was fabricated. He is proclaimed emperor without consultation of the senate and, for some, this adds greater weight to the suspicion that he moved quickly to secure his uncertain claim.
Following in the shadow of Trajan, Hadrian is a complex and interesting figure. He divides the opinion of the senate, and is both praised and critiqued by the historical record. His legacy in the East, his open interest in Greek art and ideals, as well as his relationship with Antinous, are all points of interest and discussion in the life and times of Hadrian.
He leaves a legacy of building works that continues to stun even today. The villa Hadriana in Tivoli and the Pantheon in Rome are both beautiful examples of his architectural vision.
Let the Partial Historians guide you through some of the interesting details of his rule!
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