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Hadrian(hā`drēən), A.D. 76–138, Roman emperor (117–138), b. Spain. His name in full was Publius Aelius Hadrianus. An orphan, he became the ward of TrajanTrajan
(Marcus Ulpius Trajanus) , c.A.D. 53–A.D. 117, Roman emperor (A.D. 98–A.D. 117). Born in Spain, he was the first non-Italian to become head of the empire. Trajan served in the East, in Germany, and in Spain. He was adopted in A.D.
..... Click the link for more information. . Hadrian distinguished himself as a commander (especially in DaciaDacia
, ancient name of the European region corresponding roughly to modern Romania (including Transylvania). It was inhabited before the Christian era by a people who were called Getae by the Greeks and were called Daci by the Romans.
..... Click the link for more information. ) and as an administrator. Trajan's choice of Hadrian as his successor, announced after his death, caused some discontent in Rome. His reign was vigorous and judicious, and he ruled over a prosperous and relatively peaceful era. Hadrian proved his military skill in pacifying (118) MoesiaMoesia
, ancient region of SE Europe, south of the lower Danube River. Inhabited by Thracians, it was captured by the Romans in 29 B.C. It was later organized as a Roman province, comprising roughly what is now Serbia (Upper Moesia) and N Bulgaria (Lower Moesia).
..... Click the link for more information. . Abandoning Trajan's aggressively expansionist policy in Asia, he withdrew to the boundary of the Euphrates. In Palestine, however, he proved himself ruthless. His Romanizing policy aroused opposition there, especially when he excluded the Jews from Jerusalem. He put down (A.D. 132) the insurrection of Bar KokbaBar Kokba, Simon,
or Simon Bar Cochba
[Heb.,=son of the star], d. A.D. 135, Hebrew hero and leader of a major revolt against Rome under Hadrian (132–135). He may have claimed to be a Messiah; the Talmud relates that Akiba ben Joseph credited him with this title.
..... Click the link for more information. with great severity; the ensuing war (132–135) was the most difficult of his reign. In Rome he was generous in offering circuses and in giving alms to the poor, and he enlarged and reformed the civil service.
Hadrian traveled extensively in the empire, interesting himself in all the local affairs of state and adorning the provincial cities. In Germany he built great protective walls, and in Britain (where he had visited c.121) he had Hadrian's WallHadrian's Wall,
ancient Roman wall, 73.5 mi (118.3 km) long, across the narrow part of the island of Great Britain from Wallsend on the Tyne River to Bowness at the head of Solway Firth. It was mainly built from c.A.D.
..... Click the link for more information. constructed. He built a temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on the site of the ruined Temple at Jerusalem and renamed Jerusalem Colonia Aelia Capitolina. He also built the Arch of Hadrian in Athens, and in Rome he rebuilt the Pantheon, added to the Roman Forum, and erected a mausoleum (now Castel Sant'Angelo). His last years were spent more or less quietly in Rome and in his villa at Tibur (which has been excavated), cultivating the arts. He was learned in Greek and accomplished in poetry and music. Hadrian also patronized artists, and his love for the doomed young AntinoüsAntinoüs
, c.110–130, favorite of Emperor Hadrian, b. Bithynia. He was with the emperor constantly until on a journey in Egypt he was drowned in the Nile—some say in saving Hadrian's life.
..... Click the link for more information. was memorialized by sculptors and architects. As his successor he chose Antoninus PiusAntoninus Pius
(Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus) , A.D. 86–A.D. 161, Roman emperor (138–161). After a term as consul (120) he went as proconsul to Asia, where he governed with distinction.
..... Click the link for more information. .
See S. Perowine, Hadrian (1987); M. T. Boatwright, Hadrian and the City of Rome (1989); A Everitt, Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (2009).