The Emperor Hadrian

Portrait of Hadrian (National Roman Museum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme)

Portrait of Hadrian 
 (National Roman Museum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme)

Biography of Hadrian


Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, known simply as the Emperor Hadrian, was born in 76 A.D.

After the premature death of his parents, the Emperor Trajan and his wife Plotina became his guardians. Hadrian came to power in 117, and ruled until the end of his life (July 10, 138 in Baiae).

Hadrian’s reign was characterized by a pause in military operations. The Empire easily maintained the conquests of Trajan - other than Mesopatamia, which was assigned to a sovereign vassal.   
Otherwise, some conquered zones could no longer be defended, while others closer to the more conflicted borders of the Empire saw the construction of permanent fortifications. 
Once his power was consolidated, Hadrian set out on a series of travels throughout the Empire: Gaul, Britain, Spain, Mauritania, and the African and Eastern Provinces.

His goal in undertaking these travels was to understand in person the needs of the various provinces, and to dictate legal measures in order to both help the people and ameliorate and expedite the Empire’s system of defenses.

Hadrian’s politic is known for having reached various benchmarks, beginning with the reform of the Praetorian Edict. Another important pilaster was the radical change he implemented in the administrative apparatus, creating the so-called  advocatus fisci, a type of officer to look after the treasury and fiscal status of the State. 

An avid intellectual, Hadrian was passionate about figurative arts, poetry and literature.

He also loved architecture, contributing his own stylistic touch to some of the buildings constructed in his time. Of course, among them was Hadrian’s Villa.