Hadrian in Roman Biography

Ha'diri an or A'drl-an, [Lat. Haokia'nus; Fr. Adrien, S (lRe-aN' ; It. Adriano, a-dRe-a'no,] or, more fully, Hadria'nus Fub'lius JE'liuB, a Roman emperor, born at Rome in January, 76 A.D., was a son of *E!ius Hadrianus Afer, and a cousin of Trajan. His favourite study was the Greek language and literature. He won the favour of Trajan, and accompanied him in his campaign against the Dacians. He was chosen tribune of the people in 105 A.D., and praetor in 107. When Trajan was forced by illness to retire from the army which he had conducted against the Parthians, he gave the chief command to Hadrian. On the death of Trajan, Hadrian was proclaimed emperor (at Antioch) by the army in August, 117 a.d. ; and their choice was confirmed by the senate. The question whether Trajan had adopted Hadrian as his heir appears to remain undetermined. The new emperor hastened to make peace with the Parthians by abandoning all the provinces which Trajan had conquered beyond the Euphrates, and rendered himself popular by the remission of taxes and other acts of liberality. The greater portion of his reign was spent in journeys through the provinces of his vast empire, in which he displayed durable evidences of his liberality, political wisdom, and love of the fine arts. He commenced these journeys in 119 A.p. He built a famous wall across the island of Britain from Solway Frith to the German Ocean, to protect the Roman province from the incursions of the Picts and Scots. He founded cities in other provinces, completed the temple of Jupiter Olympius at Athens, and erected many great architectural works, among which were a magnificent villa at Tibur, and his mausoleum at Rome, now called the Castle of Saint Angelo. In 131 A.D. he promulgated the " Edictum Perpetuum," a fixed code of laws drawn up by Sal vi us Julianus. This event forms an important epoch in the history of Roman law. His reign was peaceful, and tended to consolidate the empire as well as to civilize the people. He patronized literary men, artists, and philosophers, and composed a number of works, in prose and verse, which are not extant. He aspired to distinction as an architect and painter, and indulged a petty vanity and jealousy towards artists, which sometimes prompted him to acts of cruelty. A short time before his death, he adopted as his successor Arrius Antoninus, surnamed "the Pious," and composed the following verses addressed to his own soul : "Animula, vagula, blandula, H ospes comesque corporis, Quae nunc abibis in loca, Pallidula, rigida, nudula, Nee, ut soles, dabis jocos?"* Died in July, 138 A.D. Many statues and medals of Hadrian are extant. See Spartianus, "Vita Hadriani ;" Niepuhr, "Lectures on Roman History ;"Tili.emont, "Histoiredes Empereurs ;" Gibbon, " History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

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