Hadrian : The Restless Emperor

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Hadrian's reign (AD 117-138) was a watershed in the history of the Roman Empire. Hadrian abandoned his predecessor Trajan's eastern conquests - Mesopotamia and Armenia - trimmed down the lands beyond the lower Danube, and constructed new demarcation lines in Germany, North Africa, and most famously Hadrian's Wall in Britain, to delimit the empire. The emperor Hadrian, a strange and baffling figure to his contemporaries, had a many-sided personality. Insatiably ambitious, and a passionate Philhellene, he promoted the 'Greek Renaissance' extravagantly. But his attempt to Hellenize the Jews, including the outlawing of circumcision, had disastrous consequences, and his 'Greek' love of the beautiful Bithynian boy Antinous ended in tragedy. No comprehensive account of Hadrian's life and reign has been attempted for over seventy years. In Hadrian: The Restless Emperor, Anthony Birley brings together the new evidence from inscriptions and papyri, and up-to-date and in-depth examination of the work of other scholars on aspects of Hadrian's reign and policies such as the Jewish war, the coinage, Hadrian's building programme in Rome, Athens and Tivoli, and his relationship with his favourite, Antinous, to provide a thorough and fascinating account of the private and public life of a man who, though hated when he died, left an indelible mark on the Roman Empire.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 420 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 725.74g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8 line figures, 38 b&w photographs
  • 041516544X
  • 9780415165440

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"Birley has...produced a volume rich in detail, imaginative in interpretation, sane and sensible in judgment."-"TheClassical Outlook "Birley has written the best biography of Hadrian to appear in English in 75 years and one likely to remain the standard treatment in any language for the foreseeable future.[This] is a clearly presented, judiciously argued, and interesting story of a man who saw himself as a second Augustus and Olympian Zeus.."-"Choice, May 1998 "Hadrian is a thorough and fascinating account of the life of a man who, though hated when he died, left an indelible mark on the Roman empire."-"Book Watch "An excellent, and long overdue, biography of one of the greatest and most accomplished of the Roman emperors."-"Kirkus Reviews "With meticulous scholarship, this balanced biography portrays a cultured tyrant who used his secret police to spy on friends and family as well as a restless traveler who spent half his reign touring his farflung provinces . . . will appeal to history buffs."-"Publishers Weekly

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About Anthony R. Birley

Anthony R. Birley is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Dusseldorf. He was previously Professor of Ancient History at Manchester University. His previous books include three on Roman Britain as well as biographies of Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus.

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