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

  • Paperback | 424 pages
  • 156 x 230 x 28mm | 798.32g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 8 line drawings, 38 b&w photographs
  • 0415228123
  • 9780415228121
  • 420,121

Table of contents

Preface. List of illustrations. List of maps. Introduction: The Emperor Hadrian. 1. A Childhood in Flavian Rome 2. The Old Dominion 3. The Military Tribune 4. Principatus et Libertas 5. The Young General 6. Archon at Athens 7. The Parthian War 8. The New Ruler 9. Return to Rome 10. To the German Frontier 11. Hadrian's Wall 12. A New Augustus 13. Return to the East 14. A Summer in Asia 15. A Year in Greece 16. Pater Patriae 17. Africa 18. Hadrianus Olympius 19. Death in the Nile 20. Athens and Jerusalem 21. The Bitter End Epilogue: Animula Vagula Blandula Stemma. Abbreviations and Notes. Bibliography. Index: (Persons; Peoples & Places; Subject)
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Review quote

"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...."
-"Publishers Weekly
"Effectively captures and communicates Hadrian's passionate nature... An epic account of one of Ancient Rome's most fascinating and influential emperors.."
""Hadrian would undoubtedly work well in many upper level classes. In short, this biography is a necessary addition to the library of all students and scholars of the Roman Empire."
-Religious Studies Review
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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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Rating details

56 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 30% (17)
4 36% (20)
3 25% (14)
2 9% (5)
1 0% (0)
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