Hadrian Bust Sculpture Roman Emperor – Identical Reproduction. Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. Hadrian is known for building Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. He also rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. Philhellene in most of his tastes, he is considered by some to have been a humanist, and he is regarded as one of the Five Good Emperors.
Hadrian was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus into a Hispano-Roman family. Although Italica near Santiponce (in modern-day Spain) is often considered his birthplace, his actual place of birth remains uncertain. However, it is generally accepted that he came from a family with centuries-old roots in Hispania. His predecessor, Trajan, was a maternal cousin of Hadrian’s father. Trajan did not officially designate an heir, but according to his wife Pompeia Plotina, Trajan named Hadrian emperor immediately before his death. Trajan’s wife and his friend Licinius Sura were well-disposed towards Hadrian, and he may well have owed his succession to them.
During his reign, Hadrian travelled to nearly every province of the Empire. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He used his relationship with his Greek lover Antinous to underline his philhellenism and led to the creation of one of the most popular cults of ancient times. He spent extensive amounts of time with the military; he usually wore military attire and even dined and slept amongst the soldiers. He ordered military training and drilling to be more rigorous and even made use of false reports of attack to keep the army alert.
Upon his accession to the throne, Hadrian withdrew from Trajan’s conquests in Mesopotamia and Armenia, and even considered abandoning Dacia. Late in his reign he suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea, renaming the province Syria Palaestina. In 136 an ailing Hadrian adopted Lucius Aelius as his heir, but the latter died suddenly two years later. In 138 Hadrian resolved to adopt Antoninus Pius if he would in turn adopt Marcus Aurelius and Aelius’s son Lucius Verus as his own eventual successors. Antoninus agreed, and soon afterward Hadrian died at Baiae.