The Ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian


Kelly Macquire
by and
published on 01 June 2023

Hadrian (l. 78-138 CE) was emperor of Rome (r. 117-138 CE) and is recognized as the third of the Five Good Emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) who ruled justly. His reign marked the height of the Roman Empire, usually given as c. 117 CE, and provided a firm foundation for his successor.

Of all his significant monuments and buildings, Hadrian's Wall in northern Britain is the most famous. Construction of the wall, known in antiquity as Vallum Hadriani, was begun around 122 CE and corresponded to Hadrian's visit to the province. It marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in Britain, but the length and breadth of the project (stretching, as it did, from coast to coast) suggests that the more important purpose of the wall was a show of Rome's power.

Hadrian’s handling of the Bar-Kochba Revolt is the one dark stain on his otherwise admirable reign, but he made his choices based on traditional Roman policy in handling revolts: a harsh response followed by restoration. He may have taken his response as far as he did from personal outrage that anyone would have had a problem with his temple or any of his other decisions.



0:00​ Introduction
0:56 Early Life of Hadrian
3:28 Hadrian as the Emperor of Rome
5:17 Hadrian's Wall
6:26 Hadrian and Antinuous
8:53 Jerusalem and Revolt
10:34 Death and Legacy of Hadrian
11:46 Outro

Hadrian’s Travels
Hadrian’s Wall
Visitor’s Guide to the Monuments of Hadrian’s Villa

Ancient Rome Playlist
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Pax Romana or the Roman Peace Explained
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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

World History Encyclopedia

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2023, June 01). The Ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified June 01, 2023.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 01 Jun 2023. Web. 19 Apr 2024.