published on 12 May 2016
Wall builder, emperor and stylish beard wearer, here’s 5 facts on the famous Roman, Hadrian
For more historical facts and features, visit
Or purchase the latest issue of the magazine from the Imagine Shop
You can also find us on:
Hadrian’s wall is unique in the Roman Empire
The Romans were some pretty top-notch architects but the 73 mile long Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most impressive. It was the largest wall-building project of the age and had no equal in Europe. Built to be a physical barrier against the Picts and the Scots in the north, it is believed to have been more of a symbolic border than a barrier and was used to regulate trade, smuggling and small raids. Essentially, we’re not actually entirely sure how much of a threat the Caledonians were in this period. The wall helped boost Hadrian’s popularity and was even whitewashed to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible!
He wasn’t a fan of Rome
Hadrian is well known for preferring to stay out of the capital and instead preferred to spend time visiting the common soldiers on the empire’s borders, eating with them and sleeping in their barracks. The emperor spent roughly half of his entire reign touring the vast provinces, raising the morale of the legions in the process. He probably liked Athens more than he did Rome and is said to have had a love of Greek architecture and history.
He just loved to build
Under Emperor Hadrian, cities sprung up all over the empire in the Balkans, Egypt, Asia Minor and Greece. He rebuilt Jerusalem, the Arch of Hadrian was constructed in Athens and back in Rome the Pantheon was rebuilt after it was previously destroyed in fire. The most famous construction by this emperor though is obviously the wall, a structure that showcased Rome’s power at the beginning of Pax Romana.
His building projects instigated rebellion
It wasn’t just in Roman Britain that Hadrian was fighting enemies of the empire. His rebuilding of Jerusalem 70 CE in a Greek style was planned to exclude all Jews from the city. The Jewish population were enraged after temples to the god Jupiter and the emperor himself were constructed. The revolt would prove costly for Rome and resulted in over 3 years of fighting and the deaths of half a million people.
It’s Hadrian’s fault that Rome fell
Well ok, that’s a little bit unbelievable but hear me out. Hadrian’s strategy towards the future of the empire was defensive and he was one of the first emperors to employ this tactic. With the focus on defensive fortifications rather than expanding the empire, over time the army became less experienced due to a lack of war. Hadrian’s empire was a good one but with the army’s, still immaculate, training not being put to use, the empire was at peace but slowly began to deteriorate internally.
Visitor’s Guide to the Monuments of Hadrian’s Villa
Ten Pilgrim Facts You Need to Know
License & Copyright
Original video by History Answers. Embedded by Jan van der Crabben, published on 12 May 2016.. Please check the original source(s) for copyright information. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.
Cite This Work
Answers, H. (2016, May 12). Hadrian | Top 5 Facts. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/video/858/hadrian--top-5-facts/
Answers, History. "Hadrian | Top 5 Facts." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 12, 2016. https://www.worldhistory.org/video/858/hadrian--top-5-facts/.
Answers, History. "Hadrian | Top 5 Facts." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 12 May 2016. Web. 26 May 2022.