Hadrian was the head of the Roman Empire during the period from 117 to 138. Hadrian was the only emperor among his successors and predecessors to have visited all the cities and provinces of the great Roman Empire. He was a perfect example of a passionate traveler who managed to achieve success in many areas including military service and politics.
Today, we want to share with our readers the facts related to his life and reign that they may not know about. Here they are…
Hadrian: 9 interesting facts about one of the greatest Roman emperors
1. Hadrian lost his parents at the age of 10
Hadrian was born in January 76 to Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer and Domitia Paulina. His father was a senator. His mother came from a noble senatorial family based in the city that is now known as Cadiz. The family settled in Italica because Hadrian’s father needed to visit Rome on business rather often.
Hadrian’s parents died when he was only 10 years old. After their death, Hadrian and his sister were taken care of by Trajan, a Roman emperor and cousin of Hadrian’s father.
When a boy, Hadrian was deeply interested in hunting, Greek literature and culture. When he turned 14, Trajan called him to Rome to continue his education, an interesting Hadrian fact.
2. Hadrian was the successor of Trajan
Hadrian and his ward Trajan were very close friends. After the death of Trajan, dis widow stated that he had appointed Hadrian as his successor.
The first thing he believed he had to do as an emperor was to deify his ward Trajan. In order to do it, he had to ask for the Senate permission.
The way he communicated with authorities was rather unusual. He respected them. However, his ideas, views and approaches to ruling the empire were different from those of Trojan. His main priority was to make independent decisions based on what he believed to be beneficial for his empire.
3. Hadrian travelled to all the provinces and cities of his empire
An interesting fact about Hadrian is that he believed traveling to all the provinces to be one of his main duties. The period from 121 to 132 was the period when he travelled most often and visited the majority of the provinces. During his stay in every city and province, Hadrian organized personal meetings with citizens. He spoke with people and solved their biggest issues.
4. Hadrian did everything possible to improve the life of military forces
Once Hadrian became an emperor, he started to regularly visit army units. He checked the skills of soldiers and their ability to defend the empire. The lifestyle of the military forces was changing rapidly.
The soldiers were no longer preoccupied with only the task of defending the empire. They rose horses, built rock quarries, designed and produced the military uniform.
Hadrian believed the military forces to be the crucial element of the thriving and peaceful empire. He emphasized the importance of strict discipline in the army. At the same time, he could communicate with the soldiers without any arrogance. He often had lunch together with soldiers.
Hadrian himself was a former soldier. The soldiers loved and respected Hadrian very much. During the reign of Hadrian, there were no army revolts.
5. Hadrian refused the idea of further expansion in the East
The reason for the decision had to do with conflicts in Mesopotamia. Hadrian put an end to the conflicts on the borders of provinces and cities. He ordered to stop the war with Parthia.
6. Hadrian adhered to a different view of the empire
Hadrian didn’t believe that the basic aim of the cities was to contribute to the success and wealthiness of Rome, an interesting fact about Hadrian. His goal was to create a unique Empire. The Empire for him was a unique system that implied the union of provinces and people living in it. The provinces the particular feature of which was various customs.
7. Hadrian ordered to issue a series of coins
After his trips to different cities of the Empire, Hadrian ordered to issue a unique series of coins. The images on the coins featured the capitals of the Empire’s provinces. Each province was personified in the image of a woman.
8. Hadrian didn’t have children
An interesting fact about Hadrian is that the question of the successor to the throne was one of the most serious issues Hadrian faced with. His marriage wasn’t a happy one. Some people of that era believed that he was treating his wife poorly. He married Vibia Sabina at the request of the Trojan’s wife Plotina.
Vibia died in 128. Eight years later, Hadrian adopted Lucius Caesar and proclaimed him an heir to the throne. Unfortunately, Lucius died before Hadrian.
Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius and ordered him to adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. The measure guaranteed that there would be heirs to the throne in the following generations.
9. During the reign of Hadrian, there were no wars
The only war happened in 132, close to the end of the Hadrian’s era. The war started because of the idea to build a Roman Temple in Jerusalem. The resistance under the command of Simon bar Kokhba was suppressed within 3 following years.
Hadrian died in July 138. He was buried in the Gardens of Domitia. Once the building of the mausoleum in his honor was completed, the body of Hadrian was cremated. His ashes, together with the ashes of his wife and his first adopted son, were placed in the mausoleum.
We hope the facts we provided helped you to learn more about Hadrian and his contribution to the life of the Roman Empire. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!