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THE PANTHEON/Agrippa & Hadrian Biographies

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Author Topic: THE PANTHEON/Agrippa & Hadrian Biographies  (Read 4369 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2008, 07:20:53 pm »









Early life



Though there was a late tradition that Hadrian was born in Italica located in the province called Hispania Baetica (the southernmost Roman province in the Iberian Peninsula, comprising modern Spain and Portugal), he himself stated in his autobiography, now lost, that he was born in Rome on 24 January 76 of a family originally Italian but Hispanian for many generations. However, this might just be a political stunt to show he was Roman in every way.

His father was Hispanian Roman Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, who as a senator of praetorian rank would spend much of his time in Rome.  Hadrianís forefathers came from Hadria, modern Atri, an ancient town of Picenum in Italy, but the family had settled in Italica in Hispania Baetica soon after its founding by Scipio Africanus. Afer was
a paternal cousin of the future Emperor Trajan.

His mother was Domitia Paulina who came from Gades (CŠdiz). Paulina was a daughter of a distinguished Hispanian Roman Senatorial family. Hadrianís elder sister and only sibling was Aelia Domitia Paulina, his niece was Julia Serviana Paulina and his great-nephew was Gnaeus Pedanius Fuscus Salinator. His parents died in 85/86 when Hadrian was nine, and the boy then became a ward of both Trajan and Publius Acilius Attianus (who was later Trajanís Praetorian Prefect).  Hadrian was schooled in various subjects particular to young aristocrats of the day, and was so fond of learning Greek literature that he was nicknamed Graeculus ("Little Greek").

Hadrian visited Italica when he was 14 and enlisted in the army there, but was recalled by Trajan who thereafter looked after his development. He never returned to Italica although it was later made a colonia in his honour. His first military service was as a tribune of the Legio II Adiutrix. Later, he was to be transferred to the Legio I Minervia in Germany. When Nerva died in 98, Hadrian rushed to inform Trajan personally. He later became legate of a legion in Upper Pannonia and eventually governor of said province. He was also archon in Athens for a brief time, and was elected an Athenian citizen.

Hadrian was active in the wars against the Dacians (as legate of the V Macedonica) and reputedly won awards from Trajan for his successes. Due to an absence of military action in his reign, Hadrian's military skill is not well attested, however his keen interest and knowledge of the army and his demonstrated skill of administration show possible strategic talent.

Hadrian joined Trajan's expedition against Parthia as a legate on Trajanís staff. Neither during the initial victorious phase, nor during the second phase of the war when rebellion swept Mesopotamia did Hadrian do anything of note. However when the governor of Syria had to be sent to sort out renewed troubles in Dacia, Hadrian was appointed as a replacement, giving him an independent command.  Trajan, seriously ill by that time, decided to return to Rome while Hadrian remained in Syria to guard the Roman rear. Trajan only got as far as Selinus before he became too ill to go further. While Hadrian may have been the obvious choice as successor, he had never been adopted as Trajan's heir. As Trajan lay dying, nursed by his wife, Plotina (a supporter of Hadrian), he at last adopted Hadrian as heir. Then he died. Allegations that the order of events was the other way round have never quite been resolved.
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