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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, 07:43:20 pm »



Hadrian, wreathed and in Greek dress
offers a sprig of laurel to Apollo.

Marble, from the temple of Apollo
at Cyrene, ca. 117125.







Hadrian wrote poetry in both Latin and Greek; one of the few surviving examples is a Latin poem he reportedly composed on his deathbed (see below). He also wrote an autobiography not, apparently, a work of great length or revelation, but designed to scotch various rumours or explain his various actions. The work is lost but was apparently used by the writer whether Marius Maximus or someone else on whom the Historia Augusta principally relied for its vita of Hadrian: at least, a number of statements in the vita have been identified (by Ronald Syme and others) as probably ultimately stemming from the autobiography.

Another of Hadrian's contributions to the arts was the beard. The portraits of emperors up to this point were all clean shaven, idealized images of Greek athletes. Hadrian wore a beard as evidenced by all his portraits. Subsequent emperors would be portrayed with beards for more than a century and a half.

Hadrian was a humanist and deeply Hellenophile in all his tastes. He favoured the doctrines of the philosophers Epictetus, Heliodorus and Favorinus and was generally considered an Epicurean, as were some of his friends such as Caius Bruttius Praesens. At home he attended to social needs. Hadrian mitigated but did not abolish slavery, had the legal code humanized and forbade torture. He built libraries, aqueducts, baths and theaters. Hadrian is considered by many historians to have been wise and just: Schiller called him "the Empire's first servant", and Edward Gibbon admired his "vast and active genius", as well as his "equity and moderation".

While visiting Greece in 125, he attempted to create a kind of provincial parliament to bind all the semi-autonomous former city states across all Greece and Ionia (in Asia Minor). This parliament, known as the Panhellenion, failed despite spirited efforts to instill cooperation among the Hellenes.

Hadrian was especially famous for his romance with a Greek youth, Antinous, whom he met in Bythinia in 124 when the boy was thirteen or fourteen. While touring Egypt in 130, Antinous mysteriously drowned in the Nile. Deeply saddened, Hadrian founded the Egyptian city of Antinopolis. Hadrian drew the whole Empire into his mourning, making Antinous the last new god of antiquity.

Hadrian died at his villa in Baiae. He was buried in a mausoleum on the western bank of the Tiber, in Rome, a building later transformed into a papal fortress, Castel Sant'Angelo. The dimensions of his mausoleum, in its original form, were deliberately designed to be slightly larger than the earlier Mausoleum of Augustus.

According to Cassius Dio a gigantic equestrian statue was erected to Hadrian after his death. "It was so large that the bulkiest man could walk through the eye of each horse, yet because of the extreme height of the foundation persons passing along on the ground below believe that the horses themselves as well as Hadrian are very small."
« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 07:46:16 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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