Torch: WI - Page 14

a look at hadrian, cont.

He apparently wrote similar poems in Greek, but they were hardly better than this one.

As Emperor

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Hadrian inherited a wary populace, unsure what to think of another Spanish upstart. He wasted no time, moreover, in consolidating his power, securing the Senate’s approval and—most importantly—control of the Syrian legions. He remained in the East to suppress the Jewish revolt which had broken out under Trajan, and then moved on to deal with the Danubian frontier. Around the same time, the emperor executed the general Lusius Quietus and four senators who were “conspiring” against him. This event undoubtedly strained his relations with the Senate for his entire reign. That he was rarely in Rome—he undertook a lengthy tour of the entire empire—however, likely soothed this troubled alliance, but it did not silence all his critics. Some lambasted him for being too Greek, as he had been archon of Athens and later became a citizen, while others decried his perceived flippancy for Rome.

Yet despite contemporary opinion, Hadrian proved a remarkably prudent and effective administrator, largely as a result of his extensive travels. He was the first emperor to recognize the value of a true commonwealth, where all shared in the triumphs and failures of the empire. Hadrian supported

Hadrian proved a remarkably prudent and effective administrator, largely as a result of his extensive travels.

the creation of new municipia, autonomous communities which could retain their customs and laws, and erected a prodigious number of buildings, including a rebuilt Pantheon, trying to strengthen the Empire through improved infrastructure, rather than pursuing far-flung enemies—his most famous construction, his wall focused on keeping enemies out. He incurred widespread criticism, however, for his abandonment of several of the empire’s most remote provinces, as they were financially and militarily indefensible. Although likely a prudent decision, this singular action dogged him throughout his reign and antiquity.

To be sure, Hadrian was not without his faults, including his institution of a part-time secret police, the frumentarii, and the largest, his mishandling of

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