Hadrian’s Deathbed Poem


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Brief Poems

Hadrian (76-138) was the fourteenth Emperor of Rome (10 August 117 to 10 July 138). Born Publius Aelius Hadrianus, probably in Hispania, Hadrian is best known for his substantial building projects throughout the Roman Empire. He established cities throughout the Balkan Peninsula, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece. Among his most celebrated legacies was Hadrian’s Wall. Construction of the wall, known in antiquity as Vallum Hadriani, was begun around 122 and corresponded to Hadrian’s visit to the province. It marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in Britain but the length and breadth of the project (stretching, as it did, from coast to coast) suggests that the more important purpose of the wall was a show of Rome’s power.

Professor D. Brendan Nagle writes that Hadrian spent most of his reign (twelve out of twenty-one years) traveling all over the Empire visiting the provinces, overseeing the administration, and checking the…

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One Reply to “Hadrian’s Deathbed Poem”

  1. The greatest hurtle to understanding ancient history is never having lived in ancient times. Historians come up with all kinds of brilliant metaphors and notions as to why Hadrian’s government built the wall – but they miss the obvious. The wall was never intended to keep anyone out. It’s purpose was to keep cattle and sheep in.

    While it is a simple matter to clamber over an obstacle. It is quite another matter to convince a cow or an ox to follow you on the return trip. In those times and in that place, cattle were the most valuable commodity and livestock looting, otherwise knows as rustling, was the primary purpose for cross-border raids…

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