Hadrian: Empire and Conflict

Overview

Even in the panoply of Roman history, Hadrian stands out. Emperor from 117 to 138 ad, he was at once a benevolent ruler and a ruthless military leader, known for his restless and ambitious nature, his interest in architecture, and his passion for Greek culture. This book moves beyond the familiar image of Hadrian to offer a new appraisal of this Emperor’s contradictory personality, his exploits and accomplishments, his rule, and his military role, against the backdrop of his ...

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Overview

Even in the panoply of Roman history, Hadrian stands out. Emperor from 117 to 138 ad, he was at once a benevolent ruler and a ruthless military leader, known for his restless and ambitious nature, his interest in architecture, and his passion for Greek culture. This book moves beyond the familiar image of Hadrian to offer a new appraisal of this Emperor’s contradictory personality, his exploits and accomplishments, his rule, and his military role, against the backdrop of his twenty-one-year reign.

Lavishly illustrated with key works of art and objects, celebrated and little-known sculptures, bronzes, coins and medals, drawings, and watercolors from museums around the globe, the book conveys a vivid sense of the world Hadrian inhabited. Thorsten Opper shows the emperor from many angles—as a complex individual, as a military leader and strategist, as the amateur architect who created magnificent buildings such as his villa at Tivoli (an empire in miniature), as the lover who deified his male lover Antinous after his mysterious death in the Nile, and, finally, as the traveler who tirelessly roamed his empire and its boundaries.

From his place in Roman history to his legacy, which even makes its way into the popular culture of our day, the Hadrian who emerges from these pages is no longer larger than life; rather, he has all the depth and complexity, the color and shadings and detail of life itself.

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Editorial Reviews

culturekiosque.com

[An] excellent and lavishly illustrated book...Highly recommended and astonishing value for money.
— Andrew Jack

Choice

The book is lavishly illustrated with high—quality color photos of many important works of art, architecture, and coins from many countries...Intended for a general audience, the book is lucidly written.
— J. Pollini

culturekiosque.com - Andrew Jack
[An] excellent and lavishly illustrated book...Highly recommended and astonishing value for money.
Choice - J. Pollini
The book is lavishly illustrated with high--quality color photos of many important works of art, architecture, and coins from many countries...Intended for a general audience, the book is lucidly written.
Library Journal

Opper (curator, Greek & Roman sculpture, British Museum) curated the current British Museum exhibition on Hadrian, which this book accompanies. Both bring together artifacts from around the world, including stunning sculptures, bronzes, coins, mosaics, and fine interpretive texts about the man who was emperor of Rome from 117 C.E. to 138 C.E. Opper newly assesses Hadrian's legacy. Hadrian had to assert his legitimacy continually, as the product of the new elite arising out of Spain, and as the adopted successor of his military mentor Trajan. Opper lauds Hadrian's ability to bring stability to the empire through his stamina, military actions, constant travel through the provinces, and extensive building programs in Rome and beyond, e.g., the famous wall in England's north. The author repeatedly demonstrates the importance of architecture in Hadrian's vision for the Roman Empire, and here, for the first time, readers can see fragments of a colossal statue of Hadrian excavated in 2007 at Sagalassos in Turkey. There is also a moving array of artifacts from the Cave of Letters in Judea, where people hid during the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132 C.E. when the Jewish population rose up against Roman rule and were brutally defeated. Opper covers both Hadrian's devotion to his Greek male lover, Antinous, and his relationship with his wife, Sabina, and his adoption of Antoninus Pius as his successor. This striking, beautifully illustrated book belongs in all archaeology, history, and ancient art collections in academic, special, and large public libraries.-Joan W. Gartland, Macomb Community Coll. Libs., Warren, MI

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674057425
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 934,517
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thorsten Opper is a curator in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum. He has published work on ancient sculpture and eighteenth-century antiquarianism.
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Table of Contents

Sponsor's Foreword 8

Director's Foreword 9

Preface and Acknowledgements 10

Chronology 12

Map of Roman Provinces under Hadrian 14

Introduction 16

I A New Elite 32

II War and Peace 62

III Architecture and Identity 98

IV Hadrian's Villa 130

V Antinous 166

VI Sabina 198

VII Towards Eternity 206

List of Roman Emperors 222

Glossary 222

List of Exhibits 226

Notes 236

Bibliography 245

Illustration Acknowledgements 250

Index 252

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