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The Greekling

Contributed by David Verne

After negotiating peace with the Parthian Empire, Hadrian continues on to Greece. He joins the Eleusinian Mysteries, one of several Eastern mystery cults that were more exciting than the old religions of Rome. Hadrian had always loved Greek culture, to the point where he earned the nickname the Greekling, and he tried to revive interest in Greek culture. Hadrian broke the tradition of Romans shaving their face and sported a Greek style beard, which later emperors would emulate. He sponsored philosophy schools and public games, and he improved every town he visited in some way, such as a new aqueduct or improved road system. Hadrian also tried to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire by building many temples and theaters in the city. He also encouraged the two leaders of Athens and Sparta to join the Senate, which furthered Hadrian's goal to create an Empire for the people, not just native Romans or Italians. [1]

My Take by David Verne
By this point in his reign, Hadrian had done many things that a lesser emperor, like Domitian, wouldn't get away with. He had retreated from conquered lands, refused to make any wars of conquest, ignored many customs, and eventually will turn Italy into "just another province." Where Domitian had aggressively pursued reforms, Hadrian did it carefully, making sure to take his time and placate the Senate. Rome had not been neglected during his multi year tour of the Empire, and plenty of building projects and lavish games kept the city happy.

See Also


  1. Duncan, Mike (January 31, 2010). 82-Hadrian's Walls.

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