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Roman Empire

Ruler: Hadrian
Reigned: 11th Aug. 117 - 10th July 138 AD
Denomination: AE Sestertius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 118 AD
Obverse: Laureate head of Hadrian facing right, with light drapery on far shoulder. "IMP. CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG."
Reverse: Emperor seated left on platform, accompanied by seated attendant and Liberalitas standing left in background, holding abacus, citizen mounting steps of platform on left, receiving largesse from attendant. "PONT. MAX. TR. POT. COS. II" In exergue, in two lines, "LIBERALITAS AVG./S•C•"
Reference: RIC II, 552; RIC II.3 163; RCVM 3606 var.
Weight: 24.9 gms
Diameter: 33.6 mm

HADRIAN (Publius Aelius Hadrianus)

  • Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born on 24 January AD 76, probably at Rome. His family came from Italica in Spain.
  • Hadrian's father, Aelius Hadrianus Afer, was a cousin of the emperor Trajan, who was also from Italica.
  • When Hadrian's father died in 86 AD the boy of 10 became a joint ward of Trajan and a Roman knight, Acilius Attianus.
  • Hadrian became a judge in one of the inheritance courts at Rome and then an officer in the army, on the Danube.
  • When Trajan became emperor, Hadrian commanded the First Legion 'Minervia' in the second Dacian war (105-6 AD) and made governor of Lower Pannonia in AD 107. He also fought the Parthians in 114 AD and was made governor of Syria.
  • Although he only did it on hid death-bed, Trajan adopted Hadrian as his successor and so Hadrian became emperor, 11th August 117 AD.
  • One of Hadrian's first acts was the abandonment of the territories east of the Euphrates which Trajan had conquered during his last campaign.
  • Hadrian was an energetic ruler and carried out "Great Journeys" throughout the empire. One result was the construction of Hadrian's Wall, built to defend the Roman province of Britain against barbarian raids from the north.
  • Hadrian planned to rebuild Jerusalem, destroyed after the Jewish revolt of AD 66-74, to be called Aelia Capitolina, including a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus on the site of the old Temple of Solomon. The Jews rose in revolt in 132 AD under the leadership of Simon BarKochba. Peace was not restored until 135 AD.
  • In 136 AD, Hadrian, fearing death, adopted Lucius Ceionius Commodus as his successor. Given the name Lucius Aelius Caesar he was sent to Pannonia as governer, but died of tuberculosis, 1st January 138 AD, much to Hadrian's disgust.
  • Hadrian's illness grew worse and he left Rome for the resort of Baiae, handing over the government to Antoninus Pius, his new chosen successor, where he died on 10 July 138 AD.

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