If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.
With the end of the Flavian dynasty there is a dramatic drop-off in the quantity and quality of our written source material, but one document that does provide some hard facts is the Fasti Ostienses, a marble calendar from Ostia. This tells us:
14th day before the Kalends of October [18 September 96]: Domitian killed. On the same day, Marcus Cocceius N[erva] proclaimed Emperor.2
If the accession looked odd in that the Empire now fell under the control of a sickly sexagenarian who was a long-time Flavian supporter with close ties to Domitian and a tendency to puke up his food, he was nevertheless of proven competence and, crucially for Rome, he had no children.
Nerva Caesar Augustus as he was now known declared Domitian’s Domus Flavia ‘open house’, and took up a more modest abode in the Horti Sallustiani. He publicly renounced terrorism, recalled exiles and restored property confiscated by the previous incumbent. But if people complained that under Domitian no one had been allowed to do anything, the Consul T. Catius Caesius Fronto said that under Nerva anyone could do whatever they liked. Everyone
acted for himself, brought his personal enemies to trial (if they were not too powerful), and had them condemned amid the general confusion and chaos.3
Nevertheless, most sources depict Nerva as a man who at least tried to do the right thing: ‘I have done nothing that would prevent my laying down the imperial office and returning to private life in safety,’ he said.4 He was certainly keen to balance the budget, and he abolished many sacrifices and spectacles and forbade the erection of gold or silver statues to himself on the Capitol. Yet he still found funds to grant sixty million sestertii’s worth of land allotments to Italy’s urban poor, and cut inheritance tax. Under his alimenta(‘nourishments’) scheme, Italian landowners were offered low-interest loans, whose proceeds were put into trusts for the maintenance of poor children in Italy.5 Nerva also dedicated the Forum built by Domitian, which now became known as the Forum of Nerva, or the Forum Transitorium, as well as building granaries, making repairs to the Colosseum, building roads, establishing veteran colonies in Africa, and reinstating pantomime performances.
Nerva also brought several elder statesmen out of retirement to help him govern, notably Sextus Julius Frontinus, an ex-governor of Britain whom he appointed as curator of the water supply, on which Frontinus published an important book, de Aquis Urbis Romae. Nerva preferred to consult his own amici and consilium rather than the Senate, which inevitably caused ill feeling, and in 97 he detected a conspiracy led by L. (or C.) Calpurnius Crassus. However, he merely dropped hints that he knew about it, and banished Crassus. Such leniency was unwise, especially since Nerva’s regime was vulnerable because Domitian had been a military man, whereas he had been appointed without the involvement of either the provincial armies or the Praetorian Guard. The latter mutinied under Casperius Aelianus in 97. Nerva was taken hostage; the Praetorians demanded the surrender of Domitian’s murderers; Nerva resisted their demands and bared his throat to the soldiers; the conspirators were seized and killed anyway; but although Nerva survived, he was still forced into a public expression of thanks to Casperius.
To lose the support of the Praetorians was as good as a death sentence, but in October 97 Nerva’s experienced and popular governor in Germania Superior, M. Ulpius Traianus (‘Trajan’), won a victory in Pannonia. Trajan commanded both legions and respect, and Nerva adopted him as his son and heir, buying himself enough time to die of natural causes. By inaugurating this practice of adopting a competent army officer as his successor on the basis of ability rather than family, or indeed nationality, Nerva had created an important precedent that introduced one of the Roman Empire’s greatest periods of strength and stability.
Born in Italica in the province of Hispania Baetica on (probably) 18 September 53, Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus, alias Trajan, was the first non-Italian to be Emperor of Rome, although there is a deafening silence about this in Pliny’s monumental speech known as thePanegyricus, delivered to the Senate on 1 September 100. The new Princeps had served as military tribune in Syria under his father, married Pompeia Plotina from Nemausus (moder n Nîmes), become a guardian of P. Aelius Hadrianus (the future Emperor Hadrian), and had ascended the politico-military ladder of success, largely under Domitian, to become governor of Germania Inferior, which is where he was when Hadrian delivered him a handwritten note from Nerva notifying him of his adoption.
What Trajan didn’t know about the business of government wasn’t worth knowing, and by the end of January 98 he was Emperor of Rome. He ticked all the right Roman boxes too: respected by the troops, noble, well connected, popular and not too old:
His association with the people was marked by affability and his inter course with the Senate by dignity, so that he was loved by all and dreaded by none save the enemy.6
Apparently, Trajan liked a drink, and kept male slaves as his ‘delicati’ (‘darlings’), but Dio says that he indulged his taste for boys with a moderation that never ‘bothered’ any of them.7 And so he ultimately earned the title optimus princeps, ‘best emperor’.
Trajan didn’t go to Rome immediately. Domitian had mobilized a force in Pannonia and Moesia on the Danube frontier totalling some 70 000 men just before his death, so Trajan probably had one eye on forestalling any potential trouble, be this with his own troops or with their barbarian opponents. There was some conflict, although we know nothing about the result (the Romans declared neither victory nor peace), but by October 99 Trajan was back in Rome and receiving a very enthusiastic welcome.
A new Golden Age, which Tacitus called beatissimum saeculum, was often said to be dawning, and Trajan worked hard to instil a sense of the ‘spirit of his age’ in his staff – the phrase appears several times in letters that he exchanged with Pliny the Younger. He preferred to exercise auctoritasrather than imperium, treated the Senate with great respect, used Equestrians rather than imperial freedmen, rewarded his associates with high office and promotions, and must have been at ease with multiculturalism, since his Consuls included Greeks from Asia Minor, a Moorish chieftain, the last known descendant of Herod the Great, and Gaius Julius Epiphanes Philopappus, grandson of the last king of Commagene. Nerva’s alimenta scheme continued to function, and he sent officials calledcuratores to Italian municipalities having financial difficulties to help rehabilitate them.
On a more private level the Emperor had to juggle the interests of senior officers with those of his family, which were dictated by Pompeia Plotina. She is often seen as the power behind the throne, but, on entering the palace for the first time, she is supposed to have turned to face the populace and said that she hoped she would leave it the same person she was when she entered. Pliny’s Panegyricus praised her modest attire, moderate number of attendants and her unassuming manner. It looked like everyone’s heart was in the right place.
Trajan the Warrior, Part 1
Trajan’s heart was also in something he was very good at: warfare. Pliny celebrates his popularity with the troops, and his willingness to share hardships and dangers with them, although Dio is more apologetic:
And even if he did delight in war, nevertheless he was satisfied when success had been achieved, a most bitter foe overthrown and his countrymen exalted.8
By 101 he was in action on the Danube frontier against the Dacian king, Decebalus. Trajan brought in legions and auxiliaries from Germany, Britain and elsewhere, and formed two new ones, XX Ulpia and (probably later) II Traiana. He then struck hard into Decebalus’ territory. The Dacian warriors wielded a formidable two-handed scythe known as a falx, but they were no match for Trajan’s men: their army was defeated towards the end of 101; Decebalus’ counter-attack was repulsed; Trajan’s forces advanced to the Dacian capital of Sarmizegethusa (modern Varhély); and in autumn 102 Decebalus sought peace. He was allowed to retain his throne as a client king, but Roman garrisons were installed in his territory. An amazing bridge, 1 135 metres long with twenty stone piers connected by arches, was then constructed over the Danube by Trajan’s master engineer and architect Apollodorus of Damascus. The Emperor returned to Rome, cel ebrated a triumph, and the Senate awarded him the title Dacicus.
Decebalus had got off lightly, but unfortunately for his people he broke the treaty in 105. This time Trajan’s response was practically genocidal. He marched into Dacia in the early summer of 106, crossing via Apollodorus’ bridge. Decebalus decided to avoid a pitched battle and instead tried to assassinate Trajan in his camp and to achieve a settlement by capturing and ransoming his senior officers. All to no avail. Trajan’s troops bore down on Sarmizegethusa, which was swiftly captured. Decebalus committed suicide rather than be paraded in a Roman triumph, and so the Romans had to make do with exhibiting his severed head on the steps of the Capitol.
The Fasti Ostienses confirm that the war was over by the autumn of 106. Dacia became the first Roman province north of the Danube, a colony ultimately called Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegethusa was founded close to Sarmizegethusa, Dacia’s gold mines were exploited, and the war booty was enormous – reputedly (although no doubt exaggeratedly) more than 2.25 million kg of gold, twice as much silver and over 500 000 prisoners. Trajan ploughed these funds back into infrastructure, social projects and donatives to the people. He could afford to be generous, and his coins said as much by featuring the image of Abundantia (Abundance personified). Ten thousand gladiators fought and 11 000 animals were killed in a victory celebration that lasted 123 days. As the contemporary satirist Juvenal was later famously to complain, this too suited the spirit of the age:
The public has long since cast off its cares; the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses.9
A monument to Trajan’s Dacian campaigns still stands in Rome: Trajan’s Column. Designed by Apollodorus of Damascus, and dedicated on 2 May 113, it is 100 Roman feet (about 30 metres) high, and features a 200-metre-long continuous spiral of relief sculpture that wraps itself twenty-three times around the column’s exterior and portrays 2 600 figures taking part in 155 distinct scenes. It shows Trajan himself planning, sacrificing, supervising, consulting and haranguing, before it culminates in Decebalus’ suicide, the pursuit of the Dacian leaders, and mass deportations. This extraordinary monument to regime change and ethnic cleansing also became Trajan’s mausoleum; Dacia is now called Romania.
Trajan and Peace
In 107, Trajan returned to Rome, whose cityscape changed radically under his Principate. Marble seating was installed in the Circus Maximus; Rome’s largest set of public baths opened on 22 June 109; a new aqueduct brought water over 60 kilometres to the Janiculum Hill; and Apollodorus of Damascus was the brains behind an enormous Forum complex that was so large that all the other imperial Fora would have fitted into it. An ancillary market complex served as both a shopping centre and the headquarters of Rome’s annona (Grain Supply Agency), and a vast hexagonal harbour that could accommodate over one hundred vessels was constructed at Portus at the Tiber mouth. Juvenal described it as ‘a man-made breakwater that no natural harbour could equal’.10 Centum Cellae (modern Civitavecchia, which is still the port of Rome) also benefited from a new harbour, while other ports received upgrades and enhanced road links. Outside Italy the wonderful Alcántara Bridge in Spain still spans the Tagus River, proudly bearing its original inscription, ‘I have built a bridge which will last forever’.
Building religious bridges with some of the Empire’s inhabitants was not so easy, though. In 109 or 110 Trajan sent Pliny the Younger to Bithynia-Pontus on the southern shore of the Black Sea. Their correspondence forms a priceless insight into the challenges faced by those who administered Rome’s Empire on the ground, and one issue that landed on Pliny’s desk concerned what to do about the ever-increasing number of people accused of being Christians. Pliny was at his wits’ end about how to deal with what he regarded as a degenerate extremist cult (superstitio):
I have never been present at an examination (cognitio – a formal trial) of Christians. Consequently, I do not know the nature or the extent of the punishments usually meted out to them, nor the grounds for starting an investigation and how far it should be pressed. Nor am I at all sure whether [. . .] a pardon ought to be granted to anyone retracting his beliefs, or if he has once professed Christianity, he shall gain nothing by renouncing it; and whether it is the mere name of Christian which is punishable, even if innocent of crime, or rather the crimes associated with the name.11
He goes on to tell Trajan that he asks them if they are Christians, warns them three times of the punishments this entails, sends them to Rome for trial if they are Roman citizens and executes them if they are not. Revering Trajan’s statue and the images of the gods, and reviling the name of Christ is sufficient to gain a reprieve. Trajan reassures him that he is doing the right thing, and advises him not to hunt Christians out, but to deal with everything on a case-by-case basis: paenitentia (‘repentance’) brings pardon, guilt brings punishment, and anonymous denunciations are not to be entertained.
Trajan the Warrior, Part 2
When the king of Nabataea (roughly the area of modern Jordan) died, Trajan annexed this long-standing Roman client state as a province called Arabia (105–6), and coins celebrated ARABIA ADQUISITA. At the other end of the Empire, in Britannia, a new frontier was established along the line of Agricola’s strategic east–west road across the Tyne–Solway isthmus, usually known by its medieval name of the Stanegate (see Map 2 and 3A). The forts at Corbridge and Carlisle were supplemented by five others, including Vindolanda, with small fortlets and watchtowers in between. A wonderful find from the Vindolanda fort, dated to 97–102/3, seems to be a military memorandum about the fighting techniques of the British cavalry:
The Britons don’t wear armour (?). There are too many cavalry. The cavalry do not use swords nor do the bloody Brits (Brittunculi) mount in order to throw javelins.12
The very first tablet discovered at Vindolanda speaks of creature comforts for the men:
I have sent (?) you [. . .] pairs of socks from Sattua, two pairs
of sandals and two pairs of underpants, two pairs of sandals [. . .] Greet [. . .] Elpis [. . .] Tetricus and all your messmates with whom I pray that you live in the greatest good fortune.13
A letter from the cavalry commander Masc(u)lus to Flavius Cerialis, prefect of cohors VIIII Batavorum, shows that the auxiliaries had specific needs:
Masclus to Cerialis his king, greeting. [. . .] My fellow-soldiers has [sic] no Celtic beer (cervesam). Please order some to be sent.14
Enigmatically, Legio IX Hispana is last heard of in Britain doing building work on its fortress at Eboracum in around 108, leading to some fanciful stories of its destruction by Scottish tribesmen at this time. These are no longer credible: most likely it was redeployed to the Rhine, where a tile stamp with its name has been found at Noviomagus (modern Nijmegen), and one of its officers, Aninius Sextus Florentinus, who is buried at Petra in Jordan, was legatus of the legion in 121.
If shoring up Britain’s frontiers was all about security, the same can not really be said for Trajan’s massive invasion of Parthia. The flashpoint came when King Osroes I of Parthia installed first his nephew Axidares and later his brother Parthamasiris on the throne of Armenia without Roman approval. Rome would not allow rogue states to threaten the precarious balance of power in the region, and Trajan’s response was uncompromising: only the conquest and provincialization of Parthia would rectify the situation.
Both the chronology and the topography of the ensuing events are confused, but it looks like Trajan arrived in Antioch in January 114. He put together an army of possibly 80 000 men, rejected Parthian diplomatic initiatives, and provincialized Armenia. From Armenia he headed down into Mesopotamia in 115, capturing Ctesiphon and Babylon, before reaching the Persian Gulf in the area of modern Basra. He is said to have lamented that he was too old to follow further in Alexander the Great’s footsteps, but at least Rome now had two new provinces: Mesopotamia and Assyria.PARTHIA CAPTA, effectively ‘Mission Accomplished’, said the coinage.
So far so spectacularly good. This was the largest area that Rome’s Empire would ever encompass (see Map 4). But in reality Mesopotamia had only been overrun, not consolidated. As Trajan’s forces advanced, insurgency broke out behind them and the Parthians made incursions from the territory they still held. The Jewish population in Cyrenaica also rebelled, and before the end of 116 the unrest had spread to Egypt, Palestine, Cyprus and Anatolia. Trajan brought most of the rebels to heel – some 220 000 non-Jews perished in Cyrenaica alone – but nevertheless started a managed withdrawal. He ceded some parts of Armenia and handed Mesopotamia over to the Parthian prince Parthamaspates as a client ruler, but although his coins claimed that he had ‘given the Parthians a king’ (REX PARTHIS DATUS), the Parthians never acknowledged him.
Trajan tried unsuccessfully to take the strategically situated desert city of Hatra in the Al Jazirah region of present-day Iraq, which guarded the caravan routes connecting Mesopotamia with Syria and Asia Minor, but inhospitable climatic conditions started to affect his troops, and he had to withdraw. Dio writes that Trajan’s own health now started to deteriorate, and that he withdrew to Antioch, before setting out for Rome, leaving Hadrian in command of Syria. He never made it home:
Trajan himself suspected that his sickness was due to poison [. . .] but some state that it was because the blood, which descends every year into the lower parts of the body, was in his case checked in its flow. He had also suffered a stroke, so that a portion of his body was paralysed, and he was dropsical all over. On coming to Selinus in Cilicia, which we also call Traianopolis, he suddenly expired.15
It was 9 August 117. Rome’s first non-Italian Emperor was also the first to die outside Italy. His ashes were placed in a golden urn in the base of his Column and his deification went through on the nod. If his reign was indeed the ‘well-managed confidence trick’ that one scholar suggests,16 that is surely the point: that was the best way to rule Rome. Trajan had raised the bar for future incumbents of the Principate very high. In the fourth century, the Senate would pray for new Emperors to be ‘More fortunate than Augustus, better than Trajan’,17 and in his Divine Comedy, Dante gave him a place in Paradise – never an easy thing for a pagan to achieve.
Hadrian Beco mes Emperor (117–138)
It was Trajan’s governor of Syria and first cousin once removed, Hadrian, who now acceded to the throne as Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus. He had been born into a family of prosperous aspirational provincials on 24 January 76, either in Italica, where Trajan also hailed from, or in Rome. When his father, P. Aelius Afer, died in 86, the childless Trajan and P. Acilius Attianus, also from Italica, became Hadrian’s guardians. In 100, following some leverage by Trajan’s wife Pompeia Plotina, Hadrian made a dynastically important marriage of convenience to Trajan’s great-niece Vibia Sabina (see Genealogy Table 3). This turned out to be a childless and unhappy relationship – Hadrian later said that if he’d been a private citizen he would have divorced her, whilst she supposedly had an abortion so as not to produce ‘another monster’18 – but even so the marriage lasted for over thirty-six years.
Hadrian himself was tall and elegant, and he quite literally changed the face of the Roman world by sporting a beard. Whether he did this to conceal blemishes on his face or to channel the Greek philosophers he admired is unclear, but no high-ranking Roman would be on trend any longer if he was clean-shaven. His portraits also show a highly distinctive diagonal kink in both his lower earlobes, which may have been a symptom of coronary artery disease.19 There were stories of a misspent youth, but once Hadrian toed the line he worked his way rapidly through the Cursus Honorum, seeing a good deal of military action on Rome’s northern frontier along the way. In 112, rather unusually, he became both a citizen and the chief archon (magistrate) of Athens, from where Trajan picked him up in 113 en route to his Parthian campaign, before installing him as governor of Syria in 117.
Hadrian was the only viable successor to Trajan from inside the imperial household, and he commanded the Empire’s largest military forces, but Trajan may only have adopted him as his son (if at all) on his deathbed. Dio says that Hadrian’s accession was engineered by Pompeia Plotina, who concealed Trajan’s death for several days so that she could forge the necessary official docu ments; another conspiracy theory makes Plotina get a servant to impersonate Trajan and make the adoption announcement after the real Trajan had died. Regardless of the truth, when news of Trajan’s death reached Antioch on 11 August, the armies of Syria acclaimed Hadrian as Emperor.
As ever we are hampered by inadequate source material. This includes a complete biography that forms part of a complex work known as the Historia Augusta. It comprises a series of lives of Roman rulers written by (probably) a single anonymous author sometime in the fourth or fifth centuries. It provides some pretty accurate material, but it has a tabloid newspaper ethos and is prone to shaky chronology and blatant invention: ‘propaganda directed to a popular audience’.20 It is hard for us to work out what kind of person Hadrian was, or what drove him.
Hadrian’s first significant policy decision was to pull the troops back across the Euphrates out of what is now Iraq, and revert to a policy of supporting local rulers such as Vologaeses21 II, who became the client king of Armenia, and served as a counterbalance to Osroes I in Parthia. The Jewish insurgency in Mesopotamia and elsewhere was brought to heel, but the revolt had caused considerable damage, and reconstruction was now necessary:
The Emperor Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus [. . .] ordered the restoration for the city of Cyrene of the baths together with the porticoes and ball courts and other appurtenances, which had been torn down and burned in the Jewish revolt.22
There were also worries in Dacia and the Danubian regions. About a month after his acclamation, Hadrian abandoned Trajan’s gains across the lower Danube, and by 118 he had stabilized the situation along that frontier. But now there were challenges to face in Rome.
In June or July 118 the Fratres Arvales sacrificed because of Hadrian’s arrival in Rome. His donatives to the troops and largesse to the people were double the usual amounts, but when he scrutinized the Empire’s finances he discovered an eyewatering 900 millionsestertii in outstanding uncollectable debts. So, in order to start his reign with a clean slate, he publicly burned the tax records, an act depicted in relief on the plutei Traiani, now housed in the Senate house in the Forum Romanum.
His dealings with the Senate were fractious. Even before he had arrived in Rome four ex-Consuls, who may have hated his ‘unheroic’ abandonment of Trajan’s Eastern conquests, were implicated in a plot to assassinate him. They were tried by the Senate in absentia (and in Hadrian’s absence too), condemned and executed. Hadrian disclaimed responsibility, but it still soured his relationship with the Senate. Another source of tension was his willingness to promote outsiders to the imperial ruling class: unity through diversity was not the kind of slogan that appealed to the Roman Senate. But Hadrian would tolerate no dissent, and when the historian Suetonius, then Hadrian’s chief secretary for correspondence in Latin (ab epistulis), got rather too ‘informal’ with Vibia Sabina in 122, he was fired.
Like a number of his predecessors, Hadrian made extensive use of the Equites in the imperial civil service. They supplanted freedmen in the imperial household and even sat on Hadrian’s imperial council, and a bureaucratic career structure started to develop, with formal titles defining their status: a procurator was vir egregius (‘outstanding man’), an ordinary Prefect vir perfectissimus (‘most perfect’), and a Praefectus Praetorio was vir eminentissimus (‘most eminent’).
One of Rome’s most enduring legacies is her legal system. Hadrian engaged the expert jurist Salvius Julianus from Pupput (in modern Tunisia) to codify the Praetors’ Edictum Perpetuum (the set of rules compiled over the centuries by the Praetors for the interpretation of the law). This became the basis of subsequent Roman legal procedure and Salvius Julianus also served as a judge alongside the Emperor and the other great jurists, P. Juventius Celsus and L. Neratius Priscus.
Another area where Hadrian had a strong personal interest was the army. He was very keen on discipline and training, and is said to have had all the attributes of a conventional ‘good general’ – mucking in with the soldiers’ meals and labours, but also weeding out ‘banqueting-rooms, porticoes, covered arcades and ornamental gardens’ from the camps, and exerting strict control over military purchases.23 An inscription at Lambaesis (modern Tazoult-Lambese in Algeria) preserves his speech to Legio III Augusta, whose exercises he had overseen,24 revealing a strong personal involvement with military discipline and training, as does the tombstone of one of his bodyguards:
I am the man once well known on the Pannonian shore, brave and foremost among a thousand Batavian men: with Hadrian as my judge I was able to swim the vast waters of the deep Danube in full armour [. . .] While an arrow from my bow was hanging and descending in the air [. . .] I shot another [. . .] and split it in two. No Roman or barbarian could ever best me [. . .] It remains to be seen whether anyone else will rival my deeds.25
Hadrian on Tour
Many of these military inspections took place on the extensive tours that Hadrian made of the Empire:
Hadrian travelled through one province after another, visiting the various regions and cities and inspecting all the garrisons and forts [. . .] He personally viewed and investigated absolutely everything.26
The trips began in 121 (see Map 4), and their precise itineraries and aims are a little elusive, but it seems that he headed into Gallia Narbonensis and Gallia Lugdunensis, Germania Superior and Inferior, Raetia, Noricum and, in 122, Britannia. From there he moved south into Gallia Narbonensis and wintered in Tarraco (modern Tarragona in Spain). In 123 he crossed the Mediterranean to Syria, moving as far as the Euphrates before turning north to the Black Sea, to Trapezus (modern Trabzon) in Cappadocia. By that winter he had gone back to Bithynia et Pontus. Spring 124 saw him in Ilion/Troy (modern Hisarlik) and moving on to Smyrna (Izmir) and Ephesus prior to ending up in Athens, via Rhodes. From Athens he visited Greek sites such as Delphi in 124, before he returned to Rome via Sicily. By late 125 he was in residence at his newly built villa at Tivoli, close to Rome.27
In 128 this great seeker-out of curiosities gave in to his wanderlust once more. Again, details are hazy, but his tour seems to have encompassed Africa and Mauretania, a brief return to Rome, and Athens again, where he was hailed as Olympios. Having wintered in Athens in 128–9, with at least one excursion to Sparta, he headed into Asia, taking in Ephesus and Miletus, turning inland down the Meander River valley, then heading into Pisidia and Cilicia and ending up in Antioch in autumn 129. In 130 he took in Palmyra, Trajan’s newly acquired province of Arabia, plus Judaea and Egypt.28 In 131 he took the coastal route along Judaea, Syria, Cilicia, Pamphylia and Lycia, tramped through Thrace, Moesia, Dacia and Macedonia, and wintered yet again in Athens (131–2), where he was acclaimed Panhellenios and Panionios. His final return to Rome was probably in 132.
These effects of Hadrian’s visits can still be seen at archaeological sites all along his routes. For instance, there were new city foundations like Antinoopolis in Egypt and Mursa (modern Osijek) in Upper Pannonia, reconstructions of devastated cities like Cyrene, and temples, baths, theatres, amphitheatres, harbour works, roads, aqueducts and cisterns were built all over the Empire, many of them in his honour.
Securing the Empire’s borders was paramount, and consolidation rather than expansion became the order of the day. Hadrian seems to have envisaged the Empire as a mighty fortress, and to that end there is still a lasting monument to his name in Britannia: Hadrian’s Wall (see Map 3A). The find in 2003 of the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan, a beautiful metal trulla (a highquality ‘mess tin’) inscribed with the names of various forts on the Wall (Maia, Cogabatta, Uxelodunum and Cammoglanna), bears the legend rigore vali aeli draconis, which is tricky to translate but could indicate that it was known as Vallum Aeli – the ‘Wall/Ditch of Aelius’.29
There was clearly trouble in Britannia at the start of Hadrian’s reign: the Historia Augusta says that ‘the Britons could not be kept under Roman sway’.30 Hadrian himself arrived in 122 as part of his first tour, bringing with him, we think, Legio VI Victrixcommanded by Aulus Platorius Nepos, with its accompanying auxiliaries. Coins bearing the legend Adventui Aug Britanniae (= ‘For the Arrival of the Emperor in Britain’) on the reverse, along with a very un-military-looking Britannia who personifies the prosperous central and southern zones of the province, commemorated the visit, but the only mention of Hadrian’s responsibility for the Wall is in the Historia Augusta:
[Hadrian] set out for Britain, and there he corrected many abuses and was the first to construct a wall, eighty miles in length, which was to separate the barbarians from the Romans.31
There is nothing like this anywhere else on Rome’s frontiers. Construction probably commenced in 122, and work was still going on after 130, over which time there were numerous changes to the original plan. This envisaged a 3-metre-wide stone wall running 72 kilometres from the Tyne to the River Irthing, which would then be extended westwards by a 45-kilometre-long, 6-metre-wide turf rampart to Bowness-on-Solway. Every Roman mile (c.1.6 kilometres) there was a fortified gateway with a tower (‘milecastle’), whose style corresponds to the three legions that built the wall (II Augusta, VI Victrix and XX Valeria Victrix), and in between the milecastles there were two further small towers. The milecastle-plus-tower system was extended south-westwards down the Cumbrian coast for another 32 kilometres. The main forts were initially on the Stanegate, although three new forts – Birrens (Blatobulgium), Netherby (Castra Exploratorum) and Bewcastle (Fanum Cocidii) – were also constructed further to the north. However, as the complex took shape, the forts, sixteen in total,32 were integrated into the fabric of the wall, the unfinished sections of the stone wall were reduced to 2.4 metres, and parts of the turf rampart were replaced with stone (the entire turf section was ultimately replaced with stone after Hadrian’s time). To the east, the wall was extended from Newcastle, where a bridge bearing Hadrian’s family name, the Pons Aelius, crossed the Tyne, to Wallsend.
There was more to all this than just turf, bricks and mortar: the complex also included a large V-shaped ditch on the north side of the wall; a communication road to the south; and the vallum – a 6-metre-wide, flat-bottomed ditch flanked by mounds and crossed by causeways opposite each fort and milecastle, which defined the southern side of the complex.
The true purpose of the wall is hard to ascertain. Walls keep people in as well as out, control as well as exclude, and serve political and psychological as well as military functions. The Romans certainly made a clear distinction between their territory and barbariaor barbaricum (‘the lands of the barbarians’), but the glib assertion that it was there to keep out hordes of Braveheart-style woad-painted Picts and Scots33 from pillaging ‘England’ is anachronistic and wrong. The Roman army didn’t fight behind fixed defences; the stone sections were not designed as a fighting platform like a city wall; the turf bank would not have been much of a hindrance to a determined force of terrorists/freedom-fighters; the vallum effectively allowed the Romans to control any traffic through the wall-zone, levy taxes on goods, and monitor barbarian toing and froing; the whole system divided the still unsettled Brigantes to the south from the Novantae, Selgovae and Votadini to the north; it brought changes in traditional pasture lands; on the east–west axis it provided a fortified roadway across the province; the towers provided elevated observation points; and the forts were excellent bases from which to sally northwards in force. The heavy provision of cavalry is significant, since although the wall was constructed by legionaries it was manned by some 9 500 auxiliaries, around 4 000 of whom were cavalry. And of course, the fact that Hadrian had set the province’s borders in stone and turf did not inhibit the Roman army’s readiness for renewed expansion at any moment – the poet Virgil had long ago made Jupiter prophesy that the Empire would have no limits of time or space.
Hadrian the ‘Greekling’
Hadrian was not just renowned for military structures: his reign brought an Empire-wide building boom in which he was very hands-on. In his beloved Athens the massive Temple of Olympian Zeus, an unfinished project dating back to the time of Peisistratos in the sixth century BCE, was completed in spectacular style, and the city was endowed with a superb new library. At Rome Hadrian rounded off Trajan’s Forum with the Temple of the deified Trajan and Plotina, but by far the largest project there was the massive Temple of Venus and Roma on the Velian Hill, sited on an artificial platform 145 x 100 metres where the vestibule of Nero’s Golden House had once stood. It was begun on 21 April 121, a festival day that Hadrian now converted into a celebration of the foundation of Rome, while the coinage proclaimed a new Golden Age. The design was the subject of a notorious spat between the Emperor and Trajan’s master-architect Apollodorus of Damascus, who had the temerity to critique the temple, only to end up dead.34
More important in terms of the legacy of Rome’s architectural achievement was the Pantheon. The sheer technology and logistics of assembling the materials are astonishing enough: massive monolithic Corinthian columns, 5 Roman feet wide and 40 high, made originally from grey Egyptian granite from Mons Claudianus, with white Pentelic marble bases and Luni marble capitals; other columns of rose granite from quarries at Aswan; a enormous bronze entrance door on a threshold of Africano marble; the floor paved with squares, and circles within squares, of coloured granite, marble and porphyry; and the tour de force – a staggering hemispherical concrete dome that still makes every person who enters the building stop in their tracks and gawp skywards in open-mouthed awe when they first walk in. The oculus (central circular hole), about 8.8 metres across, lined with a ring of bronze, provides a wondrous, uncanny light that tracks imperceptibly across the interior. The symbolism of the building is still a bone of contention, but the date is clear enough: the architrave bears an inscription that reads:
Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, three times consul, made this.
This references Agrippa’s dedication of a sanctuary on the site in c.25 BCE, but brick stamps from the rotunda allow us to date Hadrian’s new Pantheon to between 118 and 128.
The Pantheon is very much Hadrian’s building, and marks him out as a man of deep-seated cultural interests:
Aelius Hadrianus was more suited to eloquence and the studies of peacetime, and after peace had been restored in the east he returned to Rome. There he began to devote his attention to religious rituals, to laws, to the gymnasia, and to teachers, so much so that he established an institute of liberal arts which was called the Athenaeum.35
The Historia Augusta describes him as being greatly interested in poetry, expert in arithmetic, geometry and painting, not to mention being proud of his musicianship and the author of an autobiography (published under someone else’s name) and some love poetry. He had a prodigious memory, a great head for figures, loved dogs and horses, and was so devoted to Greek culture that he acquired the nickname Graeculus, ‘Greekling’. But being talented, driven, competitive and extremely powerful also meant he could hold quirky (or downright awful) tastes: he liked Antimachus of Colphon better than Homer, Ennius more than Virgil, and a short poem that he wrote shortly before his death oozes with twee diminutives:
Little soul, little wanderer, little charmer,
Body’s guest and companion,
To what places will you set out for now?
To darkling, cold and gloomy ones –
And you won’t make your usual jokes.36
The Historia Augusta comments that this was as good as his poetry got.
Yet he was not insensitive, and not without wit. One anecdote tells of him visiting the public baths (and so mixing with the hoi polloi) and noticing a veteran soldier who had served under him (he knew all their names, apparently) rubbing himself against the wall. On asking why the marble was doing the rubbing, he was told that the old man couldn’t afford a slave to do it, and so he gave him some slaves and the money for their maintenance. But on his next visit, when there was an entire wall full of old men rubbing their backs, he simply made them rub one another down in turn.
‘Hadrian was gay’;37 Hadrian was bisexual; Hadrian was a paedophile. There is probably truth in all those statements, but that is to judge him by twenty-first-century words and concepts that were pretty well meaningless to his contemporaries. There was no Latin word for ‘homosexuality’: what mattered was the role that a man assumed in sex, and this was viewed entirely in phallocentric terms.38 Other emperors might have indulged themselves in oral sex, played the receptive role in intercourse, exhibited a scandalous desire for well-hung men, formally married males either as bride or as groom, married their nieces, or had incestuous relations with their sister or mother,39 but Hadrian was never accused of anything like this: he took the active role in his sexual encounters, and that was manly. It was Roman.
The person who has caused all the modern interest and controversy was a youth from Bithynia called Antinous. Hadrian probably met him in 123 or 124, when Antinous would have been thirteen or fourteen, and was inseparable from him ever after. A poem by the Greek poet Pankrates describes them going lion-hunting together. Hadrian wounded the beast . . .
But slew him not, for of purpose he missed the mark,
Wishing to test to the full the sureness of aim
Of his beauteous Antinous.
[The wounded lion then makes a ferocious attack . . . ]
In such wise he came against the glorious god, upon Antinous
Like Typhoeus of old against Zeus, slayer of giants.40
Other sources preferred to see Antinous as the Ganymede to Hadrian’s Zeus/Jupiter.41
Antinous was exquisitely beautiful, and Hadrian’s relationship with him was intense. One predictably outraged later Christian writer dubs Antinous a ‘shameless and scandalous boy’,42 but there seems to have been no scandal at the time. What did attract criticismwas Hadrian’s reaction to Antinous’ sudden death by drowning in the Nile in 130. He wept ‘like a woman’,43 founded a new city close to where he had died and named it Antinoopolis, and had images of him disseminated right across the Empire (only Augustus and Hadrian himself have more surviving statues). Sometimes Antinous is depicted as a beautiful, languorous, pouting, sexy young man; at other times he appears in the guise of gods such as Dionysus, Vertumnus, Silvanus or Osiris; and a dedication by Q. Siculus compares him to the eternally youthful foreign god Belenus:
If Antinous and Belenus are equal in age and beauty, why shouldn’t Antinous also be what Belenus is?44
Hadrian did indeed have Antinous deified, and there may have been a cult centre to him in his posthumous incarnation of Antinous-Osiris at Hadrian’s villa at Tibur (modern Tivoli). But there was all sorts of gossip about his death: Hadrian himself said Antinous fell out of a boat, yet there was talk that the Emperor had persuaded or forced Antinous to take his own life as a sacrifice to prolong his own. This version appealed to the conspiracy theorists because Antinous died on the same day that the Egyptians celebrated the death of Osiris, who drowned in the river and was subsequently reborn.
The Bar Kokhba Revolt
If the foundation of Antinoopolis attracted adverse comment, Hadrian’s attempt to refound Jerusalem provoked a horrendously bloody rebellion. The city had not been officially rebuilt after the ravages of the Great Jewish revolt, but if Hadrian expected the Jews to applaud his decision to turn Jerusalem into a Roman city by the name of Colonia Aelia Capitolina, he was woefully mistaken. Jewish unhappiness was made worse by Hadrian’s earlier decision to outlaw circumcision (‘they were forbidden to mutilate their genitals’ is how the Historia Augusta puts it),45 not to mention the fact that one of the city gates carried Legio X Fretensis’ insignia of a boar, or the plan to build a temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the site of the old Temple of Solomon.
Hadrian’s insensitivity towards the Jews is difficult to fathom, especially since the contemporary writer Pausanias describes him as the Emperor
who has gone furthest to honour religion, and among all sovereigns done most for the happiness of each of his subjects [and who] has never willingly gone to war.46
But go to war he did. In 132 there was a massive uprising centred on Judaea led by Shimon bar Kosba. He took on the name Bar Kokhba, or ‘Son of the Star’, which indicates his messianic convictions; his detractors dubbed him Bar Koziba, ‘Son of the Lie’, and St Jerome later claimed that he fanned a lighted straw in his mouth with puffs of breath so that he appeared to be breathing fire.47 But Bar Kokhba had charisma: he took the title nsy’ Ysr’l (Prince of Israel); his rebels declared the ‘Redemption/freedom of Israel’; Rabbi Akiba, the premier Jewish religious authority, was on his side; and his highly effective guerrilla tactics inflicted such havoc on the Roman forces that Judaea quickly fell into his grasp.
The situation was so serious that Hadrian drafted in his finest general, Sextus Julius Severus, all the way from Britain. Severus turned the conflict into a process of ethnic cleansing and extermination. Bar Kokhba made his last stand at Bethar near Jerusalem in 135. His death ended a war that had seen, according to Dio, fifty fortresses and 985 villages razed to the ground, 585 000 killed in the various engagements, many Jews sold into slavery, and ‘as for the numbers who perished from starvation, disease or fire, that was impossible to establish’.48 The so-called ‘Cave of Letters’, found in a wadi west of the Dead Sea, contained signed letters from Bar Kokhba, along with mirrors, a glass plate, bronze jugs and house keys, hidden there during the fighting. But no one came back for them. At Rome Hadrian was hailed as Imperator, although he did not accept the usual greeting ‘I and the legions are in health’ because the attrition rates of the Roman troops had been so enormous. Judaea was literally wiped off the map by being renamed Syria-Palestina, and the Jewish population were forbidden even to set foot on the land around Jerusalem.49
Hadrian’s Last Years
Towards the end of his reign, Hadrian ceased travelling and stayed in Italy. Throughout his Principate, work had been going on at Tibur, some 28 kilometres to the east of Rome, on what since the Renaissance has been called ‘Hadrian’s Villa’, although it was by no means his only one. It is stupendously opulent. Considerably larger than Pompeii, its known structures alone, many of which feature audaciously innovative designs, comprise some 900 rooms and corridors defining subtly nuanced public, semi-public and private spaces, and there are 4.8 kilometres of underground passageways for the thousands of staff who included bookkeepers, archivists, accountants, landscape gardeners, stewards, gamekeepers, and ‘security men’ from the Praetorian Guard. In many ways it was ‘a living microcosm of the empire’50 and a memento of his travels, referencing all manner of famous landmarks:
He actually gave to part of it the names of provinces and places of the greatest renown, calling them, for instance, the Lyceum, Academia, Prytaneum, Canopus, Poecile and Tempe. And in order not to omit anything, he even made a Hades.51
There was a theatre, baths, accommodation of various status levels, kitchens, sanitation, courtyards, viewing platforms, hydraulic jets, fountains, cascades, pools, canals, grottoes, dining areas (Hadrian adored banquets), and sculpture that was carefully integrated into the architectural ensemble, such as a copy of Praxiteles’ notorious Aphrodite of Cnidus, exhibited in a replica of the temple where the original statue stood.
Yet Hadrian’s pleasure in his villa was somewhat spoiled by personal difficulties in his final years, especially as his health deteriorated – bad nosebleeds, says Dio – and the issue of the succession raised its ugly head. It was obvious that Hadrian was not going to have a son, and the person in provisional pole position was his only male blood-relation, his eighteen-year-old great-nephew Cn. Pedianus Fuscus Salinator. But in obscure circumstances that harked back to the affair of the four ex-Consuls,52 Pedianus Fuscus and his nonagenarian grandfather Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus, who was also Hadrian’s brother-in-law, both ended up dead. Then, late in 136, Hadrian announced his successor, to widespread astonishment: the Senator L. Ceionius Commodus. He was good-looking and well connected politically, but he was also frivolous, extravagant, completely lacking in military experience, and he had tuberculosis and regularly coughed up blood. Still, he was renamed L. Aelius Caesar and sent off to govern Pannonia.
Late in 137 the Empress Sabina died and was deified, and on the night of 31 December L. Aelius Caesar also died. Hadrian now chose a distinguished and wealthy but sonless and probably rather soulless fifty-one-year-old by the name of T. Aurelius Fulvius Antoninus Boionius Arrius (seeGenealogy Table 3). But Hadrian was also looking further ahead, and he made Antoninus in his turn adopt a teenager (the nephew of Antoninus’ wife) called Marcus Annius Verus (now to be known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus – Hadrian nicknamed him Veris simus (= ‘Truest’) in a play on his cognomen Verus, ‘True’) – and the seven-year-old son of the late L. Aelius Caesar, now named Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. History knows them as the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus respectively.
Meanwhile Hadrian’s heart condition caused him considerable distress. A papyrus fragment from Egypt preserves some lines of text that might be the only surviving scraps of Hadrian’s autobiography, written just before he died, and couched as a series of letters to Antoninus:
I want you to know that I am being released from my life neither before my time, nor unreasonably, nor piteously, nor unexpectedly, nor with faculties impaired.53
Yet at the age of sixty-two he seems to have contemplated suicide, but nature took its course on 10 July 138 at an imperial villa at Baiae.
The Senate immediately sought his damnatio memoriae, and the Historia Augusta says Hadrian died invisus omnibus, ‘hated / unseen by all’.54 He was provisionally buried at Puteoli, in the grounds of a villa once owned by Cicero, before his remains were transferred to the Gardens of Domitia in Rome, and then finally laid to rest alongside Sabina and Aelius Caesar in his mausoleum, which was dedicated by Antoninus in 139. The dedicatory inscription refers to Sabina as Diva, but not to Hadrian as Divus: clearly Antoninus had to continue to fight with the Senate to clear his adoptive father’s name and secure his deification. For that act of filial piety, many thought, he acquired the cognomen Pius, ‘the Dutiful’.
1 Gibbon, E., The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London: Strahan & Cadell, 1776–1788, vol. I, chapter 3.31.
2 I. Ital. XIII 1, p. 195 under 96 CE, tr. Kershaw, S.
3 Pliny, Letters 9.13.4, tr. Radice, B., in Pliny: Letters, Books VIII–X, Panegyricus, with an English Translation by Betty Radice, Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1969.
4 Dio 68.3.1 tr. Cary, op. cit.
5 This may have been the work of Trajan, who certainly extended the programme, as did Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.
6 Dio 68.7.3, tr. Cary, E., op. cit.
7 Ibid. 68.7.4. Cf. Dio 68.21.2; Historia Augusta, Hadrian 2.7, 4.5.
8 Dio 68.7.5, tr. Cary, E., op. cit.
9 Juvenal, Satire 10.80 f., tr. Bell, A., in Köhne, E., ‘Bread and Circuses: The Politics of Entertainment’, in Köhne, E., Ewiglebe, C. and Jackson, R. (eds), The Power of Spectacle in Ancient Rome: Gladiators and Caesars, London: British Museum, 2000, p. 8.
10 Juvenal, Satire 12.78 f., tr. Green, P., op.cit.
11 Pliny, Letters 10.96.1–2, tr. Radice, B., op. cit.
12 Tab. Vindol. II 164, tr. Kershaw, S. The word Brittunculi is new and deeply patronizing.
13 Tab. Vindol. II 346, tr. Bowman, A. K. Life and letters on the Roman Frontier: Vindolanda and its People, London: British Museum Press, 1994.
14 Tab. Vindol. III 628, tr. Kershaw, S. Masc(u)lus spells ‘have’ habunt rather than habent. See Bowman, A. K. and Thomas, J. D., ‘New writing tablets from Vindolanda’, Britannia 27 (1996), 299–328.
15 Dio 68.33.2 f., tr. Cary, E., op. cit.
16 Bennett, J., Trajan Optimus Princeps. A Life and Times, London and New York: Routledge, 1997, p. 208.
17 Eutropius, Breviarium 8.5.3, tr. Bird, H. W.,The Breviarium ab Urbe Condita of Eutropius, The Right Honourable Secretary of State for General Petitions, Dedicated to Lord Valens Gothicus Maximus & Perpetual Emperor, translated with an Introduction and Commentary by H. W. Bird, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1993.
18 Epitome de Caesaribus 14.8.
19 See Petrakis, N. L., ‘Diagonal Earlobe Creases, Type A Behavior and the Death of Emperor Hadrian’, Western Journal of Medicine 132.1 (Jan. 1980).
20 Baynes, N. H., The Historia Augusta: Its Date and Purpose, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925, p. 57.
21 Also spelled Vologaesus, Vologases and, on coins, Ologases.
22 AE 1928, 2, tr. in Lewis, N. and Reinhold, M., op. cit., p. 332. Another inscription, AE 1928, 1, mentions the restoration of a road that had been ‘ripped up and ruined in the Jewish revolt’.
23 Historia Augusta, Hadrian 11.1.
24 ILS 2487. See Speidel, M. P., Emperor Hadrian’s Speeches to the African Army: A New Text, Mainz: Verlag des Römischen-Germanischen Zentralmuseums, 2006.
25 CIL 3.3676 = ILS 2558, tr. Boatwright, M. T., in Barrett, A. A. (ed.), Lives of the Caesars, Oxford: Blackwell, 2008, p. 164; see also Dio 69.9.6.
26 Dio 69.9.1, tr. Cary, E., op. cit.
27 See below, p. 198 f.
28 For events in Egypt, see below, p. 195 f.
29 British Museum, PE 2005, 1204.1.
30 Historia Augusta, Hadrian 5.2, tr. Magie, D., The Scriptores Historiae Augustae with an English Translation by David Magie, Volume I, Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1921.
31 Ibid. 11.2.
32 The sixteen forts, from west to east, were: Bowness (Maia); Drumburgh (Congavata); Burgh-by-Sands (Aballava); Stanwix (Uxelodunum, probably the HQ, with a signalling system reaching back to the legionary fortress at York); Castlesteads (Camboglanna); Birdoswald (Banna); Carvoran (Magnis); Great Chesters (Aesica); Housesteads (Vercovicium); Carrawburgh (Brocolitia); Chesters (Cilurnum); Halton Chesters (Onnum); Rudchester (Vindovala); Benwell (Condercum); Newcastle (Pons Aelius); Wallsend (Segedunum).
33 Picti (‘Painted Men’) is a much later blanket term for the entire spectrum of tribes living north of the Wall. See below, p. 343. The tribes of the Scotti in Ireland were not a threat at this time either.
34 Dio 69.4.1–5. There is much in the story that doesn’t add up, and many scholars dismiss it as fiction. See, e.g., Ridley, A. T., ‘The Fate of an Architect: Apollodorus of Damascus’, Athenaeum 77 (1989), 551–65.
35 Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus 14, tr. Scarre, C., Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The Reign by Reign Record of Imperial Rome. London: Thames & Hudson, 1995, p. 98.
36 Historia Augusta, Hadrian 25.9, tr. Opper, T., Hadrian: Empire and Conflict, London: The British Museum Press, 2008, p.221.
37 Opper, T., op. cit., p.168.
38 See above, p. 134.
39 See, e.g., Suetonius, Julius Caesar 2, 49–52; Augustus 68; Tiberius 45. Historia Augusta, Commodus 10 f.; Elagabalus 8–12. Nero, Elagabalus, Claudius and Agrippina, Domitian and Julia and Caligula all commit at least one of these transgressions.
40 P.Oxy. VIII, 1085, tr. Opper, T., op. cit. For the mythical fight between Zeus and Typhoeus, see Kershaw, S., op. cit, pp. 38 ff.
41 Zeus/Jupiter abducted the beautiful youth Ganymede to be his cup-bearer on Mount Olympus. See Kershaw, S., op. cit., pp. 237 ff.
42 St Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, Part III, 5.230.
43 Historia Augusta, Hadrian 14.6; cf. Dio 69.11.4.
44 CIL 14 3535 = CLE 879, tr. Kershaw, S.
45 Historia Augusta, Hadrian 14.2.
46 Pausanias 1.5.5, tr. Levi, P., in Pausanias: Guide to Greece, Volume 1, Central Greece, Translated with an Introduction by Peter Levi, London: Penguin Classics, rev. edn, 1979.
47 Jerome, Against Rufinus 3.31.
48 Dio 69.14.1, tr. Cary, E., op. cit. How he arrives at these figures we do not know.
49 Eusebius, Church History 4.6.
50 Opper, T., op. cit., p. 133.
51 Historia Augusta, Hadrian 26.5, tr. Magie, D., op. cit.
52 See above, p. 186.
53 Grenfell, B. P., Hunt, A. S. and Hogarth, D. G., Fayûm Towns and their Papyri, London: Offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1900, no. 19, = PFayum 19, tr. in Opper, T., op. cit., p. 219.
54 Historia Augusta, Hadrian 25.7.