Skip to content

Hadrian, Rome and the Roman Empire

Updated Wednesday 13th August 2014

Reveal the stories of Hadrian's Wall and take a look at the legacy the Ancient Romans have left behind. 

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Hadrian's Rome free course icon Level 3 icon

History & The Arts 

Hadrian's Rome

This free course, Hadrian's Rome, explores the city of Rome during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (117-38 CE). What impact did the emperor have on the appearance of the city? What types of structures were built and why? And how did the choices that Hadrian made relate to those of his predecessors, and also of his successors?

Free course
10 hrs
Hadrian: The Roamin' Emperor Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license activity icon

History & The Arts 

Hadrian: The Roamin' Emperor

Can you piece together strands of evidence to work out what motivated Hadrian to travel so extensively?

Activity

History & The Arts 

Myth at the heart of the Roman Empire

How and why did ancient Romans use myth to validate their power? Emperor Augustus legitimised his rule by entwining his own ancestry with the mythical stories of Rome's foundation, and created a divine aura around Rome as capital of the vast empire. This album visits key emblems associated with Rome's beginnings: the Forum and the Capitoline Hill with its statue of the she-wolf and Romulus and Remus; the Emperor Augustus's palace and ceremonial altar, and the 17th Century D'Arpino frescos of foundation myths commissioned by Pope Innocent X to underpin his authority. By monumentalising and glorifying their real and legendary past, Romans painted their own history and this continues to encapsulate Roman identity today. This material forms part of The Open University course A330 Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds.

Audio
55 mins

History & The Arts 

Power and people in ancient Rome

The ancient Romans constructed some of the first ever purpose-built venues for mass-entertainment. How do these structures enhance the audience’s experience of the spectacle? This album looks at famous Roman buildings like the Colosseum, a venue designed to impress, where vast numbers of people congregated for gladiatorial combat, chariot-racing and theatrical shows. Structures such as the Circus Maximus and even the Baths were designed as striking symbols of civic pride, glorifying the power of the Emperors who built them. This material forms part of The Open University course A219 Exploring the classical world.

Audio
30 mins

History & The Arts 

Buildings of ancient Rome

Rome: a majestic city with a rich past, spanning over two and a half thousand years. What remains to be seen of ancient Rome? As the heart of the Roman Empire, ancient Rome’s archaeological remains have been studied and admired for centuries, many being well-preserved due to their incorporation into newer structures. This album explores the sites of some of the republican temples in Rome’s Campus Martius, and relates them to the men who built them. The Roman Forum, centre of political and social activities, is examined for its importance in modelling city centres throughout the Roman world. This material forms part of The Open University course A219 Exploring the Classical World.

Audio
40 mins
OU on the BBC: Romans in Britain - Programme three - 'Hadrian's Wall: The Edge of the Empire' Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Romans in Britain - Programme three - 'Hadrian's Wall: The Edge of the Empire'

The third programme in the BBC/OU's Romans in Britain series examined Hadrian's Wall.

Article
Ancient Olympics screencast video icon

History & The Arts 

Ancient Olympics screencast

The Open University has released a free-to-use learning resource exploring the links between the ancient and modern Olympic Games. Find out more with this screencast

Video
5 mins
Batman v Superman: Are superheroes always good? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: iStock article icon

History & The Arts 

Batman v Superman: Are superheroes always good?

The latest hit movie Batman v Superman deals with the dangers of too much power - a theme that was all to common to the Ancient Greeks whose heroes, such as Ajax and Achilles, could be egotistical and cruel. 

Article
Crowdsourced annotation: what do you think? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Trustees of the British Museum activity icon

History & The Arts 

Crowdsourced annotation: what do you think?

Take a look at 'crowdsourced' resources to help understand ‘The Histories’ alongside the Hestia project. We direct you to other resources so that you may extend your enquiry by comparing accounts, cross-referencing evidence, or verifying sources.

Activity