This free course, Hadrian’s Rome, explores the city of Rome during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (117–138 CE). What impact did the emperor have upon 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?
Hadrian provides an interesting case study. He was a well-travelled emperor, who spent much of his reign away from Rome, surveying the empire. This might suggest that, to Hadrian, Rome was not of central importance. However, he was a prolific builder and funded extensive building schemes in Rome. He grasped the symbolic importance of the city as the hub of the empire, a place where the emperor needed to make his presence felt, even in his absence. Furthermore, Rome under Hadrian saw some architectural innovations and was a place that was embellished and influenced by the riches of empire. Hadrian’s reign underlined that Rome and empire were integrated rather than separated.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.