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Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome Paperback – 14 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade; Reprint edition (14 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812978145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812978148
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Girth VINE VOICE on 4 July 2012
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed Anthony Everitt's two other Roman biographies (Cicero and Augustus). Hadrian is equally interesting and well written, a good blend of narrative and facts chronologically presenting the life of one of Rome's better rulers. He was a competent soldier who avoided wars, although when provoked he decimated the Jews (finishing the work of Vespasian and Titus, ending the revolt of Bar Kokhba and creating Palestine). He was a Hellenist looking to elevate Greek culture above Roman. He was a builder, of a magnificent palace at Tivoli and he gave us the Pantheon we know in Rome today. In his 21-year rule (117-138ad) he did more than build walls, although as a clever politician and a strategic thinker he realised that Empires have limits.

This is history "lite" with a lot of general information on classical Rome, helpful for those not that familiar with the period. It is well paced - Everitt is not tempted to sensationalise, notably Hadrian's sex life is explained not exposed. He provides a concise contextual explanation of the inheritance of Hadrian's predecessor - Trajan - and in particular the Dacian and Parthian wars. He injects detail - from banking, taxation, sexual mores, military organisation, ritual and religion, marriage etc. If you are looking for gripping narrative this book is not a page-turner but the better for it. Parts left me curious, for example while obsessed with making Rome Greek how did the Senate and nationalists deal with this imposition - hardly overjoyed? Hadrian had a foul temper and a vicious streak that Everitt seems to pass over. Good rulers are not usually nice people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R.S. Gompertz on 13 April 2014
Format: Paperback
Hadrian ruled the Roman Empire between AD 117 - AD 138. He's famous for his great wall across northern England, building the Pantheon at Rome (still one of the world's largest free-standing concrete domes!), and presiding over the empire at its peak.

He's less famous for suppressing a Jewish revolt in Judea, a rebellion that was nearly successful and cost Rome dearly. In my personal view, this brutal war, known as the Second Roman-Jewish War or the Bar Kokhba Revolt, sowed the seeds of our current troubles in the Middle East and deepened the schism between Judaism and Christianity.

So, Hadrian is an emperor worth knowing. He was a good administrator, a competent general, and an intellectually curious individual who traveled relentlessly.

"Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome" is an excellent compendium of both the man and his times. Hadrian left an vast architectural record of his life and voyages and the author, Anthony Everitt, explores the extensive "fossil record" of Hadrian's monuments and commemorative inscriptions.

The book does not require prior knowledge (or a degree) in classics or ancient history. It's accessible to the layman and an enjoyable read.

History buffs will appreciate the collection of reference materials, the broad sweep through the Flavian emperors, and the extensive research conducted by Everitt.

One area that might be controversial (but I found interesting) is the author's attempt to construct a credible childhood for Hadrian where no records exist. This is speculative, but enjoyable, interesting, and believable.

The book provides great context and gives one a sense of the politics and intrigue involved in assuming and keeping power over the largest empire the world had ever seen.

Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By amazon customer on 18 July 2015
Format: Hardcover
The perfect companion for all Roman history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Before I discovered a passion for the history of the Roman Empire, I found myself drawn to Emperor Hadrian - what he accomplished, who he was, and the significant romantic notion of his worldly, artistic, monument-building approach to leading the Roman Empire.

Anthony Everitt's "Hadrian - and the Triumph of Rome" blends a fairly limited set of contemporary and near-contemporary resources with wonderfully portrayed color commentary of the times in which Hadrian lived.

Everitt points at Hadrian's two most lasting contributions to history. First, he stopped the expansion of the Empire that his adopted father, Emperor Trajan had pushed to the greatest limits the Empire had known. Not only did he halt expansion, he actually contracted the Empire. To demarcate that which was governed by Hadrian, he built walls. He built miles and miles of walls, of stone, of dirt, and of wood; creating physical barriers between the Empire's governed, and the ungoverned barbarian frontiers. Of course, the most lasting barrier is Hadrian's Wall in northern UK.

The second major theme of his 21-year term was a very sincere devotion to the arts - specifically anything relating to ancient Hellenist culture. In laying the groundwork for the society in which Hadrian grew up, Everitt points to Emperor Nero. While generally reviled as a murderer, who decimated the Senate, and had been widely accused of burning down his own city, Nero was a great philhellene, who opened a gateway in ancient Rome, into Greece.
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