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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hadrian and the triumph of Rome
This book was a Christmas gift for my son and he had read a quarter of it before he had to go home on the day after Boxing day. He said it was riveting reading as he had just visited Hadrian's villa outside Rome and this book provided him with the information he needed to understand the Emperor even better.
Published 17 months ago by Margaret Scarf

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hadrain - a good perspective
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...
Published on 4 July 2012 by Benjamin Girth


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hadrian and the triumph of Rome, 14 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (Paperback)
This book was a Christmas gift for my son and he had read a quarter of it before he had to go home on the day after Boxing day. He said it was riveting reading as he had just visited Hadrian's villa outside Rome and this book provided him with the information he needed to understand the Emperor even better.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hadrian Finally Gets the Biography He's Been Sorely Lacking, 3 April 2011
By 
Arch Stanton (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (Paperback)
Hadrian is an emperor who seems to slip through the cracks. Most people remember him as 'that guy who built the wall.' There aren't many biographies on the man and none of the ones that I know of are very good at revealing his personality. His best representation comes through fiction with the popular book Memoirs of Hadrian, so it's nice to see someone finally try to capture the man. Everitt's previous books on the Romans (Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor and Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician) have been successful, and now he turns to the 2nd Century. A great deal of time is spent giving the background to Hadrian's rule. Hadrian doesn't even become emperor until 150 pages in. This wealth of background knowledge is something that I really appreciate in biographies. Too often they just become a dull chronicle of the facts. Everitt's stated goal is to 'make the unfamiliar familiar' and in that he succeeds. By the end you feel as if you understand Hadrian's distant world. If you liked Everitt's previous books then you'll probably like this one. If you haven't read them then I recommend you do. One point though; this book is not a scholarly biography. I don't believe that there are any major errors of fact, but the book is written with the intention of entertaining. If you want a book that only gives you the facts I'd recommend Hadrian: The Restless Emperor by Anthony Birley.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hadrain - a good perspective, 4 July 2012
By 
Benjamin Girth "NI5 MCR" (Hampstead N6) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (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. Overall the book explainins how political Hadrian's rule was; he had to build consensus, find friends and influence people - far from a reactionary dictator and not suffering a dictators fate (to be murdered in a coup). Hadrian's succession planning took some considerable time and skill.

This tidy book comes up with nothing not already known, no breaking academic ground to discover "new" theories. I was left with an understanding of the man and his life but there is much missing, lost down the ages as ever the sources are thin and often contradictory. To his credit Everitt limits speculation and invention to present a balanced portrait of a very hands on politician and diplomat, a soldiers soldier, an obsessive sportsman, homosexual, an architect. He leads you to the conclusion that Hadrian was an intelligent and impressive ruler with the Roman Empire near its zenith.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very thorough and enjoyable read..., 26 May 2014
By 
C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (Paperback)
I'll admit it: all I knew of the emperor Hadrian before reading this book was that he built the famous Wall in the north of England and that he had a male lover named Antinous, whom he deified after his death. I couldn't even have told you which century he lived in. So almost everything in this book was new to me - and yet, despite the plethora of Romans with ridiculously long names and archaic names for familiar places, I was never lost or confused reading this, which is a real testament to the author.

I couldn't possibly comment on the ranking of Roman emperors, but it seems to me, reading this, that history must surely look relatively kindly on Hadrian, at least in comparison to some of his fellow emperors. He largely eschewed the conspicuous luxury and arbitrary tyranny of some of his predecessors. He set himself the task of stabilising the empire, retracting and formalising the borders (hence the Wall), realising that the empire could not continue an endless policy of aggressive expansion, lacking the military force and resources to sustain such growth. He boosted the morale and efficiency of the legions. He encouraged the spread of Hellenization through the empire, being a true lover of Greece, its history and culture.

I always think it must be somewhat akin to completing a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing, writing the biography of a man who lived nearly two millennia ago. So much relies on interpretation, on the chance survivals of archaeological record, mixed in with conjecture and a hefty helping of imagination. There is no such thing as a definitive biography of an historical figure from so long ago, but this must surely be close. Everitt has a very engaging style of writing, not overly formal or prescriptive, with the occasionally flair of lyricism and humour. It made for a very enjoyable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book about one of the most intriguing emperors, 13 April 2014
This review is from: Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (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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Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome
Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt (Paperback - 14 Sep 2010)
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