Synopses & Reviews
Acclaimed author Anthony Everitt, whose Augustus
was praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a narrative of sustained drama and skillful analysis,” is the rare writer whose work both informs and enthralls. In
Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome-the first major account of the emperor in nearly a century-Everitt presents a compelling, richly researched biography of the man whom he calls arguably “the most successful of Romes rulers.”
Born in A.D. 76, Hadrian lived through and ruled during a tempestuous era, a time when the Colosseum was opened to the public and Pompeii was buried under a mountain of lava and ash. Everitt vividly recounts Hadrians thrilling life, in which the emperor brings a century of disorder and costly warfare to a peaceful conclusion while demonstrating how a monarchy can be compatible with good governance. Hadrian was brave and astute-despite his sometimes prickly demeanor-as well as an accomplished huntsman, poet, and student of philosophy.
What distinguished Hadrians rule, according to Everitt, were two insights that inevitably ensured the empires long and prosperous future: He ended Romes territorial expansion, which had become strategically and economically untenable, by fortifying her boundaries (the many famed Walls of Hadrian), and he effectively “Hellenized” Rome by anointing Athens the empires cultural center, thereby making Greek learning and art vastly more prominent in Roman life.
With unprecedented detail, Everitt illuminates Hadrians private life, including his marriage to Sabina-a loveless, frequently unhappy bond that bore no heirs-and his enduring yet doomed relationship with the true love of his life, Antinous, a beautiful young Bithynian man. Everitt also covers Hadrians war against the Jews, which planted the seeds of present-day discord in the Middle East.
Despite his tremendous legacy-including a virtual “marble biography” of still-standing structures-Hadrian is considered one of Romes more enigmatic emperors. But making splendid use of recently discovered archaeological materials and his own exhaustive research, Everitt sheds new light on one of the most important figures of the ancient world.
"The author of biographies of Augustus and Cicero, British scholar Everitt now combines academic expertise with lively prose in a satisfying account of the emperor who ruled Rome from 117 to 138 C.E., the man Everitt says 'has a good claim to have been the most successful of Rome's leaders.' As a youth, Hadrian became the protg and adopted ward of future emperor Trajan. (Homosexual emperors, including Hadrian, often adopted a successor, a procedure that worked better than letting pugnacious generals fight it out.) After suppressing the Jewish revolt that had begun under Trajan, Hadrian abandoned several of his predecessor's conquests as indefensible. Traveling the empire, he shored up its defenses, which included building Hadrian's Wall in England and another across Germany. Nearing the end of a prosperous, mostly peaceful reign, he adopted two men who also ruled successfully: Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. Everitt presents the Roman Empire, in what he calls 'tempestuous and thrilling times,' as an almost ungovernable collection of polyglot nations dominated by ambitious, frequently bloodthirsty and unscrupulous men. Readers will wonder how Rome lasted so long, but they will enjoy this skillful portrait of a good leader during its last golden age. 2 maps. (Sept. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Anthony Everitt, visiting professor in the visual and performing arts at Nottingham Trent University, has written extensively on European culture, and is the author of Cicero and Augustus. He has served as secretary general of the Arts Council of Great Britain. Everitt lives near Colchester, Englands first recorded town, founded by the Romans.