By the time Hadrian's contributions to his country had succeeded, and death was near; he was the most hated man in Rome. However, throughout his reign, he was regarded as a noble leader. "The Roman emperor Hadrian exercised a profound organizational influence on the Greco-Roman world. He worked successfully toward the codification of Roman law and the strengthening of imperial border defenses (Eadie 8)." Emperor Hadrian made many important contributions to Roman culture, and he was also known as one of the greatest Roman emperors in history.
Hadrian was born on January, 26 76 a.d. in Spain. In his youth, he developed a strong interest in Hellenic culture. This earned him his nickname "The Greekling." For example, "Hadrian was an admirer of Greek culture and under different circumstances, might well have devoted his full time to literature and philosophy rather than politics (Eadie 8 )." Hadrian was well-educated, and known throughout Rome as a military man. For instance, " He rose through the ranks as befitting of one of his position in life and became a well-respected general (Internet Hadrian 4)." Soon after, Hadrian was married to a thirteen year old girl named Sabina. Thirteen years of age was very young even in Roman terms of marriage. Hadrian became emperor in 117a.d. This occurred when
Trajan, Hadrian's deceased father's cousin and guardian, made Hadrian his successor on his deathbed. "Certainly Hadrian's relationship with the Senate was not a good one(Coleman-Norton 674)." At the beginning of his reign, he put four former consuls to death for conspiracy. This created negative personal relations between Hadrian and the Senate; however, "Hadrian generally treated the Senate with the utmost respect(Coleman-Norton 674)." Throughout the years 120-133, he traveled eminsly. He visited Britain, Spain, eastern provinces, and even Africa. Towns and cities vastly benefited from his journeys. Harbor installations, roads, and bridges were built. The size of Athens almost doubled, and many new cities, including Adrinople were founded by the emperor(Coleman-Norton)." " Hadrian's travels, which during his reign covered a period of more than twelve years, were the most extensive of any peacetime emperors in history(Coleman-Norton 673)."
Hadrian cared about the welfare of his country and people. For example, "Hadrian was an able and tireless ruler. He issued laws protecting women, children, and slaves from mistreatment (Beers 112)." He also revised and reorganized the entire system of Roman laws. Hadrian greatly improved the East by building new roads, temples, theatres, and circuses. Hadrian also created a strong economy. He made numerous advancements in society, which used funding without increasing taxes. In fact, "He reorganized the imperial financial structure to eliminate some of the abuses in taxation(Coleman-Norton)." At this point, Hadrian was a very popular man according to most Roman citizens.
Hadrian was also known for his architectural abilities. He showed this by the creation of Hadrian's wall. During his reign, northern invaders, the Picts, repeatedly attacked his country. He came to the conclusion to restrain the northern invaders by creating a barrier, not a line of defense. Hadrian's wall was an eighty-mile long wall that stretched across northern England. The wall was twenty feet thick at the base, and fifteen feet high. "More than twenty seven million cubic feet of stone were used by the soldier-builders for this amazing fortification(Readers Digest 92)." Towers and gates were built into the wall every one Roman mile. Ditches on both sides also protected the wall. There were sixteen garrison forts strung out at intervals(Readers Digest)." As it was built, people began to migrate toward the wall. This created shops and taverns for the publics' interest. Moreover, "Hadrian's wall helped to spread Roman ways of life and the Latin tongue across their vast and diverse realm(Readers Digest)." Hadrian's wall was one of the greatest attempts of defense without resulting in war.
Hadrian's dedication to his country made him a hero; however, he was not a well-respected man by the time he passed away. After naming Antonius his heir, He refrained from participating in public life and politics. Hadrian became very ill from an unknown disease. Suffering from unbearable pain and depression; Hadrian attempted to commit suicide several times. He finally succeeded by overdosing on his medication at the age of sixty-two. Hadrian's deeds have made him an admirable piece of Roman history.