Hadrian was the first Roman Emperor to have a fully provincial background. Professor & Head of the Department of History, Penn State University, Dr. Michael Kulikowski, joins the show to discuss Hadrian’s life.
Some topics explored
- Why Hadrian is considered the first provincial Roman emperor (his family was from what would be modern-day Spain)
- When and where Hadrian was born
- The murders of four leading senators that are linked to Hadrian
- His relationship to senators in Rome
- His congenial relationship with the
- His father (a cousin of Hadrian’s predecessor, Roman Emperor Trajan)
- His education, which included grammar training, rhetoric, learning Greek equestrian, hunting, etc.
- The languages he learned
- Trajan’s widow, Pompeia Plotina and her influence in Hadrian becoming Emperor
- Hadrian’s reign as emperor
- How Hadrian was as a military leader
- How Hadrian was as a politician
- Hadrian’s position on foreign policy
- The demarcation of Rome at the time that Hadrian became emperor
- Trajan’s family life including his marriage to Vibia Sabina
- Trajan’s sexual preference and male partner Antinous
- Rome and Greece’s customs towards homosexuality
- What’s known about his disposition
- The circumstances of Hadrian’s death
- His relationship to the Greek world
- The dynamic, and delicate balance, in Rome in this era between Rome being a monarchy, yet anyone could theoretically become a future emperor
- The complex succession to Hadrian
- How Rome changed under Hadrian’s rule
Listen to the episode
The episode can be streamed below and is also available on major podcast apps: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.
- Dr. Kulikowski is the author of the books The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine (Harvard University Press) and The Tragedy of Empire: From Constantine to the Destruction of Roman Italy (Harvard University Press)
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