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Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome


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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, England's first recorded town, founded by the Romans.


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 protege 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) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

This account of the Roman Empire at its height completes Everitt's trilogy of Roman biographies, which began with Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician (about the fall of the Roman Republic) and continued with Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor (about the establishment of Roman rule by one man). Here, Everitt composes a skillfully analyzed and well-researched narrative of the life of an emperor who excelled as both a soldier and an administrator. Despite his inability to win over the Roman Senate, his self-congratulatory personality, and his habit of discarding friends on a whim, Hadrian was a poet and painter who Hellenized the Roman Empire and halted the wars of conquest that expanded the empire, preferring to manage the territory already conquered. Hadrian was, in Everitt's words, "a good Nero." Verdict This excellent, readable biography is highly recommended to both lay readers and scholars interested in ancient, Western, and Roman history.-Crystal Goldman, San Jose St. Univ. Lib., CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"A fascinating insight into the mind of the Roman emperor."-Sunday Telegraph (London)

"Excellent . . . highly recommended . . . a skillfully analyzed and well-researched narrative."-Library Journal

"One gets a clear and compelling sense of Hadrian's times."-The New Yorker

"[A] skillful portrait . . . 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."-Publishers Weekly

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