Our Namesake

Why Hadrian?

Hadrian was emperor of Rome from AD 117-138. The successor of Trajan, Hadrian ruled during a time of peace and prosperity. He traveled in the provinces extensively during the early part of his reign, spreading his foreign policy of peace through strong defense. Hence, the wall named for him in Britain. Hadrian oversaw many administrative reforms, including the codification of private law so that it could be changed by the emperor and was not subject to innovations by different magistrates. He is thought to be the most intellectual and educated of the emperors, and he was also a great designer, builder, and patron of the cities he visited. 

In Athens, he built a library, gymnasium, and colonnade and oversaw the completion of the temple of Olympian Zeus. In Rome he built the Pantheon, the most famous of all Roman architecture, the temple of Venus and Rome, his mausoleum, and the bridge, Pons Aelius. He also built a grand villa in Tibur, also known as Tivoli, which is source of many great examples of Roman art and architecture.

Source: The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, Oxford University Press, NY, 1989.