Hadrian’s Wall is one of the world’s best known legacies of the Roman Empire. It has stood for two thousand years as a monument to its creator, and yet he himself remains an enigmatic figure.
Hadrian was not in the usual mould of Roman Emperors. He was Spanish and a restless, inquiring intellectual with a deep love of Greek culture. He travelled constantly and spent much time in Athens and Alexandria. Although he was not warlike, he was a good soldier, comfortable mingling among the ranks. He wore no jewellery and preferred to walk rather than travel by horse of chariot. His personal life was a complicated one, rife with scandal and comflicted sexuality.
As well as the wall, this complex character ws also responsible for some of the world’s most enduting architectural treasures. He buit the Pantheon in Rome, the largest dome built using pre-industrial methods, and he also constructed a sprawling 900-room villa at Tivoli which stills stands to this day.
Written with the perfect combination of scholarship and accessibility, Hadrian's Empire is not just a biography; it is an intimate social history of a crucial era in the history of Rome, Britain and the world.