Hadrian in Parthia and Anatolia

Hadrian in Parthia and Anatolia

In 123, Hadrian arrived in Mauretania where he personally led a campaign against local rebels. However this visit was to be short, as reports came through that the Eastern nation of Parthia was again preparing for war, as a result Hadrian quickly headed eastwards. On his journey east it is known that at some point he visited Cyrene during which he personally made available funds for the training of the young men of well bred families for the Roman military.

Cyrene had already benefited from his generosity when Hadrian in 119 had provided funds for the rebuilding of public buildings destroyed in the recent Jewish revolt. When Hadrian arrived on the Euphrates, he characteristically solved the problem through a negotiated settlement with the Parthian king Osroes I. Hadrian then proceeded to check the Roman defenses before setting off West along the coast of the Black Sea. He probably spent the winter in Nicomedia, the main city of Bithynia. As Nicomedia had been hit by an earthquake only shortly prior to his stay, Hadrian was generous in providing funds for rebuilding. Thanks to his generosity he was acclaimed as the chief restorer of the province as a whole. It is more than possible that Hadrian visited Claudiopolis and there espied the beautiful Antinous, a young boy who was destined to become the emperor's beloved. Sources say nothing about when Hadrian met Antinous, however, there are depictions of Antinous that shows him as a young man of 20 or so. As this was shortly before Antinous's drowning in 130 Antinous would more likely have been a youth of 13 or 14. It is possible that Antinous may have been sent to Rome to be trained as page to serve the emperor and only gradually did he rise to the status of imperial favorite.

After meeting Antinous, Hadrian traveled through Anatolia. The route he took is uncertain. Various incidents are described such as his founding of a city within Mysia, Hadrianutherae, after a successful boar hunt. Some historians dispute whether Hadrian did in fact commission the city's construction at all. At about this time, plans to build a temple in Asia minor were written up. The new temple would be dedicated to Trajan and Hadrian and built with dazzling white marble.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Readers of your Emperor Hadrian page may also be interested in the recent novel published about Hadrian and Antinous? It is titled 'THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History' and is a fictional account of the relationship of the pair, plus a also fictional) whodunnit about Antinous's death by the River Nile in 130CE.

    The novel is available as a paperback via Amazon USA & UK, or as a low-price Kindle ebook at Amazon and an iPad ebook at Apple's iBookstore.

    GMP Editions, Publishers