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Timothy

Rockville, MD, United States | Member Since 2005

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  • Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Anthony Everitt
    • Narrated By John Curless
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (49)

    Acclaimed British historian Anthony Everitt delivers a compelling account of the former orphan who became Roman emperor in A.D. 117 after the death of his guardian Trajan. Hadrian strengthened Rome by ending territorial expansion and fortifying existing borders. And - except for the uprising he triggered in Judea - his strength-based diplomacy brought peace to the realm after a century of warfare.

    Darwin8u says: "A Biography "too tall for the height of the cella""
    "Not as good as Augustus or Cicero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is not nearly as good as the author's previous two books on ancient Romans -- "Augustus" and "Cicero" -- likely for two reasons. Hadrian was not as interesting a person as Augustus and Cicero were. But also, there is much less historical information available about the life of Hadrian. The author seems, therefore, to have needed to heavily rely on the "Historia Augusta", which is a notoriously unreliable source. To make up for the deficit of information the author has speculated to fill in the gaps, which is fine. But unfortunately, the author chose to speculate less on subjects of great cultural significance like Hadrian's Wall and the Pantheon -- Hadrian's two most famous architectural achievements -- and more on Hadrian's homosexual relationship with the young boy, Antinous. We learn a lot about the mores of homosexual behavior between men and boys in Greece and Rome, much of which seems only tangential to Hadrian's story. Perhaps this done was to spice the story up a bit, because compared to the bad emperors, like Nero and Caligula, the highly competent Hadrian is a little boring. In any event, the book is worth the read, and I look forward to the author's next work. I just hope he picks a more interesting subject that has more reliable historical sources available. [I would suggest Marcus Aurelius.]

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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