• Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome

  • By: Anthony Everitt
  • Narrated by: John Curless
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (225 ratings)

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Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome

By: Anthony Everitt
Narrated by: John Curless
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2009 Anthony Everitt (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Biography "too tall for the height of the cella"

Everitt finishes his trilogy/triptych on the Roman Empire with this biography of Hadrian. His biography on Cicero describes the end of the Roman Republic, his biography of Augustus centers on the consolidation and expansion of Roman empirial power. The biography of Hadrian shows the peak, maturity of Roman emperial expansion.

Historically, Hadrian has always been an under-appreciated emperor, so I was glad to see his biography tackled by Everitt. It also makes sense to try and bookend Everitt's trilogy with Hadrian. However, whether it is due to the lack of abundant historical information on Hadrian (as Everitt notes himself) or due to Everitt trying too hard to make Hadrian's reign fit into his neat (1.2.3.) pattern, this biography just sags and disappoints given Everitt's claim that Hadrian "has a good claim to have been the most successful of Rome's leaders."

In the end, it feels like Everitt was trying to do too much (Bio of Hadrian, triptych of the Roman Empire, etc) with too little. It reminded me of the architect Apollodorus' critique of Hadrian's own temple of Venus and Rome, the book was simply "too tall for the height of the cella."

25 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not as good as Augustus or Cicero

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.]

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Another detailed and entertaining puzzle piece

If you like Roman history, this book is another great slice of the big picture. Hadrian himself is not the most interesting emperor; certainly a great one for his peaceful, learned, and benevolent nature. But the book also paints a vivid picture of the time and place - when Rome was at its greatest height. Everitt's book "Augustus" is another winner.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not a lot Going on Here

This is Everitt's weakest effort. I found it to be boring and difficult to get through. It's still worth reading if you want to learn about Rome's history, but don't expect it to be a page turner. The narrator is solid.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story, good work

Sad to see that there is so little information left from roman times about emperor Hadrian. I really appreciate the author's attention to his relationship with Antonius, and I really like that the author isn't shying away from the possibility of the relationship being intimate. The author dismisses many times the demeaning conclusions of victorian historians regarding the relationship between Antonius and Hadrian. This was a great read, very sad that there are only fragments of Hadrian's autobiography, as I'd love to read it.

With regards to the story, I think the author does a fantastic job with such little limited information available, and the author goes about different routes to predict what could have happened during Hadrian's life based on known events that would have occured during his lifetime. I appreciate that.

I will definitely be looking into the author's other books on antiquity.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable

I’d recommend this book to anybody that’s interested in Roman history or history of western civilization.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Biography

This is a great biographical work on Hadrian. I only wish there was more information regarding the operationalization of the legal and judicial agenda at the time, and maybe some more economic information. Understandably, it might be harder to sell books with all if that info included, but that’s why I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars.

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  • KC
  • 10-02-16

Great overview of Hadrian's reign

Enjoyed this book. It described Hadrian's life and time as emperor. Highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in Roman history.