Born and bred in what is now northern Spain to a family of olive-oil magnates, Hadrian was lucky enough to benefit from the patronage of his maternal cousin, Trajan, who would later become emperor, and who named Hadrian his successor on his death in AD 117.
After suppressing the Jewish revolt that had started under Trajan (memorably depicted in Josephus' Jewish War), Hadrian brought years of turbulence to an end. He presided over Rome's expansion to its greatest extent, travelling all over his empire to fortify its borders and, notably, building a wall to demarcate its northern extreme in the island of Britain (as well as another in Germany). Hadrian also 'Hellenized' the cultural life of the empire, and left an extraordinary legacy, yet he remains one of the least-known of Rome's emperors.
Using exhaustive research, Anthony Everitt unveils the private life and character of this most successful of emperors, in the most vivid and exciting retelling of his story to date.