Elizabeth Speller tells the story of the most powerful man on earth in the early part of the second century. The man who built Hadrian's Wall, the Pantheon in Rome, and, for himself, a nine hundred-room villa at Tivoli. Hadrian was a great but flawed Roman Emperor, an intellectual and patron of the arts but he was also melancholy, volatile and ...
Elizabeth Speller tells the story of the most powerful man on earth in the early part of the second century. The man who built Hadrian's Wall, the Pantheon in Rome, and, for himself, a nine hundred-room villa at Tivoli. Hadrian was a great but flawed Roman Emperor, an intellectual and patron of the arts but he was also melancholy, volatile and utterly ruthless. 'Wonderful and entrancing ...Anyone interested in the ancient world will want to read this book' - "Literary Review". 'Following Hadrian offers a clear-headed and accessible narrative of Hadrian's wandering reign, informed and enlivened by some of the best modern work on the politics of the Roman Empire - which she manages to cast much more elegantly than most professional ancient historians themselves' - Mary Beard, "TLS".
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-05-01 This is an odd if appealing amalgam, which the publisher describes as "part travelogue, biography and fictional memoir," recounting the life of second-century Roman emperor Hadrian when the empire was at its peak of power. The memoir is not Hadrian's (though he did in fact write an autobiography that has been lost to us), but that of Julia Balbilla, an aristocratic woman, poet and good friend of Hadrian's wife. Inspired by Marguerite Yourcenar's novel about the emperor, and attempting to flesh out the skimpy historical record and give readers a taste of real life during the Roman Empire, Speller, a classics scholar, entwines excerpts from the fictional diary with historical narrative to relate the life of Hadrian, "a great and brilliant emperor" and "a passionate and incessant traveler." Through the imagined words of Julia, Hadrian becomes a man of flesh and blood: "his hair was more brown than golden and the poetry rather better than the wits gave him credit for. It was the same with his alleged cowardice in the wars and his womanising." This is a pleasing introduction to the ancient world. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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