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Emperor Hadrian

Hadrian was born on January 24, 76 A.D. as the New Testament record (see New Testament Fact File) of the The Bible was nearing a close. By that time, many of the first Christians had been martyred by earlier Roman emperors (see Ancient Empires - Rome and Emperor Nero and New Testament Roman Emperors), including Paul (see On The Road To Damascus) and Peter, and nearly all of the rest of The Twelve Apostles (see What Happened To The Apostles?). Among the most prominent of those that remained were The Apostle John, then about in his seventies, who had yet to write the book of Revelation, and perhaps still with him was Mary, who would have been in her eighties.

Roman Emperor Hadrian Hadrian was born in Spain as Publius Aelius Hadrianus. When orphaned at age ten, he was placed under the joint custody of the future emperor Trajan (a cousin of Hadrian's father, Aelius Hadrianus Afer), and a Roman commander, Acilius Attianus.

Despite a reportedly misbehaved youth, Hadrian eventually distinguished himself as a commander of the First Legion during the Second Dacian War, and later as a praetor and governor. Upon Trajan's death on August 17 117, it was announced that Hadrian was the emperor's choice as successor.

Hadrian's reign was both assertive and prudent. While proving his military skill in Moesia, in southeastern Europe, he also discontinued Trajan's advancement policy in Asia, and set the boundary at the Euphrates River.

Toward Israel however, Hadrian showed himself as typically ruthless as his predecessors. His policy of Romanization went so far as to ban many Jews from Jerusalem, which was renamed Aelia Capitolina. After he built a pagan temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on the site of the destroyed Temple (see Temples), he put down the resulting Jewish insurrection of Bar Kochba in 132 with great brutality. The war that followed from 132 to 135 was the most challenging of his reign.

Map Of The Roman Empire

Hadrian's cultural and military endeavors were evident throughout Europe. In Germany he built great defensive walls, and in Britain he had the famous Hadrian's Wall constructed. In Athens, he built the Arch of Hadrian, and in Rome he rebuilt the Pantheon and expanded the Forum.

Though very Roman, Hadrian had a love of Greek ways, which may be the reason that he was the first Roman emperor to be shown with a beard, as pictured on the actual Roman coin of Hadrian above. Other historians suggest that the beard was to conceal natural blemishes or scars on his face.

Hadrian died of an illness on July 10, 138 at age 62.

Fact Finder: Does the Bible say that a revival of the ancient Roman empire will occur prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ?
See Daniel's Statue

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