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Publius Aelius Hadrianus[1] (as emperor Imperator Caesar Divi Traiani filius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, and Divus Hadrianus after his apotheosis, known as Hadrian in English; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was the fourteenth emperor of Rome from AD 117 to 138, as well as a Stoic and Epicurean philosopher. A member of the gens Aelia, Hadrian was the third of the so-called Five Good Emperors.

Hadrian visited Claudiopolis and there espied the beautiful Antinous, a young boy who was destined to become the emperor's beloved. Sources say nothing about when Hadrian met Antinous, however, there are depictions of Antinous that shows him as a young man of 20 or so. As this was shortly before Antinous's drowning in 130 Antinous would more likely have been a youth of 13 or 14.[2] It is possible that Antinous may have been sent to Rome to be trained as page to serve the emperor and only gradually did he rise to the status of imperial favourite.[3]

Hadrian had a close relationship, widely reported as having been romantic, with a Greek youth, Antinous, whom he met in Bithynia in 124 when the boy was thirteen or fourteen. While touring Egypt in 130, Antinous mysteriously drowned in the Nile. Deeply saddened, Hadrian founded the Egyptian city of Antinopolis, and had Antinous deified - an unprecedented honour for one not of the ruling family.


  1. As emperor his name was Imperator Caesar Divi Traiani filius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus.
  2. Anthony Birley, pp. 157–158.
  3. Royston Lambert, pp. 60–61.

See also

Exturnel links