Hadrian was the Roman Emperor from 117-138 AD, though his father was merely of senatorial rank in the army. It is said that the dying wish of the preceding Emperor, Trajan, was for Hadrian to be his heir (they were distantly related). Hadrian pursued a very different foreign and military policy from that of Trajan: under Trajan, the Empire swelled to the largest it had ever been, or would ever come to be. Hadrian, on the other hand, valued harmony and consolidation over expansion, and the Empire shrank as a result. He is probably most famous for Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the divide between the ‘Romanised’ (and thus civilised) South and the barbarian North.
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