Thu, 3 July 2014
As emperors go, Hadrian is regarded by students of history as one of the best. He was quite popular among the military and the people of Rome were with him.
The Senate had a big, big problem, though. Hadrian was born in Spain, one of the many conquered lands. So he was not to be considered a real Roman. Certainly not one of those born to the upper, upper classes. This outsider should have been a slave, not a ruler.
I sometimes wonder about the stupidly selfish way the Senate dealt with the only Roman Emperor at the time who had come from the provinces. It could have been an opportunity to promote the fiction of a "dream that was Rome." Imagine Rome as an ideal in which those conquered could rise to rule. Imagine how that might have cemented the loyalty of subjects.
Parallels with patriotism in American stop when it comes to a July 4 dream.