Republication from Following hadrian


Hadrian was a dedicated philhellene who admired Greek culture and did his best to be accepted and admired by the Greeks. He visited Greece three times when he was emperor (AD 124/5, 128/9 and 131/2) and he was especially fond of Athens. Pausanias writes that “the Emperor Hadrian generosity to his subjects was bestowed most of all on Athens” whilst Cassius Dio tells about Hadrian’s generosity in a passage referring to his stay: “He granted the Athenians large sums of money, an annual dole of grain, and the whole of Cephallenia”. The philhellenic emperor did all he could to raise Athens to a special position in the Roman Empire and hoped to restore the city to the greatness of its distant past.

Prior to becoming Emperor, the Athenians gave him Athenian citizenship and elected him  archon eponymous, their chief official, in AD 112. The city of Athens honoured him with a bronze statue in the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens.

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