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A History of Rome to 565 A. D. by Boak

And clothed him with the tribunician authority


*Military

policy.* Realizing that Trajan's policy of imperial expansion had overtaxed the economic resources of the empire, he began his rule by abandoning the new provinces of Mesopotamia and Assyria, and reverting to the previous Roman policy in Armenia, where a Parthian prince acknowledged his overlordship. He devoted his energies to strengthening the system of frontier defences and raising the standards of discipline and efficiency among the soldiers. Aside from the suppression of the revolts which had broken out in the last years of Trajan's rule, his most serious military undertaking was the quelling of a new rising of the Jews in Palestine, which followed the foundation of a Roman colony on the site of Jerusalem. Only after a two years' struggle (132-134 A. D.) was the rebellion crushed.

*Judicial and administrative reforms.* To aid him in the administration of justice, Hadrian formed a permanent council of eminent jurists. He, too, was responsible for codifying and editing in a final form the praetor's edict, upon which was based the procedure of the Roman civil law. This task was carried out by the jurist Salvius Julianus. With the object of relieving the city courts of an excessive burden of judicial business, Hadrian divided Italy into four districts, and appointed an official of consular rank to administer justice in each. This was a further step in removing Italy from the control of the Senate and approximating its status to that of a province.

Hadrian's administrative reforms were the result of the steady increase in the sphere of public business carried on by the officers of the princeps, and furthered the development of a centralized bureaucracy. By creating new offices--among them the post of advocate of the fiscus (_advocatus fisci_) as an alternative for the subaltern military offices--he greatly increased the importance of the equestrian career and the influence of the _equites_ in the government. In the three departments of the military, civil and judicial administration the principate of Hadrian marks a distinct epoch.

*Building activity.* Everywhere throughout the empire Hadrian built and repaired with the greatest zeal; but particularly in Rome and Athens. In Rome, among other structures, he built the great double temple of Venus and Roma and his own mausoleum, the present Castel Sant' Angelo. At Athens he completed the great temple of Olympian Zeus, begun by Pisistratus in the sixth century B. C., and added a new quarter to the city.

*The choice of a successor.* In 136 A. D., Hadrian fell seriously ill and, having no children, adopted Lucius Ceionius Commodus under the name of Lucius Aelius Caesar, and clothed him with the tribunician authority. Hadrian himself withdrew from Rome to his splendid villa at Tibur. However, Aelius died at the beginning of 138 A. D., and thereupon the princeps adopted an elderly senator named Titus Aurelius Antoninus, who in turn adopted the son of the deceased Aelius and his own nephew, Marcus Annius Verus. Antoninus received the _imperium_ and tribunician power and became the partner of Hadrian in the principate. After a long and painful illness the latter died in July, 138 A. D. His later years were clouded by ill health which rendered him moody and suspicious, and probably led to the execution of his brother-in-law and the latter's grandson on a charge of conspiracy. He had never been popular with the Senate and this step widened the breach between them. Only the energetic action of his successor prevented the execration of his memory and secured his deification.


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