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Good articleHadrian has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
May 27, 2007Good article nomineeNot listed
September 1, 2015Good article nomineeNot listed
April 27, 2016Good article nomineeNot listed
July 21, 2017Good article nomineeNot listed
January 31, 2019Good article nomineeListed
Current status: Good article
WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors  
WikiProject iconThis article was copy edited by Twofingered Typist, a member of the Guild of Copy Editors, on 7 April 2017.

His estate[edit]

At Hadrian's villa in Tivoli(?)

So far, 15 steps, each 27 feet wide, have been identified and archaeologists did not rule out uncovering more. [1]

Archaeologists who have been digging for more than a year at the villa of Roman Emperor Hadrian in Tivoli have unearthed a monumental staircase, a statue of an athlete and what appears to be a headless sphinx.

There is no evidence Hadrian stated in his autobiography that he was born in Rome.[edit]

This is a conjecture of the Wikipedia article, based on a faulty reading of the 'Augustan History' biography of Hadrian, purportedly written by one Aelius Spartianus.
I refer to the actual text of the biography.*.html
In the opening paragraph of the the biography, only one reference is made to claims Hadrian made himself in his autobiography:
"The original home of the family of the Emperor Hadrian was Picenum, the later, Spain; for Hadrian himself relates in his autobiography that his forefathers came from Hadria, but settled at Italica in the time of the Scipios."
However, the mention of Hadrian's birth in Rome is an inference of the Augustan History biographer:
"Hadrian was born in Rome on the ninth day before the Kalends of February in the seventh consulship of Vespasian and the fifth of Titus."
Nevertheless, the footnote referring to this claim in the English translation (Loeb Classical Library) says:
"This is, of course, a fiction, and the biography contradicts itself, for Italica is clearly the patria referred to in c. ii.1 and 2, and c. xix.1."
As for the reference to Hadrian's own autobiography, the footnote says:
"For the Autobiography of Hadrian, now lost, cf. c. xvi. It seems to have been written toward the close of his life, and, to judge from scanty citations from it, its purpose was to contradict current statements about himself which he considered derogatory to his reputation and to present him in a favourable light to posterity."
Jacob Davidson

Name and title[edit]

I have deleted a weird sentence, but the page was updated before I could explain what I had done:

Deleted sentence:

"In Latin, the full imperial title of Hadrian was also rendered as Tito Ael[io] Hadriano, just as it appears in ancient epigraphic records."


The "full imperial title" is not given of any emperor, only part of a name. Moreover, this is not Hadrian (whose praenomen was Publius) but Antoninus Pius whose praenomen was Titus and whose full imperial name was (CIL III 116 = 6639): [Imp(eratori) Caes(ari)] Tito Ael(io) Hadriano Antonino Aug(usto) Pio p(atri) p(atriae) pontiflici) augur(i) d(ecreto) d(ecurionum)

As this is a dedicatio to the emperor the names and titles are in the dative. They should be rendered in the nominative in an English translation of the Latin text!!!

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Hadrian/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Tim riley (talk · contribs) 10:52, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Starting first read-through. More soonest. Tim riley talk 10:52, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

This is an impressive and substantial article, and unless I run across unexpected obstacles I fully expect to promote it to GA (and perhaps see it at FAC in due course) but there are some drafting points I should like you to look at first. It will take me two or three goes to get through them. Here is the first batch:

  • General
    • The article is mostly written with English spelling, but a few American spellings ("traveled", "honor" etc) have crept in, and need to be amended. (I have a techie shortcut that makes this easy, and I'll gladly do it if you would like me to. Please let me know.)
  • Sources
    • The second sentence is 69 words long, and really could do with breaking into two.
    • ("a mish mash of actual fact, Cloak and dagger, Sword and Sandal, with a sprinkling of Ubu Roi") – this calls for an an inline citation in addition to the reference. And "Cloak and lower case dagger but Sword and upper case Sandal: is this right? I see it's from a French book. If the translation is yours it would be as well to give the original French text in a footnote.
    • "absolutely necessary" – otiose adverb: something is either necessary or it isn't.
    • "However, this may be a ruse" – the word "however" appears 34 times in this article, mostly (as here) quite needlessly. "Howevers", as I well know, creep into one's prose unbidden, but they usually weaken the prose, and should be weeded severely.
    • "can be partially linked" – partially as in partly, no doubt, rather than in a biased way. The ambiguity is somewhat theoretical – who's going to misunderstand it? – but it's as well to make things completely unambiguous, nonetheless.
  • Public service
    • "His first…" – there seems to be a WP convention, with which I don't entirely agree, that at first mention in each paragraph "he" (or "she") won't do, and the name must be used. Here et passim.
    • "Later, he was to be transferred to the Legio I Minervia" – the "was to be" really is ambiguous: does it mean that he was sent to be tribune of the Legio II Adiutrix with the intention that he would go on to be Legio I Minervia or is it merely a succession of events, in which case the "to be" should be removed?
    • "governor of said province" – the "said" grates somewhat: how about just "the" or "that"?
    • "as was customary to the regular senator" – not sure about the preposition here: would "for" be more natural?

Here endeth the first batch. More soonest. Tim riley talk 21:03, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Before resuming my review of the individual sections of the text, I pause here to mention the quite remarkable excess of WP:OVERLINKs. In Early life alone Italica is linked four times. Rome does not need one link, let alone the five it has at present. I spotted other duplicate links (and there may be more) to:

  • Antinopolis
  • Antinous
  • Athens
  • Attianus
  • Augustan Histories
  • Baiae
  • Bar Kokhba
  • Barcelona
  • Bithynia
  • Cassius Dio
  • Danube
  • Ephesus
  • Eusebius
  • Fifth Macedonian Legion
  • Fronto
  • Hadrian's Wall
  • Hellenist
  • Hispania Baetica
  • Historia Augusta
  • Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Mauretania
  • Nero
  • Pannonia Inferior
  • Pantheon
  • Parthia
  • Pausanias
  • Roman Senate
  • Scipio Africanus
  • Second Temple
  • Sparta
  • Syria
  • Torah
  • Trajan
  • Vallum
  • Vespasian
  • XXII Deiotariana

Resuming the section-by-section review:

  • Securing power
    • "relieve him from his post" – unexpected phrasing instead of the more usual relieve him of his post
    • "Or better, the reason" – who says it's better?
    • "It's probable" – conversational contractions of this kind are inappropriate for an encyclopaedia article. See MOS:N'T.
  • Hadrian and the military
    • "However, disturbances …" – This huge sentence (62 words) needs chopping up.
    • "conjectural and speculative" – how is conjecture distinguished from speculation?
    • "a Greek intellectual that had been" – unexpected choice of pronoun: surely "who" would be normal here?
    • "It's more probable" – chatty contraction, as above.
    • "proof to it" – two points here: first, "proof of it" would be more usual phrasing, surely? And how can it be "proof" of something you have just decribed as merely "probable"?
    • "Great Britain" – WP:OVERLINK – we do not link the names of "major geographic features and locations, languages, and religions".
    • "built on stone" – typo for "of stone"?
    • "Hadrian established intensive drill routines" – I was amused to see what this links to.
  • Cultural pursuits and patronage
    • "an Ancient anonymous source" – is the capital letter intentional?
    • "When Trajan, predecessor to Hadrian" – we have already been told that Trajan was predecessor to Hadrian.
    • "He also wrote an autobiography …" – citation for this sentence, please.

More anon. Tim riley talk 09:51, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Purpose
    • First para, last sentence: lacks a main verb. Indeed, as I read this section I get the strong impression that it is written by someone whose first language is not English, and whether or not I am correct in that surmise I really think the section needs a good copy-edit. Some minor hiccups of English usage earlier in the article didn't seem to me serious enough to fail GA criterion 1a, but I think this section is another matter. I am perfectly happy to give the text a swift once-over – there is no reason why a GAN reviewer should not do so. Please let me know what you think best.
  • Africa, Parthia and Anatolia
    • Third para: this is a rehash of earlier material about the Hadrian-Antinous affair, and doesn't need serving up again here.

Please consider the above point about copy-editing before I go any further. I fear I am inclined to fail the candidacy if it is not addressed. – Tim riley talk 14:26, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Cerme (talk) 13:27, 1 September 2015 (UTC) I will revise the article, mainly by adding some materials from the German version, which is a FA. Then I shall ask for copy edit.Cerme (talk) 13:27, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Fair enough. I'll obviously have to fail the GAN on this occasion, but it is fundamentally a fine piece of work and I look forward to its future progress. Regards, Tim riley talk 20:33, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Hadrian/GA3. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Caeciliusinhorto (talk · contribs) 08:51, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

I'll review this. Might be 24 hours before I get you any substantial comments, though. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 08:51, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Right, I've started to go through this (and made some minor copyedits). Some initial commentary:

  • What is meant by "non-continuous sources"?
  • The article says that Dio's account of Hadrian's reign was epitomised by Xiphilinius. Is that a typo for Xiphilinus? And is it worth wikilinking him?
  • "However, this particular biography is generally considered relatively free of fictional additions": presumably this means the biography of Hadrian in Historia Augusta? Maybe rewrite to make this clearer?
  • What is the distinction between writing about Hadrian's politics and his policies?
Early life
  • "Against this is the argument of Canto, who argues that only one ancient source gives Hadrian's birth as Rome, opposite to 25 ancient authors who affirm that he was born in Italica." the phrase "opposite to" reads very strangely here.
  • "which remained in the famous Antigonus of Nicaea's collection": I can't tell whether Antigonus or his collection is meant to be the famous thing here, but I'm not convinced that famous accurately describes either.
  • "(the republican Hispania Ulterior)": 1. do we need to specify what the province had been called 200 years ago? 2. if so, why do we wikilink Hispania rather than Hispania Ulterior? (3. This implies that Hispania Baetica and Hispania Ulterior were the same region with a different name, which isn't quite accurate, as I understand it)
  • "near the present-day location of Seville, Spain.": "city", not "location"; but simply "near modern Seville" is probably enough, and more concise
Public service
  • Do we know when Hadrian got his first position in the vigntivirate? or as a tribune?
  • Wikilink cursus honorum?
  • Do we know why Hadrian in particular was chosen to inform Trajan of his adoption by Nerva?
  • Hadrian's three military tribunates: is the exceptional thing that he decided to, or that he was selected?
  • "When Nerva died in 98, Hadrian rushed to inform Trajan personally, coming in advance of the official envoy sent by the governor, Hadrian's brother-in-law and rival Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus – but this may be a fiction coined by Hadrian himself" Where does the story come from?
  • When the article says "chosen quaestor": is the quaestorship appointed by the emperor at this point? or was Hadrian elected?
  • "and by this gift he [Hadrian] was encouraged in his hopes of succeeding to the throne": emphasis original? Or added?
  • "As the prospects of Hadrian's rise were firstly a way to keep power in Trajan's family, by marrying Sabina, Hadrian also counted on the support not only of Plotina, but of his bride's mother, Trajan's niece Salonina Matidia, daughter of Trajan's sister Ulpia Marciana." I'm not exactly sure what this sentence is trying to say
  • "and was elected an Athenian citizen": this is cited to "inscription in footnote 1", but the correct footnote is (currently) 2. Would it be better just to cite it to IG II2 3286?
  • It seems strange to have the list of offices that Hadrian held in the middle of a section.
  • "Trajan's bogus adoption": only three sentences before, the adoption of Hadrian "might" have happened after Trajan's death; in the next section we have "if Trajan's adoption of Hadrian was genuine". "bogus" is a strong word here!

I've only got up to the end of the section on public service so far. Nonetheless, that gives you something to work on. I'll try to crack on with this, but it's a 14,000 word article: it's going to take me some time to do it justice... Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 15:16, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

More comments:

Securing power
  • Hadrian's adoption was dated to after Trajan's death? Why then is there debate about whether the adoption was legitimate?
  • Why is "discovered" in "he 'discovered' a conspiracy" in scare quotes?
  • Footnote 60 cites a claim to "Elizabeth Speller" with no more details. Presumably this is Speller 2003, which is mentioned in the bibliography, but this should be made clear. And preferably something more specific than an entire book should be given.
  • "former conqueror of": rewrite
  • "consular" as a noun reads bizarrely and is uncommon: I would try to avoid this as it looks like an error.
  • "Nigrinus' ambiguous relationship with Hadrian would outlive him" what is this meant to mean in plain English?
  • "dies imperiii" fairly sure this should be "imperii"?
  • "According to Syme, it is a disguised account of Hadrian's authoritarian Principate that is to be found in Tacitus' account of the rise and accession of Tiberius." needlessly convoluted sentence. Why not just "According to Syme, Tacitus' description of the rise and accession of Tiberius is a disguised account of Hadrian's authoritarian Principate."?
Hadrian and the military
  • Why did Hadrian give away Dacia to the Samartians? Did he not think that they were worth defending?
  • "Proof of this": "proof" is a very strong word for a claim which is merely asserted as "more probable". "evidence of this", perhaps?
  • "These defensive activities are seldom mentioned in literary records" why is "literary" italicised?
  • Is there epigraphic or other non-literary evidence that the border fortifications were built under Hadrian?
Cultural pursuits and patronage
  • "Hadrian was first described, in an ancient anonymous source later echoed by Ronald Syme, among others, as the most versatile of all the Roman Emperors." I suspect the point here is that the phrase "most versatile of all the emperors" originates in an anonymous ancient source, but this sentence is ambiguous.
  • "well- received" copyedit
  • "When Hadrian's predecessor, Trajan, consulted Apollodorus about an architectural problem, Hadrian interrupted to give advice, to which Apollodorus replied, "Go away and draw your pumpkins. You know nothing about these problems."" this is given in wikipedia's voice as something that happened, and yet the rest of the paragraph suggests that the story is doubtful. which is it?
  • Do we know what happened to Hadrian's supposed autobiography?
  • "As a cultural Hellenophile Hadrian was familiar with the work of the philosophers Epictetus, Heliodorus and Favorinus. At home, he attended to social needs." I can't work out what the first sentence here has to do with the rest of the paragraph, and reading the articles on Epictetus and Favorinus hasn't cleared matters up.
  • "He built libraries, aqueducts, baths and theatres. Hadrian is considered by many historians to have been wise and just." Again, not sure why the first sentence is part of this paragraph.
  • not sure why the last two paragraphs of this section are here rather than in the section on Hadrian's death, below.

Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 19:43, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Managed to work my way through the rest of the article. More commentary:

Hadrian's travels
  • "At the same time, as in later times all the way through the European Renaissance, kings were welcomed into their cities or lands, and the financial burden was completely on them, and only indirectly on the poorer class." Assuming "them" refers to "kings", this seems to contradict the previous paragraph.
Greece, Asia, and Egypt
  • "who, as a merchant, was probably snubbed upon as unfit for civic prominence": this doesn't make sense at the moment and needs rewriting
Legal reforms and state apparatus
  • why is this subsection under §Travels rather than §Emperor?
Hadrian and Judea
  • "Therefore, the Romans appear to have been surprised by the outbreak of the uprising." I'm not exactly sure what this "therefore" follows from.
  • "The evidence for this failure to integrate Judaism into a unified religious system lies in the fact that, after the war, Hadrian even renamed Jerusalem itself, as Aelia Capitolina after himself and Jupiter Capitolinus, the chief Roman deity" not sure how this follows
In Rabbinic literature
  • Again, why is this a subsection of §Travels. I would expect it either to be a subsection of §Hadrian and Judea or to be part of §Historiography
Final years
  • "The marriage was childless, so in 136 Hadrian adopted one of the ordinary consuls of that year, Lucius Ceionius Commodus, who took the name Lucius Aelius Caesar.": presumably the fact that Hadrian was sixty encouraged him to adopt rather than remarry and try for an heir?
Legacy and modern historiography
  • Not sure why the discussion on ancient and modern historiography is so separate; it seems like it might make more sense for them to be grouped together.

Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 18:31, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

And now thinking specifically about the GA criteria:

  • Lead section mentions L. Licinius Sura as a significant influence on Hadrian's accession to the imperial throne, but the body of the article doesn't mention him at all. Nor does the body of the article discuss Hadrian's place among the Five Good Emperors – something for the section on Historiography, maybe.
  • MOS:LAYOUT says that sections should generally not be very long or very short. Hadrian#Greece and the East; return to Rome (130–133) is a particular offender here: it's less than 150 words long, can it not be folded into another section?
  • I shall come back to criterion 2: I should like to spot-check some sources before I comment here.
  • The article certainly hits 3a: no obvious omissions. 3b is less sure: 82Kb of readable prose! This is really the point where WP:SUMMARY style would be useful. I'm not going to insist on splitting it out immediately, but that's definitely something to consider.
  • Seems neutral enough (cr.4). I shall go through the article again specifically thinking about this, though.
  • Criterion 5, stability, is certainly met. Actively developed, but no revert-warring or content disputes.
  • Article is certainly thoroughly illustrated. Shall have to take time to go through the image captions and licensing, though; I haven't looked at that at all yet.

Now I've made my way through the whole article, and formed my own impression, I shall also have a look at the previous reviews and quickly check that there's nothing still outstanding that they picked up on and I haven't.

Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 09:16, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Okay, pictures seem to all be freely licensed or out of copyright. No issues there. Captions seem okay too. I've started to check some of the references, and haven't found any problems there yet. There aren't any obviously inappropriate sources used.

One final concern I have is that there are a few uses of constructions such as "op.cit." and "ibid." in the references, which should generally be avoided in Wikipedia: see WP:IBID for the reasons. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 09:37, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

Waiting on improvements to the article per Cerme's comment here. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 21:22, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Hadrian/GA4. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jens Lallensack (talk · contribs) 14:34, 22 November 2018 (UTC)

Currently reading. Reads very good so far, I don't expect larger issues. Comments to follow during the next days. --Jens Lallensack (talk) 14:34, 22 November 2018 (UTC)

  • Britannia and the West (122) – this paragraph leaves some open questions: The uprising and Hadrian's wall are discussed in the same paragraph, but there is no connection between both, right? Was there a specific threat that lead Hadrian to build the wall, or was it simply part of his general plan to stop expansion of the empire?
  • You have a lot of images, and they do not fit well with some display settings. I would suggest to make even more use of grouping to have two images side by side, to save vertical space in the image column.
  • "Temple of Zeus in Athens" image caption: I would link that to the temple directly.
  • Link Justin Martyr at first appearance.
  • You do not specifically state when the Second Roman–Jewish War actually broke out (ok, you give the range in the section title, but I did't get that while reading). Also, I was wondering if this uprising was triggered by Hadrians arrival, or if the latter was simply by chance? (Or did Hadrian came because of the uprising)? Could be clearer.
  • You consequently spell "Roman Imperial order" with Imperial in upper case. Shouldn't it be lower case (Roman imperial order)?
  • You could mention at some point that the empire reached its largest extends under Trajan. Did Hadrian fear that the empire was overstretched/too large to be maintainable? Maybe something to discuss.
  • please resolve the "citation needed" tag.
  • Terrific work that is very close to promotion. Pinging nominator User:Cerme and major contributors User:Векочел and User:Haploidavey. --Jens Lallensack (talk) 11:10, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
    • A few sentences in the sections Greece and the East (130–132) and Sources and historiography are missing citations. Otherwise it is a very good article. Векочел (talk) 15:49, 25 November 2018 (UTC)

@Cerme: please let me know if you are still on it. Otherwise we have to – again – archive this shortly due to lack of response. If I don't hear from you, I will archive the first of January. --Jens Lallensack (talk) 08:50, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

I.m still in, and I have begun to edit the artigle according to the GA review! Cerme (talk) 16:23, 26 December 2018 (UTC)

That is great to hear, let me know when it is time for me to take a second look! --Jens Lallensack (talk) 19:59, 2 January 2019 (UTC)
Please, take a second look. I've done my best so far.Cerme (talk) 03:04, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

User:Cerme: Thank you for your all those fixes so far. We are nearly there; the only remaining issue is that some sentences at the end of paragraphs do not come with a citation. This information is therefore not easily verifiable, but verifiability is an important GA criterion.

  • It would be especially important to find a source for this: Hadrian was physically active, and enjoyed hunting; when he was 14, Trajan called him to Rome and arranged his further education in subjects appropriate to a young Roman aristocrat. Hadrian's enthusiasm for Greek literature and culture earned him the nickname Graeculus ("Greekling"). Trajan married Paulina off to the three-times consul Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus; the couple had a daughter, Julia Serviana Paulina.--Jens Lallensack (talk) 12:57, 25 January 2019 (UTC)

Theodore Opper[edit]

Where in Fronto did Opper find info about Hadrian in Britain? I just looked at both volumes of Fronto and there is absolutely no reference to Hadrian, Britain, or Scotland that the search function turns up in the English translation. I have only too much experience with academics who say things without proper citation or they cite to a source who cites to a source etc. that is inaccurate compared to what was supposedly said. Re-check Opper. (talk) 18:22, 22 October 2021 (UTC)

Can you be more specific about what your complaint is? There are numerous citations of Opper in the article, I'm not sure which you are referring to. Tarl N. (discuss) 22:39, 22 October 2021 (UTC)