Hadrian:The imperial palace

Almost immediately after becoming emperor Hadrian made plans for an imperial villa in
the countryside about thirty kilometres east of Rome The scale of the villa is staggering the grounds accessible today cover some ninety
acres but the estate was probably three times that We are sitting in one of the most beautiful
spots of the villa Adriannna in Tivoli but the word villa doesn’t really give a proper
impression of what Tivoli is because it’s really the summer administration
centre for the whole of the Empire It’s a huge complex designed to accommodate
thousands of people not juts the emperor and his court but all
the officials, the administrators, the army and of course the servants and the slaves
needed to keep this whole town going And it gives us a sense of how Hadrian thought
of himself as the emperor He’s building the great centre here in Rome In fact he was of course very little in Rome he’s travelling the frontiers of the Empire he’s in north of England supervising the building
of the wall he’s in Syria, he’s in Africa, he’s on the
Danube, he’s on the Nile but unlike Trajan who was constantly expanding,
Hadrian is consolidating And one of the ways to consolidate is by making
this great administrative capital the villa Adrianna, here in Tivoli He brings elements of the Empire back to the
villa here in Tivoli creating not only an alternative seat of government but also the empire in miniature When this pool was excavated there were statues
found of the Tiber and the Nile and of the crocodile but also statues of Greek gods and goddeses Greece and Egypt, the whole of the Eastern
Mediterranean brought together here in Tivoli into this landcsape It is one of Hadrian’s great achievements,
both as a ruler, as a propagandist for empire and also as an organiser of spaces which are
very very pleasing to be in


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