Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hadrian & Antinous: Mystery & Love- The Succession Pt.2

Publius Aelius Hadrianus: Born 24 January 76 A.D., Died 10 July 138
Age of 41 on becoming Emperor. Reigned from 117-138 A.D.

Our friend, Acilius Attianus, (or Hadrian's I should say) returns in this final post on the succession. Hadrian was still insecure about the security of his promotion to Emperor. Using Attianus, who with Plotina had hastened back to Rome with Trajan's ashes, Hadrian got rid of a powerful enemy, Lusius Quietus, a Moorish general, along with three other of the most honored and and elite generals and statesmen of Trajan's reign. Attianus had alleged the four were plotting Hadrian's assassination. Attianus was Prefect of the Guard and bullied the Senate into executing these men. The four men were undoubtedly unenthusiastic about Hadrian's reign, but there was no organized opposition to him and the truth of the charges in is doubt. Hadrian denied complicity in the deaths of the four consulars, but the Senate, behind its meek compliance never forgot or forgave him.

Before returning to Rome, Hadrian had to deal with the unrestful situation along the Danube frontier. This he accomplished with a combination of military action and diplomacy by way of bribery. He finally entered Rome on 9 July 118.

To help his unsettled relations with the Senate, he apologized for accepting the army's acclamation and not the Senate's selection as his power base. He also promised never again to punish any of its members without its consent (Why we wonder, if he had nothing to do with the previous deaths mentioned?). To soothe Rome's unrestful population he distributed a huge largesse of gold and also remitted debts to the Treasury to the enormous amount of 900 million sesterces (modern tax rebates and economic stimulus checks anyone?)- who says the United States has nothing in common with old Rome. In this series of posts I hope to bring out these similarites and would appreciate any reader's comments on this matter. The tax returns were burnt in a huge bonfire in Trajan's forum. From Royston Lambert's, Beloved and God: " It was a strange and disconcerting beginning for one who had waited so long and detrimentally to himself for his inheritance. Bloodshed, tax bonfires and massive bribery ushered in the 'times of felicity', advertised so proudly on the first coins of the reign bearing the slogans 'concord', 'peace, 'justice' and 'piety'." I have very much enjoyed Beloved and God-the book gave me the idea for this set of posts. I have the book out from the library now, but would like to order it from Amazon or a site that sells older books online-Beloved and God was published in 1984 by Viking.

Once he was Emperor, Hadrian acted very quickly on several matters. He immediately relinquished control of Roman conquests east of the Tigris and Euphrates. He gave a double sized donation of money and friends who were in control of twenty-one Roman Legions. He used Marcius Turbo, a very capable soldier, but who was only of equestrian rank and others to crush Jewish revolts in Palestine, Egypt, Mauretania, Libya and Cyprus.

This is the last post involving Hadrian's succession. The next posts in this series will be about Antinous and then Hadrian's relationship with Antinous. I hope to have these up in 4-6 days. It really is a great story. I do hope to have some fitting poetry here perhaps tonight or tomorrow depending on what I can find. I have been searching the web and books from the library for prose that fits this set of posts and don't know if I have found what I want here yet. I am still deciding if I should do any off-topic posts between this series-a lot may depend on how fast I can condense and bring out the important facts and mysteries of this story. Thanks so much for bearing with me and for people about to enjoy Thanksgiving my best wishes go out to you and your families and of course to any other readers I have who do not celebrate this holiday.


X. Dell said...

This is very interesting stuff. A lot of this I either didn't know, or had forgotten over the years.

Regarding the previous post, why would Trajan and Hadrian's penchant for young dudes become a sore spot between them? Were they competing for the same boys?

Plotina's machinations sems very much in line with those of Agrippina and other powerful female behind-the-scene Roman kingmakers.

Conpiracy was something that marked the period of the late-Republic and the empire (Cicero's In Catalina, for example). While I can understand that the Senate might not have been all that thrilled about being bullied into executions by someone acting on behalf of the sovereign, such actions were a part of Rome's history. Doesn't seem like that would catch anyone off-guard.

I would suppose that Hadrian's concession with the Senate had more to do with making a concilliatory gesture, while admitting no fault. That happens all the time in the present day. Stands to reason it could have happened in ancient Rome.

Keep it up. I know the focus of this is the relationship between Antonius and Hadrian. So I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on that.

Devin said...

X.Dell, always love hearing your thoughts here, loved the new x spot post tonight. In regards to Trajan and Hadrian competing -or what caused the relationship between them to fall-out-I am trying to dig up more things-i have three books open,various internet sites and am communicating by email with someone far more educated than I!
When I first did these posts I was starting to realize there were so many could have beens and unfounded accusations-hopefully i will dig up something concrete and i will do a post about it-this is indeed going to be a long running series.
Could not agree with you more regarding Plotina,Agrippina and other ladies of the time-Locusta also comes to mind-these women -most anyway were intelligent resourceful, respected and feared!
The conspiracies are indeed what fascinate me so about some of these posts and also throughout history-very much appreciated your reference to cicero.
These posts are indeed going to be more about the relationship and mysteries of Hadrian and Antinous and his subsequent deity-but I need to 'tighten up' my thinking about other issues(hadrian and senate example) as I want to give the most accurate portrayal I can of the time.
It astounds me how history repeats itself-off in the future at MFM I want to do a series of posts-more fragmented and spaced in time about events in the Kremlin in the early 80s-hopefully readers can think along the lines of these posts being kind of along a Shakespearean play or tragedy rather than just plain politics which many find boring
I am going to go to more sources and am going to look deeper into Hadrian-Trajan-I know from most history I have read it is assumed there was a falling out over boys-but it is very non-specific what i have dug up so far.
I hope I can get my writing to the point some people get interested in these events and others I will talk about
While I work on the first set of posts about Antinous I am trying to find poetry that in some way is tangential to the story I am trying to tell and from this point on will have some things to fit between posts-but this is one story I don't want to go too off-topic on
Thanks again for stopping by-and if you think of anything at all in between please come back and comment on any of my posts and future ones!-Devin

wise woman said...

The plot thickens :)

From my last comment, I had a little hunt on the internet & found a comment stating that J Paul Getty believed himself to be Hadrians reincarnation. Don't know anything about the guy except the $ 'sign' - but I must admit I am interesrted in the idea that dominating figures return as dominating fugures.

Hope you had a scrumptious Thanksgiving, I scoured the cupboards & ended up with a couple of boiled eggs because I was much too em-b(r)oiled in writing, to go shopping :)

All the best

Devin said...

Love to see you here wise! this damn computer is so hard to type on-not used to laptops and flat keyboards! thanks for the Getty info involving Hadrian-fascinating!
I hope you and yours had a very happy thanksgiving-my mom is truly a gourmet cook and i am very spoiled!
It has been a wonderful day and i hope it is for you and everyone that stops by MFM!