Today in the year 76, a boy was born in modern day Spain, and given the name Hadrian.
Growing up in the north-east of England, Hadrian was a large part of our history lessons (as our village lay on the ancient Roman road of Dere Street, roman history was inevitably going to feature highly on the curriculum!).
The wall that bears his name in the borderlands stands in amazing condition, considering how long ago it was built. We had numerous school trips to see it over the years and the neighbouring forts.
If you are visiting, Vindolanda is a must see fort, and you really must walk along at least some of the wall. Though watch the bairns, in some parts the wall is inches high on one side and a ten foot drop on the other!!
Hadrian succeeded his cousin Trajan to the seat of power in Rome in 117, after proving himself on the battlefields across Europe. He travelled widely across the empire, favouring Greece where he built many temples.
Though he married his half cousin before coming to the throne, they had no children. He was rumoured to have preferred the company of his male friends! As he had no natural heir, he ‘adopted’ two boys when he was older, to give himself a successor. One of them died before Hadrian, so he was followed by Antoninus.
Seen in history as one of the ‘good’ emporers of Rome, his reign was relatively peaceful by comparison to others. A little known fact is that he was the first to bring the image of Brittannia as a woman to coinage in England.
Wonder if the wall Trump wants to build will become as famous as Hadrian’s in the future……….