Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

Hadrian's Death

The emperor Hadrian's chief delight was in building. For instance, he gave orders for the rebuilding of Carthage, and when he visited Egypt he had Pompey's tomb carefully repaired.

In Palestine, Hadrian would have liked to rebuild Jerusalem. The Jews were delighted when they heard this, because the Christians had declared that the city would never rise again. Their joy, however, did not last long, for they and the Romans soon began a terrible quarrel which ended in a war. More than five hundred thousand Jews perished in the struggle, and countless Romans and Christians also were killed.

After making two journeys to visit all the different parts of his empire, Hadrian went back to Rome, where he hoped to end his life in peace among learned men, and in devising new laws and erecting new buildings. He built a palace at Tibur, and a fine tomb on the banks of the Tiber. This tomb was long knows as "Hadrian's Mole," but is now generally called the "Castle of St. Angelo," on account of the statue of the angel Michael which surmounts it.

Hadrian's tomb
Tomb of Hadrian.

Hadrian, as we have seen, had been gentle and forgiving during the first part of his reign; but he now began to suffer from a disease which soon made him cross and suspicious. He therefore became very cruel, and, forgetting that he had once quite approved of the Christians, he ordered a fourth persecution, in which many were put to death.

To make sure that the Romans would be governed well after his death, Hadrian selected as his successor a very good and wise man named Antoninus. Then, feeling that his sufferings were more than he could bear, he implored his servants to kill him. They all refused, so he sent for many doctors, and took all the medicines they prescribed.

This, of course, somewhat hastened his death; and we are told that he spent the last moments of his life in dictating verses addressed to his soul. These are well known, and perhaps you will some day read them when you learn Latin, the language in which they were written.

Hadrian was buried in the tomb which he had built on the banks of the Tiber; and, when you go to Rome, you will surely visit this building, although it is so old that many changes have been made in it since it was first finished.


Front Matter

The First Settlers
Escape from the Burning City
The Clever Trick
The Boards Are Eaten
The Wolf and the Twins
Romulus Builds Rome
The Maidens Carried Off
Union of Sabines and Romans
Death of Romulus
Strange Signs of the Romans
The Quarrel with Alba
The Horatii and Curiatii
Tarquin and the Eagle
The Roman Youths
The King Outwitted
The Murder of Tarquin
The Ungrateful Children
The Mysterious Books
Tarquin's Poppies
The Oracle of Delphi
The Death of Lucretia
The Stern Father
A Roman Triumph
A Roman Triumph (Cont.)
Defense of the Bridge
The Burnt Hand
The Twin Gods
The Wrongs of the Poor
Fable of the Stomach
The Story of Coriolanus
The Farmer Hero
The New Laws
Death of Virginia
Plans of a Traitor
A School-Teacher Punished
Invasion of the Gauls
The Sacred Geese
Two Heroes of Rome
Disaster at Caudine Forks
Pyrrhus and His Elephants
The Elephants Routed
Ancient Ships
Regulus and the Snake
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
The Romans Defeated
The Inventor Archimedes
The Roman Conquests
Destruction of Carthage
Roman Amusements
The Jewels of Cornelia
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Caius Gracchus
Jugurtha, King of Numidia
The Barbarians
The Social War
The Flight of Marius
The Proscription Lists
Sertorius and His Doe
Revolt of the Slaves
Pompey's Conquests
Conspiracy of Catiline
Caesar's Conquests
Crossing of the Rubicon
Battle of Pharsalia
The Death of Caesar
The Second Triumvirate
The Vision of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
The Poisonous Snake
The Augustan Age
Death of Augustus
Varus Avenged
Death of Germanicus
Tiberius Smothered
The Wild Caligula
Wicked Wives of Claudius
Nero's First Crimes
Christians Persecuted
Nero's Cruelty
Two Short Reigns
The Siege of Jerusalem
The Buried Cities
The Terrible Banquet
The Emperor's Tablets
The Good Trajan
Trajan's Column
The Great Wall
Hadrian's Death
Antoninus Pius
The Model Pagan
Another Cruel Emperor
An Unnatural Son
The Senate of Women
The Gigantic Emperor
Invasion of the Goths
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra
A Prophecy Fulfulled
First Christian Emperor
Roman Empire Divided
An Emperor's Penance
Sieges of Rome
End of the Western Empire