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Created on 2010-04-09 13:57:57 (#496350), last updated 2012-06-12 (279 weeks ago)

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"One explanation of this silence lies in the man's prickly personality. A fine administrator, Hadrian was brave, intelligent, and, on the main political issues of the day, astute. But he was also irritable and excessively pleased with himself: like many talented amateurs, he took malicious fun in contradicting experts. Hadrian sometimes turned on his friends and threw them over without regret. That great classical historian of the nineteenth century Theodore Mommsen found him "repellent" and "venemous."

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It turns out that the poisonous pervert of past imaginings was, in fact, a fascinating figure - full of contradictions, certainly, infuriating and charming, ruthless and well-wishing, hardworking and playful, a man of action and an aesthete, occasionally cruel, but, all in all, a richly endowed, rounded human being. Himself a poet and a painter and an enthusiast for everything Hellenic, he was a good Nero."
Anthony Everitt, Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome
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