Art: Hadrian, the genocidal emperor, commands an imperial audience at the Israel Museum

The exhibition brings together for the first time ever the handful of surviving 2nd-century bronze busts of the emperor who was cultured yet so cruel.

By GIL STERN STERN ZOHAR
January 5, 2016 11:54
4 minute read.
The Israel Museum

Roman emperor Hadrian commands an imperial audience at the Israel Museum. (photo credit: ISRAEL MUSEUM)

 
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History shows that Hadrian was one in a long line of genocidal arch villains who set out to annihilate the Jewish people. Yet until recently, the Roman emperor – who reigned from 117 to 138 CE, at the zenith of the Pax Romana – enjoyed an illustrious legacy.

It was Hadrian who brought peace to the far-flung empire stretching from Britain to Iraq, building the eponymous wall at the Scottish frontier as a defensive bulwark to keep out the barbarians.

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