Hadrian (Latin: Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus 24 January, 76 AD – 10 July, 138 AD), was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. He is also known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in most of his tastes. He was the third of the Five Good Emperors.
Hadrian was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus to an ethnically Italian family, either in Italica near Seville (in modern-day Spain) or in Rome. His predecessor Trajan, also Hispanic himself, was a maternal cousin of Hadrian's father. Trajan never officially designated an heir, but according to his wife Pompeia Plotina, Trajan named Hadrian emperor immediately before his death. Trajan's wife and his friend Licinius Sura were well-disposed towards Hadrian, and he may well have owed his succession to them.
During his reign, Hadrian traveled to nearly every province of the Empire. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He used his relationship with his Greek favorite Antinous to underline his philhellenism and led to the creation of one of the most popular cults of ancient times. He spent extensive amounts of his time with the military; he usually wore military attire and even dined and slept amongst the soldiers. He ordered military training and drilling to be more rigorous and even made use of false reports of attack to keep the army alert.
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that began growing on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world.
In its approximately twelve centuries of existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an aristocratic republic to an increasingly autocratic empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it came to dominate Southern Europe, Western Europe, Asia Minor, North Africa, parts of Northern Europe, and parts of Eastern Europe. Rome was preponderant throughout the Mediterranean region and was one of the most powerful entities of the ancient world. It is often grouped into "Classical Antiquity" together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world.
The Romans are still remembered today, including names such as Julius Caesar, Cicero, Augustus, etc. Ancient Roman society contributed greatly to government, law, politics, engineering, art, literature, architecture, technology, warfare, religion, language, society and more in the Western world. A civilization highly developed for its time, Rome professionalized and greatly expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as large monuments, palaces, and public facilities.