Hadrian

76-138. Roman emperor from 117. At his accession as adopted heir to Trajan, Publius Aelius Hadrianus was already in his forties, a mature man with considerable humanistic concern for things Greek, for which he was to be known and ultimately judged. The decade of the 120s saw him tour almost all the empire. The Jewish Revolt of 132-35 was the sole severe strain within the state during his administration; one result was the distinguishing of Christianity from its roots. Hadrian's awareness of Christianity seems negligible, and he was certainly no persecutor; at most he maintained the policy enunciated by Trajan, while his reign saw the first Christian apologist Quadratus,* and the expansion of Gnosticism with Basilides. The story that he built temples without images for Christ is a fallacious product of later syncretistic concerns.