Documents illustrating the principate of Hadrian

117 AD

  • Aureus, Rome. ADVENTVS. RIC2 3
Obs. Bust of Hadrian, laureate. IMP. CAES. TRAIAN. HADRIANO OPT. AVG. GER. DAC.
Rev. Trajan and Hadrian clasping hands. PARTHIC. DIVI TRAIAN. AVG. F. P.M. TR. P. COS. P. P. ADOPTIO
© The Trustees of the British Museum
  • 25 August, Alexandria. Announcement of the Accession of Hadrian. POxy 55.3781
  • After 10 August, Heptakomia. Fragment of a dramatic performance in honour of Hadrian’s accession. P.Giss. 3 (Smallwood 519)

Having just mounted aloft with Trajan’s in my chariot of white horses, I come to you, oh people, I, Phoebus [Apollo] by no means an unknown god, to proclaim the new ruler Hadrian, who all things serve on account of his virtue and the genius of his divine father».  (translation of J.P. Alexander, 1938):

  • September-October, Apollonopolites Heptakomias. Leases of state-owned land. P.Giss. 7
  • 11 November, Pergamum. Letter of Hadrian to the association of Pergamene young men (Synod of neoi). SIG 3, 831 (Smallwood 61)

When I learned from your letter and from your ambassador Claudius Cyrus that you have expressed yourselves as sharing feelings of joy on our behalf, I thought it a proof of your being good men. Farewell. On the 3rd, before the ides of November, from Juliopolis.

  • 28 November, Apollonopolites Heptakomias. Letters from the strategos of Apollonopolis Heptakomias to the prefect of Egypt Rammius Martialis. P.Giss. 41 (Smallwood 58)
  • End of 117, Hierapolis. Letter of Hadrian to the magistrates, the Boulé and the Demos of Hierapolis. SEG 55- 1415
SEG 55- 1415. Hierapolis. Letter of Hadrian, 117 AD.

The Emperor Caesar Hadrian Augustus, son of the divine Trajan Parthicus, nephew of the divine Nerva, tribune of the plebs, hails the magistrates and the Council and the people of Hierapolis. The devotion that since the time of your forebears you have cultivated and now [confirm] through your decrees, already before […] and for having accomplished exceptional prayers and sacrifices because the paternal power has been transmitted to me. These things thus pleased me, but the crown of gold that you have sent me, I have sent it back to you, feeling satisfied by the honour. As far as concerns the rights of asylum that were given to your ancestral gods by the kings and emperors and the senate, that have been ratified even by the divine Trajan, I [confirm] them as well. They spoke (as ambassadors) Julius Myndios, Philo—-]. Hail. The day before the [— of the month of —, from —]. English translation (by Tullia Ritti in 2006 in her “An Epigraphic Guide to Hierapolis of Phrygia (Pamukkale)”

118 AD

  • 3 January, The Acts of the Arval Brethren. New Year’s vows for the good health and safety of the emperor. CIL VI 32374
January 3 118 AD
  • 10 January, Apollonopolites Heptakomias. Leases of state-owned land. P.Giss. 4
  • 26 February, The Acts of the Arval Brethren. Co-optation of a new member in accordance with the recommendations contained in a letter from Hadrian sealed with the signum impressed with the head of Augustus. CIL VI 32374
February 26 118 AD
  • 23 April, 188, in the temple of Sarapis at Mons Claudianus, Thebaid (Egypt). IGRR, 1, 1255 = SEG 15-863 (Smallwood 160)
  • 1st half of 118, Letter of Hadrian to the island of Astypalaea. IG XII,3 175 (Smallwood 449a)
Fragment (1 of 3) of an inscribed stone stele with a letter from Hadrian to the magistrates and Boule (Council) of the Knidians (IG XII,3 175). Archaeological Museum of Astypalaia.
Courtesy of the Directorate of the Management of the National Archive of Monuments.
  • 1st half of 118, Letter of Hadrian to the island of Astypalaea. IG XII,3 175 (Smallwood 449a)
IG XII,3 175
  • 1st half of 118, Letter of Hadrian to the island of Astypalaea. IG XII,3 176 (Smallwood 449b)
IG XII,3 176
  • 1st half of 118, Letter of Hadrian to Delphi. I FD III 4:301 (Smallwood)
FD III 4:301
  • 9 July, The Acts of the Arval Brethren. Sacrifices at the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in honour of the arrival of Hadrian in Rome. CIL VI 32374
Obs. Bust of Hadrian, laureate. IMP. CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG.
Rev. Roma in military dress, seated, clasping hands with Hadrian. PONT. MAX. TR. POT. COS. II S. C. ADVENTVS AVG.
  • Sestertius, Rome. LIBERALISTAS AVG. RIC2 552
Obs. Bust of Hadrian, laurate. IMP. CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG.
Rev. Hadrian seated on a platform, from which an attendant hands a gift to a citizen; Liberalitas standing behind. PONT. MAX. TR. POT. COS. II S. C. LIBERALISTAS AVG.
  •  Sarmizegetusa. Statue/monument to Hadrian with an inscription commemorating his second consulate. CIL 3, 1445 (Smallwood 111)

Imp(eratori) Cae[sari] / divi Tra[iani Par]/thici f(ilio) [d]iv[i] Ner/vae nepoti Trai/ano [H]adriano / Aug(usto) pontifici ma/ximo trib(unicia) potesta/te II co(n)s(uli) p(atri) p(atriae) colon(ia) / Ulpia Traiana Aug(usta) / Dacic(a) Sarmizege(tusa) [——

  •  Rome, Forum of Trajan. Fragmentary inscription, burning of tax records. CIL VI 967 = ILS 309 (Smallwood 64a)

Caesari Divi Traiani Parthici f(ilio) Divi Ncrime Nepoti] Traiano [Hadriano Augusta Pont(ifici)] Max(imo) Tr[ib{unieia) Pot{estate) II Co(n)s(uli) II] qui primus oinn[ium pnnapum et s[olus remitteud[o sestertium navies mil]es centena m[ilia n(ummum) debitum fiscis nan praesentes tantum eives sues sed et posterns eorum praestitit hae liberalitate securos

  •  Rome, Forum of Trajan. Fragment of relief depicting the burning of the tax debts tablets. Now in the collection of Chatsworth House (UK).
Relief depicting the cancelling of debts that might come from the same monument as the inscription CIL VI 967
© Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees.