Friday, December 26, 2008


The Library has a new book about Hadrian, the Roman Emperor. Lavishly illustrated with key works of art and objects, sculptures, bronzes, coins and medals, drawings, and watercolors from museums around the globe, Hadrian: Empire and Conflict
conveys a vivid sense of the world Hadrian inhabited. The author shows the emperor from many angles—as a complex individual, as a military leader and strategist, as the amateur architect who created magnificent buildings such as his villa at Tivoli (an empire in miniature), as the lover who deified his male lover Antinous after his mysterious death, and, finally, as the traveler who tirelessly roamed his empire and its boundaries.

A much older book, The Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, recounts Hadrian's boyhood, his triumphs and reversals, his deep love affair with Antinous, and his gradual reordering of a war-torn world in an imagined letter to his successor and adopted grandson, Marcus Aurelius. The book captures the inner thoughts and feelings of a wise old man nearing death and offering his wisdom to his young heir. The greatness of the book is due to Yourcenar's extensive research and brilliant writing, and its universal wisdom.
It's many readers favorite book.

See more historical fiction in the Library's Good Reads list.

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