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The Temple of Hadrian

Hadrian’s Temple was built around the year 130, in honor of the emperor. Corinthian style, consisted of a cella and a porch (pronaos). The front porch had a fronton supported by two pillars and two columns, including a bow in the center. The columns and archs are significant today, but the fronton had not stood the test of time.

The keystone of the arch has a relief of Tyche, the goddess of fortune and in the lunette above the entrance to the cella, there is another relief of a topless girl, probably Medusa, in acanthus leaves.

During a restoration in the fourth century, several friezes and frescoes were added from different places and monuments of Ephesus, usually scenes related to the legendary foundation of the city. From left to right: Androcles, the mythological founder of the city, killing a boar, Hercules rescuing Theseus, a mythological hero or the first king of Athens, who was chained to a bench as a punishment by Hades for attempting to kidnap Persephone from the underworld, the Amazons, Dionysus and his retinue, Emperor Theodosius I, an enemy of paganism, and an assembly of gods that included Athena and Artemis.

In honor of this Roman emperor you can also visit in Ephesus the Hadrian’s Gate, located at the junction of the Curetes Street and the Marble Road. The facade has three floors. On the first floor there are three entries. The one in the middle is wider and extends through an arc and the two side entrances are covered by architraves. The second floor consisted of four pillars and the third by six pillars. A gable highlights the top of the building.

The Emperor Hadrian was one of the Five Good Emperors. The Five Good Emperors is a term that refers to five consecutive emperors of the Roman Empire: Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. The term was first coined by the political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli in 1532.

Publio Elio Adriano (Hadrian) was born on January 24th, year 76 A.D., probably in Rome and was a cousin of the Emperor Trajan. Adriano was educated in the manner of the young aristocrats of the time and it is known that he was a fan of Greek literature.

Hadrian died in the year 138, at age 62. He was buried first in Pozzuoli, near Berry, on a farm that had belonged to Cicero. Soon after, his remains were transferred to Rome and buried in the Gardens of Domitia, close to the mausoleum. After completion of the Tomb of Hadrian in Rome in 139 by his successor Antoninus Pius, his body was cremated and his ashes were placed there together with those of his wife Vibia Sabina and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in the year 138.


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