Troops withdrawn from Iraq … by Roman emperor Hadrian


Bust of Hadrian, Musei Capitolini, Rome

From British daily The Independent:

Hadrian the gay emperor

His attempt to fortify the Roman Empire is well known. But an exhibition focuses on another side of the man

By Arifa Akbar

Published: 11 January 2008

The bust is classically Roman, the face imperious. But this is no ordinary emperor. As a major new exhibition at the British Museum makes clear, Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus was not only a peacemaker who pulled his soldiers out of modern-day Iraq. He was also the first leader of Rome to make it clear that he was gay.

Hadrian: Empire and Conflict will see the bust make pilgrimages to both ends of Hadrian’s Wall, the first time it has left the British Museum since being found in the Thames 200 years ago. But it is the singular life-story of the gay emperor that is likely to capture the interest of most visitors. …

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said: “The exhibition will provide an opportunity to assess the important legacy of the emperor Hadrian, a classical figure whose reign has telling relevance to our lives today.”

Mr Opper said there were similarities between second-century Mesopotamia and present-day Iraq, with the Roman occupiers finding themselves in a hotbed of violence and resistance.

“We must not mistake [Hadrian's] motives for pulling his troops out of Mesopotamia,” Mr Opper said. “He didn’t really have a choice. It had just been conquered by his predecessor and there was a lot of guerrilla warfare, which is eerily just like modern times. What he did was give the empire breathing space and while he was a very experienced military leader, we also get the impression he was very cultured and he fostered Greek identity and made them partners in leadership.”

Wall in ancient Iran, bigger than Hadrian’s: here.

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3 thoughts on “Troops withdrawn from Iraq … by Roman emperor Hadrian

  1. Pingback: Iraq war infant birth defects | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Experts search for lost Roman fort

    Tuesday 25 June 2013

    Scotland: Archaeologists were hunting yesterday for the remains of a lost fort that could shed light on ancient Rome’s forays into Scotland.

    Many people wrongly believe the Romans never ventured further north than the Antonine Wall or even Hadrian’s Wall, according to the University of Liverpool’s Roman Gask Project. But evidence shows they marched as far north as Elgin.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/134635

  3. Pingback: Emperor Hadrian withdrew troops from Iraq | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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