Hadrian’s Wall & Poem

Emperor Hadrian
                         Emperor Hadrian
Hadrian's Wall
      Hadrian’s Wall in England is now a popular walking path

Emperor Hadrian ruled Rome from 117-138 AD. He is best known for building Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britain to keep the barbarian tribes of the Scots from coming into England and threatening Rome’s rule. The wall was 8’ to 10’ wide and 15 feet high. It took 14 years for the Roman legions to complete it. Hadrian came to England in 122 to inspect the progress of his defensive wall. He was pleased and should have been because his 80-84 mile wall is still there and has become a popular walking path.

Hadrian's Wall

Publius Annius Florus
                      Publius Annius Florus

Hadrian was a wall-builder but he was, also, a devotee of the new-versus-the-old way of writing poems. Under his rule, poets began to write light verse, poems with new meters and rhyme schemes that resulted in funny/sardonic poems. Hadrian was a friend and fan of Florus, the Roman historian and poet. Florus was a good enough friend that he could write to Hadrian:

“I don’t want to be Caesar, please,
to tramp round the Britons, weak at the knees,
[one line lost]
in the Scythian frosts to freeze.

And Hadrian had a good enough sense of humor that he could reply to Florus:

“I don’t want to be Florus, please,
to tramp round pubs, into bars to squeeze,
to lurk about eating pies and peas,
to get myself infested with fleas.

Article By Sandra Sweeny Silver


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