Deconstructing Hadrian the Philhellene

This fascinating video from the British Museum deconstructs an iconic image of the emperor Hadrian as a philhellene philosopher-emperor, clad in the greek himation. The statue was purchased by the British Museum in the 19th century and comes from the Temple of Apollo at Cyrene in modern Libya. However, recent work has very clearly shown that the head and the body of the statue do not belong together. I suppose this is another Hadrian myth ‘busted’….

The statue is featured in the current exhibition “Hadrian: Empire and Conflict” that I look forward to seeing. Do also check out Mary Beard’s thoughts on the modern construction of Hadrian in The Guardian.

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