Roman Empire, Publius Aelius Hadrianus, Sesterce

Hadrian (117-138) was one of Rome's great emperors. He conducted important reform programs and personified the ideal of the 'optimus princeps', the ideal prince. This sesterce shows a very fine portrait of him.

Hadrian was the first emperor to be depicted with a full beard. With this he set a trend that was to remain in fashion until the 3rd century. The reason might have been Hadrian's taste for everything Greek, as his portrait complied with the idealized style of classical Greek art.