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Hadrian's Gate

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Greece in Roman Times

Delphi liked to daydream about being the ruler of the city.  Not a councillor, or senior member of the Assembly or something like that, but a proper ruler.  Like one of the tyrants who had frequently taken power in Athens over its history.  It seemed like you could do anything then. She liked to think she wouldn’t go too mad with it – though a huge, gold statue was certainly tempting.  They’d have to build her something at least – something that said: 'Look, I was here.  They built a big thing for me.'

It wasn’t quite like living forever but it was a good start.

Hadrian's Gate: Fact box

  • This was built during Roman times, so a long time after Delphi’s time in Athens. This archway was built around 131 AD to celebrate the Emperor Hadrian arriving in the city.  Hadrian loved Athens, and built several structures around the city, including his library and the Olympieion temple to Zeus.  


  • This archway says everything you need to know about Hadrian.  Carved on the side, it has two inscriptions.  One side, which faces the Acropolis and the Agora, says: “This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus” (Theseus was a hero from Greek mythology).  But on the other side, he had carved: “This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus” – and so he made part of the city his own!


  • The Romans took many ideas from the Greeks.  They loved Greek culture and copied the style of its buildings and art for their own cities.  They even took on Greek religion, renaming the gods to have Latin names like Jupiter, Mars and Mercury (and that’s where the names of the planets come from!).  Greek philosophy was also popular in Roman times, and it was the Roman influence that brought Greek ideas and culture to countries like Britain.

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