Historia Augusta: Hadrian, XVI: Hurt Feelings and a Great Retirement Plan

“Although he was quick to rebuke musicians, tragedians, comedians, grammarians, rhetoricians, and orators, he still honored all the professors and made them rich—and he continued to annoy them with questions. And, while he was to blame for the fact that many left him in sorrow, he used to say that he could scarcely bear watching someone get their feelings hurt. He was especially close to the philosophers Epictetus and Heliodorus and all sorts of grammarians, rhetoricians, musicians, geometricians, painters, and astrologers, though I would not name them all—and many claim that Favorinus stood out from the rest. The teachers who seemed unfit for their own profession, Hadrian dismissed from their work with money and honors.”

8 Sed quamvis esset in reprehendendis musicis, tragicis, comicis, grammaticis, rhetoribus, oratoribus facilis, tamen omnes professores et honoravit et divites fecit, licet eos quaestionibus semper agitaverit. 9 Et cum ipse auctor esset, ut multi ab eo tristes recederent, dicebat se graviter ferre, si quem tristem videret. 10 In summa familiaritate Epictetum et Heliodorum philosophos et, ne nominatim de omnibus dicam, grammaticos, rhetores, musicos, geometras, pictores, astrologos habuit, prae ceteris, ut multi adserunt, eminente Favorino. 11 Doctores, qui professioni suae inhabiles videbantur, dilatos honoratosque a professione dimisit.

The Historia Augusta are a collection of biographies of Roman Emperors starting with Hadrian (117-138 CE)

One thought on “Historia Augusta: Hadrian, XVI: Hurt Feelings and a Great Retirement Plan

  1. Hadrian took a lot of flack for being a poetaster and pseudo-scholar, but one must admit that it would be nice if any of our leaders even made a pretense of having intellectual interests. I think that Gibbon made something like this point in comparing Nero favorably to Commodus.

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