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By Michael Anderson

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Between the aristocracy of birth and wealth and the vast moneyless mob there was bitter hostility. War of class against class was bound to come. A few patriotic statesmen tried in vain to avert the dreadful climax. The Gracchi brothers, grandsons of the great 35 Ancient Rome Scipio Africanus who defeated Hannibal at Zama, came forward as champions of the people. They proposed laws to redistribute the public lands and to limit the powers of the corrupt and selfish Senate. Both men fell victims to their foes, Tiberius in 133 bc and Gaius 12 years later.

Two Centuries of Peace and Prosperity With the establishment of the Empire, the century of civil strife, which had also seen almost constant warfare abroad, was followed by two centuries of profound peace broken only by frontier warfare. At home literature and civilization flourished, and in the provinces responsible men held power. More and more the Mediterranean world 47 Ancient Rome Constantine the Great. The Bridgeman Art Library/Getty Images 48 The Roman Empire came to resemble one great nation.

Hadrian was probably educated in Rome. Through the emperor’s good will he was rapidly promoted in military and political posts. While on a military campaign with Trajan in the Middle East, the emperor adopted him—a sure sign Hadrian was destined to succeed him. Two days later, on August 11, 117, it was learned that Trajan had died. The army immediately proclaimed Hadrian emperor. Hadrian was a man of culture, sensitivity, and religious devotion. His artistic temperament manifested itself in his poetry, his architectural designs, his very style of life.

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