Arch of Hadrian – Gateway of Athens
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You don’t need to go far in Athens to find evidence of its historic past – there seems to evidence of this everywhere you go. In fact, one of the charms of the city is that while the past is always keenly felt, it’s also a modern metropolis. Since there are so many ancient places to visit, it’s often easy to gloss right over some things. The Arch of Hadrian, or Hadrian’s Gate, is one of these places. Located right by a major road, people pass by it each day without giving it a passing thought. However, since it is a part of the city’s history, it’s worth it to stop and take note of it during your visit. Here’s more information about the Arch of Hadrian:
Why the Arch of Hadrian Was Built
When gazing at the gate, it’s easy to see that it looks different than some of the other older places scattered throughout the city. Well, the arch was built after some of the other sites in the city, such as the Parthenon, which dates all the way back to Ancient Greece. Compared to that, the Arch of Hadrian is relatively new. The year that it was founded is somewhat under debate – some say that it was founded in 131 AD, others that it was 132 AD. However, the year that it was built isn’t as important as the reason.
The arch was built in order to welcome Hadrian, the Roman Emperor at the time, to Greece. During this time period, Greece was under Roman rule and when the emperor would arrive, his coming was considered a celebration. They even had a specific name for this type of arrival – it was called an adventus in Latin. Although we know about when it was built, we also aren’t sure as to who, exactly, commissioned it.
Architectural Style of the Arch of Hadrian
One of the notable things about this arch is the style in which it was built. Since the point of it was to welcome the Roman Emperor to the city, it makes sense that the style of the archway is also Roman. In fact, there are gate like this that are located throughout the world. There were actually two inscriptions on the gate facing in opposite directions. On one side, the name, Theseus is etched in the stone and on the other, the name, Hadrian, is written. Theseus was a king who was mentioned in Greek mythology who is said to have founded the city and Hadrian is the name of the emperor.
When people visit Athens, it isn’t necessarily on their radar to go out of their way to see Hadrian’s Gate, or the Arch of Hadrian. However, it is one of those important landmarks that is worth seeking out. Granted, there isn’t that much to it, but it is a great idea to get a photograph of it so that you can commemorate as many of the important moments in Athenian history as you can.
This post was written by GreekBoston.com