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Bronze head from a statue emperor Hadrian
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Imperial culture played an important role in Roman provincial administration. Statues and busts of emperors were placed in official and public places across the empire, symbolizing the power of the Roman state, as with the head of Augustus earlier in this chapter. This head comes from a statue of the emperor Hadrian (reigned AD 117-38) which probably stood in Roman London in a public space such as a forum. The complete statue would have been one-and-a-quarter life size.

The statue may have been put up to commemorate Hadrian's visit to Britain in AD 122, during which time he started the building of the famous wall from the Solway Firth to the River Tyne. Hadrian spent much of his reign travelling throughout the empire, and his imperial visits generally gave rise to building and refurbishment programmes. There are many known marble statues of him, but this bronze example is a rare survival.

Bronze head from a statue emperor Hadrian

Found in the River Thames near London Bridge 2nd century AD
Ht 43 cm.

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