Breakdown and Rebuild Athens: Hadrian???s Architectural Renovations of Hadrian???s Library, Hadrian???s Arch, and the Temple of Olympeion Zeus

by Mary Neville

Institution: Brandeis University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Classics; Archaeology; Digital Reconstruction; Roman Architecture; Emperor Hadrian; Roman Greece; Athens Greece
Record ID: 2058145
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10192/30600


Throughout both the Hellenistic and Imperial periods, Rome was subject to continuous influence from Greece and held Athens in high regard. Athens was a prominent place to be seen, copied, and admired because of its grand monuments of democracy, temples, civic structures, and other dedications to its glorious past. Because of its rich history, Athens held a unique position in Greek history and culture. On the other hand, Athens itself was only influenced by Roman architecture and culture sporadically and once laid claimed to by Rome became pauperized. Between the death of Augustus and the ascension of Hadrian, there are little benefactions to the city of Athens. Once emperor, Hadrian established Athens as the center of the Greco-Roman world through abundant and detailed building projects. Hadrian aimed to bring Athens to a new and lasting age of splendor and pride. The main works of Hadrian???s building project that shaped the civic structure in Athens, and which will be the main focus of this thesis, include the Library of Hadrian, Hadrian???s Arch, and the Temple of Olympeion Zeus. Not only were these structures known for their magnificent architectural elements, but also affected the function of the city itself and helped to re-envision Athens as a city of distinction. Modern advances have allowed for more in-depth use of technology when analyzing archaeological sites. Archaeology is a destructive science but digital reconstruction, such as the models that will be presented in this thesis, could allow for a new method of historical preservation and education. I have completed a proper digital reconstruction and extensive architectural study of Hadrian???s building projects in Athens using Google SketchUp in order to allow for the conservation of the architecture. In this paper, I will not only continue the discussion of Hadrian???s building project in an intense architectural study, but also how these buildings propelled Hadrian as emperor, and my original digital reconstructions of the building will be presented.