phonotadousmo.mlpe: application/pdf English Vagula Blandula Memoirs Of Hadrian. MEMOIRS The Ludwig von Mises Institute dedicates this volume to all of its generous donors and wishes to thank these P. Memoirs of Hadrian: and reflections on the composition of memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar; 1 edition; First published in ;.

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Virginia Woolf, Les Vagues, Henry James, Ce Que Maisie Savait, Memoirs of HADRIAN AND REFLECTIONS ON THE COMPOSITION OF MEMOIRS. Accessed: 13/04/ Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at. We have spent the last few weeks reading the remarkable novel, Memoirs of Hadrian. I found this an extraordinary book, ingenious, intellectual.

Still more imp ortant. I made infinite divisions of each thought and each fact under view. News of the assassination of Domitian. I embarked at Pola. Whenever an objec t repelled me. Roman patriotism assumed brutal forms to which I was not yet accustomed.

Whatever I had I chose to have. Thus the most dreary tasks were accomplis hed with ease as long as I was willing to give myself to them. Army life has its compromises too. Departure th is time meant travel. I strove to welcome this hazard. Those Danubian legio ns functioned with the precision of newly greased military machines.

By this method resolutions difficult to take were broken down into a veritable powder of minute decisions. My return to the army saved me. We made use of furs to protect ours elves from the cold. Each broken reed was a flute of crystal. I was drawn the more to this aim by my love of things foreign. Our rivers are short. The evening of my arrival in camp the Danube was one immense roa dway of ice. I would turn my back on the southern horizon. This great country lying between the mouths of the Danube and the Borysthenes.

At night the camp fires lit up the extraordinary leaping of the slender-waisted dancers.

The frozen coating gave transparency to the most ordinary things. I liked to deal with the barbarians. Our Greek and Latin la nds. Many a time in spring. I was convinced that a lesser expenditure.

I envy those who will succeed in circling the two h undred and fifty thousand Greek stadia so ably calculated by Eratosthenes. There it sets in for a long period of months. There were days when the snow effaced the few differences in level on the steppe s. We know but little as yet of the configuration of the earth. All the same. The cold of Spain's high plateaus is second to none.

I am speaking not so much of Ceres as of a more ancient divinity. At times there I worshipped the goddess Earth in the way that we here w orship the goddess Rome. These animals were. My wonder never ceased in presence of the rivers: One fought to conserve body heat as elsewhere one fights to keep one's courage.

Frontier incidents cost us few losses. This exotic gem was to m e like a stone fallen from the heavens. I doubt if even the wars which followed hav e improved matters there to any extent. In fancy I took the. The plain ended only where the sky began. Let us admit that t his perpetual vigilance was useful in any case for whetting the military spirit.

The presence of that enemy. What climates. At Odessos a t rader returning from a voyage of several years' time made me a present of a gree n stone. I decided to devote myself especially to this latter t ask. Servianus ought to have realized that a resolute man is not so easily turned from his course.

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Not knowing where my principles lay. This kind of adventure met with success. He had but little confidence in me. Two hours later I was attacked at the ford of a river. A soldierly emperor.

I was tempted to push on ahead of the imperial pos t. He had taken my youthful follies with an indignatio n which was not wholly unjustified. Nevertheless I did have that outlandish dream. We managed. While the army was rejoicing he accepted his new responsibilities as a p art of the day's ordinary work. I was the better received for it by the army. I set of f at a gallop and continued without stop.

I rea ched Cologne that very night. A handsom. An incident of our personal lives soon threatened to be my undoing. Around that idea everything else was organize d.

I played with the idea. He fulfille d his family obligations with provincial seriousness. I should quickly have rebuilt for myself everything that I had renounced. He altered nothing in his way of living. We were cousins. To be alone. Trajan had taken the news of his accession with admirable composure. He remained what he always had been. This tortuous man. I had. Needless to say it was only a drea m.

Though his learning was limited.

Memoirs of Hadrian

I had to cover so me three miles on foot before coming upon a peasant who sold me his horse. My reputation as an officer reassured him. Perhaps at that t ime. The feeble head of Servianus was full of imperial vapors.

Trajan was in command of the troops in Lower Germany. This liberty that I was inventing ceased to ex ist upon closer view.

We supped together. I was three days' march from Cologne. A kind of umbilical cord attached me to the City. I felt still more closely bound to the empire than l ater as emperor. Other things in me disturbed him.

He had l ong expected it. The emperor retained me there with him as tribune in the Second Legion Fidelis.

Dacian Wars Rome. I remember that the weight of the bull in its death throes nearly brought down the latticed floor beneath which I lay to receive the bloody aspersion. Alth ough barely aware of what was growing within me.

Each of us believed that he was escaping from the na rrow limits of his human state. My initiation took place in a turret constructed of wood and reed s on the banks of the Danube. The long er the campaign [Hadrian 52a. Viewed as a whole. I shared more of their life. At first I held only secondary posts. The first expedition against the Dacians got under way the following year.

The cult of Mithra. They were hard at the start. Nothing could have been more in contradiction to the views which I was begin ning to hold about war. Many years later he was found guilty of embezzlement of the public fu nds.

I was perhaps the only one of the young officers who did not regret Rome. His irritation knew no bounds. I knew my troops the better for my position. The adventure was dangerous. There were also advantages special to me: There I lived through an entire epoch of extraordinary exaltation.

Ny Carlsberg Museum years extended into the mud and the snow the more they brought forth my resource s. Reliefs on Trajan s Column [Hadrian 52d. I still retained a certain liberty of action. Acilius Attianus among others. Some friends. I began to feel objections to the emperor's policy. By preference and by political conviction I have always been opposed to a policy b ased on war. Placed more or less to o ne side.

I admit to having harbored for this Gallus a hatred beyon d compare. He ended by yielding to their entreaties. In rece nt years I have reflected upon the dangers which this sort of near-secret societ y might entail for the State under a weak ruler. But I knew the country. I became passionately attached to a youth whom the empe ror also fancied.

A certa in secretary Gallus. Capitoline Museum [Hadrian 52bc. I cut short superfluous li nes. I was beginning to know the names of my actors. I smile with some bitterness at the realization that now out of any two thoughts I devote one to my own death.

When confronted with the danger itself. Had my body been abandoned on the battlefield. And gradually. Different persons ruled in me in turn. Thus have I played host successively to the meticulous officer. These Dacian footsoldiers whom I crushed under my horse's hoofs. The semblance of such c ourage which I later employed was. I learned not t o indulge too much in monologue. A being afire with life cannot foresee death. But most of my so-called acts of prowess were little more th an idle bravado.

For this feat of ar ms. Such fantastic dreams. But let us not forget. If death does take him. I see now with some shame that. Victory and def eat were inextricably mixed like rays of the same sun. At the age which I then was this drunken courage persisted w ithout cessation. I am confessing to you here some extraordinary thoughts.


But that period of h eroic foolhardiness taught me to distinguish between the different aspects of co urage. And we should include also that vacant f igure. But such simplified perspectives are false. The shock of the final sword thrust would ha ve been the same.

They helped me in those days to endure life. But little by little a newcomer was taking hold. I do not flatter myself that I have ever attained it. The kind of courage which I should like always to possess would be cool a nd detached.

At that time. It was thus that one autu mn day when the Danube was swollen by floods I crossed the river on horseback. A certain number of deeds of daring. It would be easy to construe what I have just told as the story of a too scho larly soldier who wishes to be forgiven his love for books.

On my side. That night I fell asleep content.

We talk much of the dreams of youth. I knew what services would count most. I had mislaid my mantle of heavy Gallic wool. Slowly I accustomed myself to plainness for its own sake. In truth I was learning to be one. I had lost most of my ignoble fear of displeasing. I had co ntinually to wipe the rain from my eyes as I pronounced my discourse. Afte r we had surrounded and taken the citadel of Sarmizegethusa I followed the emper or into that subterranean hall where the counselors of King Decebalus had just e nded their last banquet by swallowing poison.

My military successes might have earned me enmity from a lesser man than Traj an. I felt myself an emperor. I took exactly the same del ight as that afforded by the rhetorical exercises of my youth. I succeeded all the better for having had practice in that kind of accommodation: Trajan had given me two million sesterces to distrib ute in public bounty. One day of appallingly bad weather. He came to see in me a kind of second-in-command.

The emperor's think ing was simple but inarticulate. This was the first of the good offices of Plotina. I have always liked to see a great specialist at work. In m y attire I adopted a simplicity which I carried to greater extremes after becomi ng emperor. My newly won popularity diffused over my second stay in Rome something of the feeling of euphoria which I was to know again. The laconic styl e of the emperor. Placed at the head of the First Legion Minervia. Pro tected only by my toga. In working thus for Trajan.

But courage was the only language which he grasped at once. I broke gaily enough in to the role of ambitious politician. I was assigne d to wipe out the last enemy entrenchments in the region of the Iron Gates. I enj oyed aping the military style of the commander-in-chief. That this simplicity w as itself still an attitude is of little importance.

Trajan gave me the order to set fi re to that weird heap of dead men. To speak further of attire. A scar on my chi n provided a pretext for wearing the short beard of the Greek philosophers. I was not t he only one to indulge in such calculations throughout that period of Roman fest ivities. Too often we forget its scheming. I was wil ling to carry out with utmost conscientiousness the tiresome duty of recorder of senatorial proceedings.

Catching c old is an emperor's privilege in Rome. The same evening. On other days, when Trajan kept to his room, I was entrusted with the actual delivery of these discourses, which he no longer even read, and my enunc iation, by this time above reproach, did honor to the lessons of the tragic acto r Olympus. Such personal services brought me into intimacy with the emperor, and even in to his confidence, but the ancient antipathy went on. But perhaps that enthusiasm had mounted so high on the battlefield at Sarmizege thusa only because it had come to the surface through so many superposed layers of mistrust.

I think still that there was something more there than ineradicable animosity arising from quarrels painfully patched up, from differences of tempe rament, or merely from habits of mind in a man already growing old.

By instinct the emperor detested all indispensable subordinates. He would have understood be tter on my part a mixture of irregularity and devotion to duty; I seemed to him almost suspect by reason of being technically irreproachable. That fact was appa rent when the empress thought to advance my career in arranging for me a marriag e with his grandniece.

Trajan opposed himself obstinately to the project, adduci ng my lack of domestic virtues, the extreme youth of the girl, and even the old story of my debts. The empress persisted with like stubbornness; I warmed to the game myself; Sabina, at that age, was not wholly without charm.

This marriage, though tempered by almost continuous absence, became for me subsequently a sourc e of such irritation and annoyance that it is hard now to recall it as a triumph at the time for an ambitious young man of twenty-eight. I was more than ever a member of the family, and was more or less forced to l ive within it.

But everything in that circle displeased me, except for the hands ome face of Plotina. Innumerable Spanish cousins were always present at the impe rial table, just as later on I was to find them at my wife's dinners during my r are visits to Rome; nor would I even say that later I found them grown older, fo r from the beginning all those people seemed like centenarians.

From them emanat ed a kind of stale propriety and ponderous wisdom. The emperor had passed almost his whole life with the armies; he knew Rome infinitely less well than did I. W ith great good will he endeavored to surround himself with the best that the Cit y had to offer, or with what had been presented to him as such.

The official set was made up of men wholly admirable for their decency and respectability, but l earning did not rest easily upon them, and their philosophy lacked the vigor to go below the surface of things. I have never greatly relished the pompous affabi lity of Pliny; and the sublime rigidity of Tacitus seemed to me to enclose a Rep ublican reactionary's view of the world, unchanged since the death of Caesar. Th e unofficial circle was obnoxiously vulgar, a deterrent which kept me for the mo ment from running new risks in that quarter.

I nevertheless constrained myself t o the utmost politeness toward all these folk, diverse as they were. I was defer ent toward some, compliant to others, dissipated when necessary, clever but not too clever. I had need of my versatility; I was many-sided by intention, and mad e it a game to be incalculable. I walked a tightrope, and could have used lesson s not only from an actor, but from an acrobat.

I was reproached at this period for adultery with several of our patrician wo men. Two or three of these much criticized liaisons endured more or less up to t he beginning of my principate.

Although Rome is rather indulgent toward debauche ry, it has never favored the loves of its rulers. Mark Antony and Titus had a ta ste of this. My adventures were more modest than theirs, but I fail to see how, according to our customs, a man who could never stomach courtesans and who was a lready bored to death with marriage might otherwise have come to know the varied world of women.

My elderly brother-in-law, the impossible Servianus, whose thir ty years' seniority allowed him to stand over me both as schoolmaster and spy, l ed my enemies in giving out that curiosity and ambition played a greater part in these affairs than love itself; that intimacy with the wives introduced me grad ually into the political secrets of the husbands, and that the confidences of my mistresses were as valuable to me as the police reports with which I regaled my.

It is true that each attachment of any duration did procure for me, almost inevitably, the friendship of the fat or feeble husband, a pompo us or timid fellow, and usually blind, but I seldom gained pleasure from such a connection, and profited even less.

I must admit that certain indiscreet stories whispered in my ear by my mistresses served to awaken in me some sympathy for t hese much mocked and little understood spouses.

Such liaisons, agreeable enough when the women were expert in love, became truly moving when these women were be autiful.

It was a study of the arts for me; I came to know statues, and to appre ciate at close range a Cnidian Venus or a Leda trembling under the weight of the swan. It was the world of Tibullus and Propertius: I knew almost nothing of these women; the part of their lives which they conc eded to me was narrowly confined between two half-opened doors; their love, of w hich they never ceased talking, seemed to me sometimes as light as one of their garlands; it was like a fashionable jewel, or a fragile and costly fillet, and I suspected them of putting on their passion with their necklaces and their rouge.

My own life was not less mysterious to them; they hardly desired to know it, p referring to dream vaguely, and mistakenly, about it; I came to understand that the spirit of the game demanded these perpetual disguises, these exaggerated avo wals and complaints, this pleasure sometimes simulated and sometimes concealed, these meetings contrived like the figures of a dance.

Even in our quarrels they expected a conventional response from me, and the weeping beauty would wring her hands as if on the stage. I have often thought that men who care passionately for women attach themselv es at least as much to the temple and to the accessories of the cult as to their goddess herself: These tender idols differed in every respect from the tall females of the barbarians, or from our grave and heavy peasant women; they were born from the golden volutes of great cities, from the vats of the dyers or the baths' damp vapor, like Venus from the foam of Greek seas.

They seemed hard ly separable from the feverish sweetness of certain evenings in Antioch, from th e excited stir of mornings in Rome, from the famous names which they bore, or fr om that luxury amid which their last secret was to show themselves nude, but nev er without ornament. I should have desired more: A man who reads, reflects, or plans belongs to his species rather than to his sex; in his best moments he rises even above the human.

But my fair loves seemed to glory in thinking only as women: There must have been more to it than that: The children, and the perpetual preoccupation with clothing or money matters, must again have taken first place once I was gone, though thei r importance was never mentioned in my presence; even the scorned husband would become essential, and perhaps an object for love. I compared my mistresses with the unsmiling faces of the women of my family, those whose concerns were chiefly domestic, interminably at work on the household accounts, and those who, steepe d in family pride, were forever directing the care and repainting of the ancestr al busts; I wondered if these frigid matrons would also be embracing a lover in some garden recess, and if my pliant beauties were not waiting merely for my dep arture to plunge again into some interrupted quarrel with a housekeeper.

I tried as best I could to fit together these two aspects of the world of women. Last year, shortly after the conspiracy in which Servianus came to his end, o ne of my mistresses of yore chose to travel all the way to the Villa in order to. I took no action upon the denunciation, which could have been inspired as much by a mother-in-law's hatred as by a desir e of being useful to me.

But the conversation interested me: Here again was the narrow domain o f women, their hard practical sense and their horizon turned grey the moment tha t love has ceased to illumine it. A certain acerbity and a kind of harsh loyalty brought to mind my vexatious Sabina.

My visitor's features seemed flattened out , melted, as it were, as if the hand of time had passed brutally back and forth over a mask of softened wax; what I had consented, for a moment, to take for bea uty had never been more than the first bloom of youth. But artifice reigned ther e still: Voluptuous memories, if e ver there had been any, were completely effaced for me; this was no more than a pleasant exchange with a creature marked like me by sickness or age; I felt the same slightly irritated sympathy that I would have had for an elderly cousin fro m Spain, or a distant relative coming from Narbonne.

I am trying for a moment to recapture mere curls of smoke, the iridescent bub bles of some childish game. But it is easy to forget. So many things have ha ppened since the days of those ephemeral loves that doubtless I no longer recogn ize their flavor; above all I am pleased to deny that they ever made me suffer.

And yet among those mistresses there was one, at least, who was a delight to lov e. She was both more delicate and more firm than the others, gentler but harder, too; her slender body was rounded like a reed.

I have always warmed to the beau ty of human hair, that silken and undulating part of a body, but the headdresses of most of our women are towers, labyrinths, ships, or nests of adders. Hers wa s simply what I liked them to be: Lying beside me and resting her small proud head against mine, she u sed to speak with admirable candor of her loves. I liked her intensity and her d etachment in loving, her exacting taste in pleasure, and her consuming passion f or harrowing her very soul.

I have known her to take dozens of lovers, more than she could keep count of; I was only a passer-by who made no demands of fidelity. She fell in love with a dancer named Bathyllus, so handsome that all follies for his sake were justified in advance. She sobbed out his name in my arms, and my approbation gave her courage.

At other times we laughed a great deal together. She died young, on a fever-ridden island to which her family had exiled her af ter a scandalous divorce. She had feared old age, so I could only rejoice for he r, but that is a feeling we never have for those whom we have truly loved. Her n eed for money was fantastic. One day she asked me to lend her a hundred thousand sesterces.

I brought them to her the next morning. She sat down on the floor li ke some small, trim figure playing at knucklebones, emptied the sack on the marb le paving, and began to divide the gleaming pile into heaps. I knew that for her , as for all us prodigals, those pieces of gold were not true-ringing specie mar ked with the head of a Caesar, but a magic substance, a personal currency stampe d with the effigy of a chimera and the likeness of the dancer Bathyllus.

I had c eased to exist for her; she was alone. Almost plain for the moment, and puckerin g her brow with delightful indifference to her own beauty, like a pouting school boy she counted and recounted upon her fingers those difficult additions.

To my eyes she was never more charming. The news of the Sarmatian incursions reached Rome during the celebration of T rajan's Dacian triumph. These long-delayed festivities lasted eight days. It had taken nearly a year to bring from Africa and from Asia wild animals destined fo r slaughter in the arena; the massacre of twelve thousand such beasts and the sy stematic destruction of ten thousand gladiators turned Rome into an evil resort of death.

On that particular evening I was on the roof of Attianus' house, with Marcius Turbo and our host. The illuminated city was hideous with riotous rejoic ing: It was not the time to announce publicly that these much vaunted victor ies were not final, and that a new enemy was at our frontiers. The emperor, alre. Our enemies burned their prisoners alive. It was essential to repair the defensive works which inflated pride over our recent victories had left singula rly neglected.

I do not believe that we can a void these disasters. Another danger began to threaten: Some admirable spirits gathered round me. Civil administrators. I had the worst executed.

Certain tribune s gave proof of foolish overconfidence in the face of danger: A humid summer gave way to a misty autumn. On that score. Pillage by our soldiery presented a less important problem. I again went through what we had already seen. Tha t life on the frontiers brought me little by little down to the level of the Sar matian tribesmen: I wa s sent out to it with the title of governor of Pannonia.

B ut the collapse of the kingdom of Decebalus had created a void in those regions upon which the Sarmatians swooped down. That first Sarmatian war was represented as a simple punitive expedition.

The winter took its toll of victims. My popularity was such that I could ri sk imposition of the most rigorous restrictions upon the troops. The war lasted eleven months.

I made current an austerity which I practiced myself. If that stat e of things continued. O ur recent successes had sapped our discipline: The rash and the ambitious. One of them dra gged himself on his bleeding limbs as far as the camp. The enemy tort ured their hostages. I was discovering myself to be inexorable. I had n eed of my knowledge of medicine. A Sarmatian fugitive whom I had made my interpreter risked his life.

I got rid of incompetent officials. The stakes of our palisades bristled with severed heads. I could see in the more or less immediate futur e the beginning of revolts and divisions to come. I still believe the annihila tion of the Dacians to have been almost justified.

I abandoned entirely whatever would have been too costly to maint ain. Order reigned for the moment. I was obliged to take it up again and finish it some months after my accession. Those who survived were as much a loss for this country as the others.

I returned to Rome covered with honors. Formerly the ups and downs of my fortunes worried me chiefly because of my fri ends' solicitude. I was not so sanguine as to t hink that it would always lie within our power to avoid all wars.

The war had not ended. Our scattered attackers disappeared as they had come. I resented the fact that in their affection they f elt more concern for me than I did for myself. A few bold strokes. My person began to count less precisely because my point of view was beginning to matter.

I confirmed my belief in the justice of the protestations of business men whom I knew in Rome. That day my disgust for waste and futility extended to the barbarian losses themselves. He had reached that moment in life. What was important was that someone should be in opposition to the policy of conquest. The ranking personnel of the legions and the entire Praetorian Guard are formed exclusively of native Italian stock.

This man. A jou rney in Spain undertaken somewhat later on in order to inspect the operation of copper mines on my family estates. Trajan, in old age, begins an unsuccessful military campaign in Parthia after his successes over Dacia and Sarmatia. After a major defeat, Trajan hastily names Hadrian as his successor in a will shortly before his death. Following the death of Trajan, he hesitantly has his rivals executed and makes peace with Parthia.

Hadrian's administration is a time of peace and happiness which he regards as his "Age of Gold. He also feels genuinely loved by Antinous compared to the fleeting passions of his youth and the loveless relationship with his wife Sabina.

While visiting Egypt , he despairs over the sudden and mysterious death of Antinous who drowns in the Nile. He ultimately believes that Antinous sacrificed himself in order to alter the outcome of troubling portents that both had witnessed earlier.

In his grief, he devises the cult of Antinous and makes future plans to dedicate a new city to him in an effort to eternalize his memory. Hadrian begins reflecting upon his advancing age and his change in temperament, recalling one incident where he accidentally blinds his secretary out of rage. Further troubling him is the outbreak of rebellion in Judea , which forces him to travel and take command of the troops. During an important siege, he despairs over the unraveling of his plans for peace, his ailing heart condition, and later over the rampant destruction in Judea.

He states, "Natura deficit, fortuna mutatur, deus omnia cernit. Further troubling him is the outbreak of rebellion in Judea , which forces him to travel and take command of the troops.

During an important siege, he despairs over the unraveling of his plans for peace, his ailing heart condition, and later over the rampant destruction in Judea.

He states, "Natura deficit, fortuna mutatur, deus omnia cernit. Nature fails us, fortune changes, a god beholds all things from on high…" [4]. During his final years in Rome and at his villa in Tibur , he ponders his succession and his thoughts turn to a memory of Marcus Aurelius as a virtuous and kind-hearted boy.

Hadrian, now in advanced age and very poor health, begins to fear death and contemplates suicide through various means. He finally accepts his fate with resignation, or patientia, while reflecting on his newfound divine status throughout the Empire. Near death, he contemplates what the future may hold for the world, Rome, and for his soul. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Memoirs of Hadrian. English Edition. Authority control BNF: Retrieved from " https: Hidden categories: Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 3 October , at Very interesting, revealing and beautiful.

Louvre Little by little this letter, begun in order to tell you of the progress of my illness, has become the diversion of a man who no longer has the energy required for continued application to affairs of state; it has become, in fact, the written meditation of a sick man who holds audience with his memories. Back to top. I have supposed, and in my better moments think so still, that it would be possible in this manner to participate in the existence of everyone; such sympathy would be one of the least revocable kinds of immortality.

The story is compelling -- how does it feel to be ruler of the world, and then to lose that which you hold most dear -- and the characters are fully developed. For me, the meaning of all these words is most exquisitely expressed in a Latin phrase: Lacrimae rerum.

Barnes, T. Cels us.