This chapter discusses four close relationships Hadrian developed beyond his marriage: with Trajan’s niece (Sabina’s mother), Matidia I; Trajan’s widow, Plotina; the Bithynian youth Antinoös; and the consular L. Ceionius Commodus, whom Hadrian adopted and publicly promoted as his heir (restyled as L. Aelius Caesar). It is argued that one common denominator is Hadrian’s deep—even excessive—emotional attachment to these women and men. Another is the spectacular honors he paid Matidia and Plotina in his first decade of rule, in conspicuous contrast to what he allowed his wife. Particularly important is a speech, known through a now lost inscription, that Hadrian delivered on behalf of Matidia the Elder after her death and before her deification in 119. Hadrian’s praise—for her physical appearance, character, temperament—illuminates his ideals for Sabina. In conclusion, the chapter explains Hadrian’s adoption of Antoninus and his complex dynastic scheme, which succeeded surprisingly well.
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