Aaron Levin, 1986

Though now headless, the emperor Hadrian still cuts an imposing figure in this statue from Caesarea, the largest city in Palestine after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Carved from a 7-ton block of imported porphyry, the statue was probably enshrined in a Hadrianeum, a temple devoted to Hadrian, although no such building has been discovered yet. In the second century C.E., local officials frequently erected such temples after securing the emperor’s permission when he visited on his royal tour, called the iter principis. Here the Caesareans would have offered thanks to Hadrian for the civic renovations he commissioned during his visit—including the rebuilding of the city’s aqueduct.