Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Empress Sabine


Further to the previous post about Roman remains in Provence, I couldn’t resist giving you an update on the identity of the intriguing statue of a woman in Vaison la Romaine. She is the Empress Sabine, wife of the Emperor Hadrian who ruled from AD 117 to 138. And she was indeed a strong and independent-minded woman.

The photo above shows another statue of her, from the Villa Adriana in Tivoli, Italy. She was born in AD 83 and married Hadrian while she was still a teenager. That must have been pretty normal in those times, but what wasn’t quite as normal was that she took steps never to have children with her husband because she feared their offspring would “harm the human race”! She had an affair, too, with the historian Suetonius.

And Hadrian was known as one of the good emperors…though he did enjoy stomping around in military uniform and spending a great deal of time with his armies. Most Britons know him as the man who built Hadrian’s Wall across the north of England to mark the northernmost boundary of the Roman empire.

There’s also a neat little coincidence in that Sabine is the name of a character in The Lantern – and it’s not a particularly common name either. How about that?!


This comes with thanks to Sacha for solving the mystery – her blog Un Jour…Une Photo is full of visual treats which you can find here. And if you are interested in reading more about Vaison and its Gallo-Roman past there’s a great link here.


8 comments:

Maureen said...

Fascinating history!

Sacha said...

Thank you for this great post on this very complete exceptional woman more beautiful and charm which emanates from it yet
Women of that time were real colorful characters as much as men probably their equal! ! thank you for the nod to my blog because it affects me a lot ..
kiss
Have a nice weekend
Sacha

aguja said...

I am back commenting - at last!

I have been looking back at your posts.

I love the current Roman theme, but what overjoyed me is the news about The Lantern. Even if it goes no further ... it has gone that far, which is amazing and well deserved. I hope that it continues as it is a very special book.

Thinking of you and The Lantern!

Yvonne Osborne said...

I saw a segment of Hadrian's Wall a few years ago. Remarkable that in places it still stands. But Sabine sounds like a remarkable woman too. How forward thinking she was for her time!

Elizabeth Young said...

Thanks for the history Deborah! I had a different take on Sabine, I thought she sounded manipulative. I always love your pictures as they add light to your wonderful words.

MuMuGB said...

I am always amazed to see inscriptions in latin in most towns in Provence. It is usually on churches, or on official buildings. Sabine sounds like a strong-minded woman and is part of this history!

Sara Louise said...

Her reason for not wanting to have children is amazing!

Adiante said...

Ce qui est bien avec les écrivains, tout est sujet et inspiration ...

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