Hadrian AD 117-138
Hadrian is often identified as a “Spanish” Emperor, although he was likely born in Rome. His family, the Aelii, had centuries-long roots in Roman Spain and rose to wealth and prominence there. Hadrian spent much of his youth on family estates in Baetica, but upon entering public life his Spanish origins became something of an embarrassment when his peers laughed at him for speaking with a foreign accent. Upon becoming Emperor, Hadrian seems to have never felt comfortable in Rome and spent most of his 21-year reign traveling, eventually visiting every province of the Roman Empire. He honored the unique ethnicity and cultural identify of each place he visited with a remarkable series of coins, in bronze, silver, and gold.