Eastern Mediterranean 117: Accession of Hadrian
Although the Jewish revolt of 115 (the “Kitos War”) caused much death and destruction, it was eventually suppressed in 117. By now, however, Trajan was dead, having falling ill while trying to suppress multiple revolts across Mesopotamia. He was succeeded by Hadrian, who quickly traveled to Rome to secure his authority and abandoned what was left of Trajan’s conquests.
116 Roman Mesopotamia▲
In 116 Trajan organized the Roman conquests in Parthia and Araba into the province of Mesopotamia and (less certainly) annexed Adiabene as the province of Assyria. To celebrate the creation of Mesopotamia as a province, Trajan had coins minted; the absence of such coins for Assyria has led some experts to question its existence. In any case, both provinces lasted less than two years before being evacuated by Hadrian.
Jun 116–Jul 117 Parthian revolt against Trajan▲
When Trajan returned north to Babylon from Characene, he found that, in his absence, Edessa (capital of Osroene), Hatra (capital of Araba), and a number of Parthian cities including Seleucia had risen up in revolt against the Roman occupation. The uprisings were a combination of Parthian resistance under Shah Osroes I’s brother Mithridates, Parthian resistance backed by the rival Shah Vologases III, Jewish resistance in conjunction with the Kitos War, and local resistance. Mobilizing three task forces, Trajan eventually crushed or came to terms with all the rebels except for Hatra—which repelled even the emperor’s personally-led attempt at reconquest.
??–Aug 117 End of Kitos War▲
In 117 Qunitus Marcius Turbo finally brought an end to the Jewish revolt in Egypt and Cyrenaica, while Lusius Quietus commanded a predominately mounted force to suppress the revolt in Mesopotamia. Jewish rebels from all regions fled to Judea where, under the joint leadership of Lukus, Julianus, and Pappos, they made a last stand at Lydda (Lod). In August, Turbo and Quietus converged on the city, capturing it by siege and assault and crucifying the defenders.
10 Aug 117–10 Jul 138 Principate of Hadrian▲
Hadrian was in Antioch, Syria, when he learned of Trajan’s death and of his adoption as Trajan’s heir (although it is possible that Trajan’s widow Pompeia Plotina and others had conspired on Hadrian’s behalf). Hadrian swiftly returned to Rome to be made emperor, abandoning many of Trajan’s gains as indefensible. Over his 21-year reign—the longest since Tiberius—Hadrian visited almost every province in the Empire, constructing buildings and pushing for military preparedness as he went. Although hated by the Senate for executing a number of alleged plotters among them and facing hostility from the Jews over his panhellenism, Hadrian’s rule was largely peaceful. In 138 he died at the age of 62, having chosen Antoninus as his successor and both Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus as Antoninus’ heirs.