Trajan's campaigns of expansion were not meant to be, as he finally
succumbed to his failing health in 117 AD, leaving the empire in the
hands of his distant relative and general of the Rhine armies,
Publius Aelius Hadrianus. Hadrian recognized the weakness of the
thinly spread lines, abandoning the conquests east of the Euphrates
river in favor for strengthening Rome's defences and peace with the
reeling Parthia. Parthia's leader was reinstated in the east while
Hadrian withdrew from portions of the recently conquered Dacia,
although most of the land remained Roman territory.
Hadrian began the construction of a great wall across the width of
Britain in 122 AD, a defense against the Celts to the north in
Scotland. The famous wall which bares Hadrian's name would prove to
be the division between Rome and the barbarians for years to come.
Hadrian was also responsible for the subduing of Jewish rebellions in
Jerusalem, provoked by his replacing the site of an ancient temple
with a shrine to Jupiter. He gave command of the area to Sextus
Julius Severus, the governor of Britain, who annihilated over 50
Jewish fortresses and almost a thousand Jewish villages. Rather than
military conquest, Hadrian spent most of his time touring the
outskirts of the empire and ensuring the discipline, safety, and
satisfaction of both the soldiers and people of the empire.