Arch of Hadrian

Arch of Hadrian. Eastern side. The inscription on this side of the arch reads: "This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus". The inscription on this side of the arch reads: "This is Athens, the ancient (or former) city of of Theseus". The traditional way of interpreting this inscription is that it refers to the southeast section of Athens as a new "suburb" sponsored of encouraged by Hadrian (as a "new Athens" or "Hadrianoupolis"). We do know that Hadrian completed the building of the Olympieion (temple of Olympian Zeus) in this part of town. Another way to interpret the inscriptions (Adams 1989) is to see them as saying Hadrian has replaced the mythological hero Theseus as the KTISTES or "founder" of the city -- a very great honor. The arch stood over the line of an ancient road that led from the area of the Olympieion to the east side of the Acropolis. In the distance, under the arch, you can see the Lysikrates Monument at the end of the modern street. Also in the distance, the Acropolis and the East Cave. View from the east (just outside the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus).