The Roman Emperor Hadrian showed a love of architecture. He rebuilt the Pantheon in Rome with its marvelous dome. There's even a possibility that he had contributed to its design. His tomb on the Tiber is now Castel Sant'Angelo, a fortress for the medieval popes and the setting for the final scene in Puccini's Tosca. Someday I hope to visit the ruins of his extensive villa (Villa Adriana in Italian) a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, a half day from Rome. Then, of course, he's famous for the wall protecting Roman England from the barabaric Scottish Celts. Hadrian's appreciation of beauty extended to his beloved Antinous, whom he adored even after the youth's tragic drowning in the Nile. He built a splendid city in his honor.
Memoirs of Hadrian, the novel by French writer Marguerite Yourcenar, concerns the life and death of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The book was first published in France in French in 1951 as Mémoires d'Hadrien, and was an immediate success, meeting with enormous critical acclaim. The historical Hadrian did write an autobiography, but it has been lost.