Biblical Archaeology Review 23:6, November/December 1997
Roman Jerusalem

Iter Principis: Hadrian’s Imperial Tour

By Kenneth G. Holum

The early Greek rulers did it. And the Roman emperors followed suit: making a royal tour of the provinces, showing the flag, as it were, accepting the plaudits of the crowds at each stop and connecting with the people according to carefully prescribed customs and rituals. The Romans called it the iter principis, the “itinerary of the prince.”1 The emperor’s arrival at city after city was the adventus, the “advent” or “arrival,” marked by a carefully orchestrated ceremony designed to crystallize in the inhabitants’ minds what they were supposed to think about their ruler. The iter principis was, in effect, an imperial propaganda machine.

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