In 146 BC, the Romans ousted Athens’ Macedonian rulers and incorporated the city into their vast new province of Achaia, whose capital was at Corinth. The city’s status as a renowned seat of learning (Cicero and Horace were educated here) and great artistic centre ensured that it was treated with respect, and Athenian artists and architects were much in demand in Rome. Athens, though, was a backwater – there were few major construction projects, and what building there was tended to follow Classical Greek patterns.

The one Roman emperor who did spend a significant amount of time in Athens, and left his mark here, was Hadrian (reigned 117–138 AD). Among his grandiose monuments are Hadrian’s Arch, a magnificent and immense library, and (though it had been begun centuries before) the Temple of Olympian Zeus. A generation later Herodes Atticus, a Roman senator who owned extensive lands in Marathon, became the city’s last major benefactor of ancient times.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Greece features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
11 tips for travelling in Greece

11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many r…

02 May 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right