“I could see possibilities of Hellenizing the barbarians and Atticizing Rome, thus imposing upon the world by degrees the only culture which has once for all separated itself from the monstrous, the shapeless, and the inert, the only one to have invented a definition of method, a system of politics, and a theory of beauty.” Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (1950). Hadrian’s cuirass often details Athena wearing the aegis and being crowned by two Nikes. If any doubt, the owl and the snake beside her are two of the city-goddess’s most recognizable symbols. She stands on a representation of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus. Echoing the lines above, the imagery on the armor is only a further reification of Hadrian's interest in idealizing Athens for the sake of his own Empire. He was, also, named archon of Athens.
Images top: Agora, Athens; middle: detailed view of the texture, heavily restored, at Corinth; and bottom: a version at Olympia (taken at various excursions from 2004-2011)