Ἦγε δὲ καὶ τὸν δῆμον τῶν Ῥωμαίων ἐμβριθῶς μᾶλλον ἢ θωπευτικῶς· καί ποτε ἰσχυρῶς αἰτοῦντί τι ἐν ὁπλομαχίᾳ οὔτε ἔνειμε, καὶ προσέτι ἐκέλευσε τοῦτο δὴ τὸ τοῦ Δομιτιανοῦ κηρυχθῆναι “σιωπήσατε”. οὐκ ἐλέχθη μὲν γάρ· ὁ γὰρ κῆρυξ ἀνατείνας τὴν χεῖρα καὶ ἐξ αὐτοῦ τούτου ἡσυχάσας, ὥσπερ εἰώθασι ποιεῖν (οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ὁπότε ὑπὸ κηρύγματος σιγάζονται), ἐπειδὴ ἐσιώπησαν, ἔφη “τοῦτ’ ἐθέλει”. Καὶ οὐχ ὅτι τινὰ ὀργὴν τῷ κήρυκι ἔσχεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐτίμησεν αὐτὸν ὅτι τὴν δυσχέρειαν τοῦ κελεύσματος οὐκ ἐξέφησεν. ἔφερε γὰρ τὰ τοιαῦτα, καὶ οὐκ ἠγανάκτει εἴ τι καὶ παρὰ γνώμην καὶ πρὸς τῶν τυχόντων ὠφελοῖτο. ἀμέλει γυναικὸς παριόντος αὐτοῦ ὁδῷ τινι δεομένης, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον εἶπεν αὐτῇ ὅτι “οὐ σχολάζω”, ἔπειτα ὡς ἐκείνη ἀνακραγοῦσα ἔφη “καὶ μὴ βασίλευε”, ἐπεστράφη τε καὶ λόγον αὐτῇ ἔδωκεν.
(Cassius Dio, Hist. 69.6)
He led the Roman people rather by dignity than by flattery. Once at a gladiatorial contest, when the crowd was demanding something very urgently, he not only would not grant it but further bade the herald proclaim Domitian’s command, “Silence.” The word was not uttered, however, for the herald raised his hand and by that very gesture quieted the people, as heralds are accustomed to do (for crowds are never silenced by proclamation), and then, when they had become quiet, he said: “That is what he wishes.” And Hadrian was not in the least angry with the herald, but actually honoured him for not uttering the rude order. For he could bear such things, and was not displeased if he received aid either in an unexpected way or from ordinary men. At any rate, once, when a woman made a request of him as he passed by on a journey, he at first said to her, “I haven’t time,” but afterwards, when she cried out, “Cease, then, being emperor,” he turned about and granted her a hearing. (tr. Earnest Cary)