Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Posted on 26th December 2020
Born on 26 April 121AD, his birth name is disputed, but may have been Marcus Annius Catilius Severus. His father died when he was about three or four years old and he was raised by his paternal grandfather Marcus Annius Verus. He was educated at home by a variety of tutors and became a great philosopher.
After the current emperor Hadrian’s first choice as successor died, he named Aurelius Antoninus as his successor (later to become emperor Antoninus Pius) and he in turn adopted Marcus and Lucius Verus. Marcus therefore became the son of Antoninus at seventeen years old.
Hadrian died in 138AD and was succeeded by Antoninus Pius.
In 140AD Marcus became consul, a position he held on two further occasions, in both 145AD and 161AD.
In 145AD Marcus married Hadrian’s daughter Faustina and they had many children including the future emperor Commodus.
Antoninus Pius died in 161AD and Marcus Aurelius became emperor. He made the decision to rule jointly with Lucius Verus and they became co-emperors.
Emperor (jointly with Lucius Verus) 161AD – 169AD
This joint rule was marred by war. During 162AD – 166AD Verus battled the Parthian empire for the eastern lands, while Marcus stayed in Rome to rule. Following the successes of this war, the soldiers returned to Rome, bringing with them a disease that was to wipe out much of the population and last for many years.
Marcus and Verus fought further wars with the Germans in the late 160’sAD. It was during these wars in 169AD that Verus died of natural causes; Marcus however fought on for a further three years.
Emperor 169AD – 180AD
Following the German wars, Marcus toured the eastern provinces with his wife; It was during this tour that his wife Faustina died in 175AD. Marcus battled the Germans again in 177AD;at this time he formally declared his son Commodus co-ruler.
Marcus went into battle again and marched on the Danubian frontier, with the decisive victory being in 178AD. To secure further lands, he had planned to fight on, but became ill in 180AD.
Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180AD. His legacy we know by his own writings in his work ‘The Meditations’.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Rome
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