Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Early Life

Born ‘Marcus Catilius Severus’ on 26 April 121AD.

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 and he in turn adopted Marcus and Lucius Verus.

Marcus became the son on Antoninus at the age of seventeen.

In 140AD Marcus became consul and then in 145AD he married Hadrian’s daughter Faustina.

Hadrian 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

Their joint rule however 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 roman soldiers returned to Rome. They bought with them a disease that was to wipe out much of the population and lasted for many years.

Marcus and Verus fought further wars in the late 160’sAD with the Germans. It was during these wars that Verus died in 169AD of natural causes. Following his death Marcus decided to fight on.

Emperor 169AD – 180AD

While battling the Germans in 177AD, he formally made his son Commodus co-ruler.

Following this Marcus toured the eastern provinces with his wife until 173AD. He then attended a triumph in 174AD. His wife was to die in 175AD.

He went into battle again and marched on the Danubian frontier. He continued to fight, with the decisive victory being in 178AD.

To continue to secure further lands, he had planned to fight on, but he became ill in 180AD. Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180AD in the city of Vindobona (near modern day Vienna).

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