The military precariousness of the empire and the inflexibility of its financial structure in the face of emergencies now stood revealed; desperate measures were adopted to fill the depleted legions, and imperial property was auctioned to provide funds. Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius also is known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Born on April 26, 121, in Rome – Died On March 17, 180, in Vindobona or Sirmio) was emperor of the Roman Empire from the year 161 to the year his death in 180. Scholar Irwin Edman comments on this: At the age of eleven, Aurelius dedicated himself to religion, for philosophy all his life was with him a kind of religion, the true inward religion that lay behind the rites and ceremonies of the imperial religion which he was careful and content to observe. Although Fronto strongly objects to Aurelius’ interest in Stoicism in his letters, his former student embraced the philosophy fully and would put the principles he learned from his teachers into effect once he came to power. Written by Joshua J. It was to the credit of Marcus, who was intelligent as well as hardworking and serious-minded, that he grew impatient with the unending regime of advanced exercises in Greek and Latin declamation and eagerly embraced the Diatribai (Discourses) of a religious former slave, Epictetus, an important moral philosopher of the Stoic school. Cite This Work In accordance with the Stoic view, everything that happens in life is natural – sickness/health, satisfaction/disappointment, joy/sadness, even death – and it is only one’s interpretation of events which can trouble a person. It is sometimes assumed that in Hadrian’s mind both Commodus and Antoninus Pius were merely to be “place warmers” for one or both of these youths. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Commodus died in 138 CE, however, and Hadrian then chose Aurelius Antoninius (later known as Anoninus Pius (r. 138-161 CE) as successor with one stipulation: he had to adopt Marcus and Lucius Verus as his sons and successors. Column of Marcus Aurelius. Agasicles, king of the Spartans, once quipped that he wanted to be ‘the student of men whose son I should like to be as well.’ It is a critical consideration we need to make in our search for role models. Updates? He would die there two years later in March of 180 CE and was succeeded by Commodus. In the Roman world it was standard practice to create official portrait types of high-ranking officials, such as emperors that would then circulate in vari… Your harmony is mine. Along with his predecessors – Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antonius Pius – Marcus Aurelius brought stability to an unstable Empire; between them, the five provided almost a century of competent government, now regarded as Rome’s heyday. He was one of the most outstanding and educated emperors of Rome. How can we ensure that we do what is right? He had the education of an imperial gentleman, but of a gentleman who felt something missing in the outward show and in the outer world and felt ultimately that peace, if not happiness (which was impossible) lay in oneself. Books She died in the winter of 175 CE. Scholar Gregory Hays comments: The questions that the Meditations tries to answer are primarily metaphysical and ethical ones: Why are we here? He has symbolized the Golden Age of the Roman Empire for many generations in the West. What the turn of your seasons brings me falls like ripe fruit. Even so, he successfully conducted campaigns in Germania and managed the affairs of the empire efficiently. Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome during the 2nd century AD, the last in a line of five emperors known to have ruled Rome with authority, humanity, and competence. Problems are Created in the Mind. Marcus Aurelius (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus) was a respected Roman Emperor (161–180 CE), a philosopher-king who was the last of Rome's so-called Five Good Emperors. His reign, in fact, is defined by the Stoic view and he is referred to as “the philosopher” by the later historian Cassius Dio (c. 155-235 CE) and the author (or authors) of the Historia Augusta (4th century CE), a history of Roman emperors. When Marcus Aurelius was 17 years of age, his uncle became the emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned 138–161) and adopted him and another young man as his successors. The Column of Marcus Aurelius is a Roman victory column in Piazza Colonna, Rome, Italy. He was the last of what are referred to as the Five Good Emperors. The first two types belong to the emperor’s youth, before he assumed the duties of the principate. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was born on April 26, 121, in Rome, Italy. The returning armies brought back with them a plague, which raged throughout the empire for many years and—together with the German invasion—fostered a weakening of morale in minds accustomed to the stability and apparent immutability of Rome and its empire. In 169 CE, Verus died – most likely of the plague his troops had brought back to Rome from campaign – and Aurelius ruled alone. Mark, Joshua J. Struck AD 177. In 136 CE, the emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138 CE) selected Lucius Ceionius Commodus as his successor for reasons which are unclear. Aurelius’ Meditations is his true legacy to the world, far out-stripping any achievements of his reign, however notable they may have been. He most likely would have also adopted the Cynic approach to simple, coarse food, few possessions, & neglect of basic hygiene. He has long been respected as embodying the Platonic concept of the Philosopher King as articulated in Plato’s Republic: a ruler who does not seek power for his own sake but to help his people. In 175 CE, his general Cassius rebelled in Syria, proclaiming himself emperor, before he was assassinated by a subordinate. Aurelius’ father died in c. 124 CE and he was raised primarily by nurses and his grandfathers. Ancient History Encyclopedia. March 17, 2015, by Will Leveritt. It shows the strong influence of Stoicism on Marcus and has been held by generations as the thoughts of a philosopher-king. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. This success was due not so much to Verus but to the general Gaius Avidius Cassius (l. 130-175 CE) who brilliantly deployed the troops and devised the tactics. Although it is unclear, it seems that his mother forced him to stop his philosophical pursuits and focus on what she saw as a more respectable career path. The war that followed (162–166) was nominally under the command of Verus, though its successful conclusion, with the overrunning of Armenia and Mesopotamia, was the work of subordinate generals, notably Gaius Avidius Cassius. Although the main society literary figure of the age, Fronto was a dreary pedant whose blood ran rhetoric, but he must have been less lifeless than he now appears, for there is genuine feeling and real communication in the letters between him and both of the young men. The Parthian Wars would last until 166 CE and concluded with a Roman victory. Marcus Aurelius remained faithful to his vision of a world governed by a natural, & benign, intelligence which ran through all things. The Julio-Claudian Dynasty [image:486] Augustus 16 Jan 27... Germanic tribes cross the Danube into the, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius translated by George Long. While Verus was away on campaign, Aurelius remained at Rome and, by all accounts, performed his duties with distinction. Aurelius continued to hold fast to his Stoic principles as emperor but Verus, who had always been more extravagant, indulged himself through lavish parties and expensive gifts to friends. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Rider(s): Marcus Aurelius (AD 121–180). Marcus came from a … There was, then, no concept of tragedy in Aurelius’ philosophy because everything that happened was a natural occurrence and nothing in nature could be interpreted as tragic. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Marcus-Aurelius-Roman-emperor, Ancient History Encyclopedia - Biography of Marcus Aurelius, The Catholic Encyclopedia - Biography of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Biography of Marcus Aurelius, Heritage History - Biography of Marcus Aurelius, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Biography of Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). He was introduced to philosophy at a young age and his Meditations, composed while on campaign in his fifties, make clear that he held a deeply philosophical, specifically Stoic, view throughout his life. How should we deal with pain and misfortune? How should we live our lives? At about this time he was introduced to two new teachers who were brought to court by Antoninus to tutor Aurelius in philosophy. Text by Mike Welbourn. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. After his death the empire quickly descended into civil war. His grandfather and great-grandfather on his father’s side were senators and his mother, Domitia Lucilla (known as the minor, c. 155-161 CE), also came from a wealthy and politically connected family. The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman equestrian statue on the Capitoline Hill, Rome, Italy. Marcus Aurelius has symbolized for many generations in the West the Golden Age of the Roman Empire. They encouraged free speech, the arts, education, and boosted the economy – at least for a time – by debasing the currency; the two emperors quickly became immensely popular with the people. Life changed drastically for Marcus Aurelius, and Rome in 161 when Antoninus Pius died, leaving Marcus effectively as the new Emperor. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Hays elaborates: According to this theory, man is like a dog tied to a moving wagon. Marcus Aurelius was born on April 26, 121 CE in the south of Rome. Three years of fighting were still needed, with Marcus in the thick of it, to restore the Danubian frontier, and three more years of campaigning in Bohemia were enough to bring the tribes beyond the Danube to peace, at least for a time. On March 7, 161, at a time when the brothers were jointly consuls (for the third and the second time, respectively), their father died. https://www.ancient.eu/Marcus_Aurelius/. (2018, March 26). Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Sometime after this, he received new tutors in oratory and rhetoric and among these were Herodes Atticus (l. 101-177 CE) and Marcus Cornelius Fronto (d. late 160’s CE) whose reputations for excellence in their arts were highly respected and commanded a high price. Marcus Aurelius, AE as, AD 161-180. He was born on April 26, A.D. 121, according to DIR Marcus Aurelius, or perhaps April 6 or 21.He died on March 17, 180. Web. Their legal status remained as it had been under Trajan (reigned 98–117) and Hadrian: Christians were ipso facto punishable but not to be sought out. Omissions? When he was in his early teens, around 132 CE, a teacher named Diognetus introduced him to philosophical texts. Marcus married his cousin Annia Galeria Faustina, the emperor Antoninus Pius’s daughter. But if we experience nothing, we can experience nothing bad. These were most likely works of the Cynic Philosophers who sought to live in the simplest way and disregarded all social conventions as artifice. No further mention of it is made until the 10th century CE when the cleric Arethas mentions copying it in a letter to a friend. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. He most likely would have also adopted the Cynic approach to simple, coarse food, few possessions, and neglect of basic hygiene. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome. Fronto and Aurelius would become life-long friends and both he and Atticus would exert significant influence over the young Aurelius. (His adoptive brother, nearly 10 years his junior, was brought into official prominence in due time.) (xix). MARCUS ANNIUS VERUS was born in Rome in 121 A.D., the son of Annius Verus and Domitia Lucilla. During his reign, the persecution of Christians increased 3. It is most probable, however, that Marcus’s conscience impelled him to carry out loyally what he believed to have been the plan by which alone he himself had eventually reached the purple. Bust of Marcus Aureliusby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). There is no evidence that Lucius Verus had much of a following, so a ruthless rival could have easily disposed of him, though to leave him in being as anything less than emperor might have created a focus for disaffection. In March of 161 CE, Antoninus Pius died and the senate looked to Aurelius as the new emperor; in keeping with Hadrian’s original designs, however, Aurelius refused the honor unless Lucius Verus was elevated as co-emperor with him. (Meditations V.16). How he came to the throne, however, remains a mystery. Before we begin our studies we need to ask ourselves: Who are the people that followed these precepts? Mark, Joshua J. Gold ring with Coin of Emperor Marcus Aureliusby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). When he was born, his paternal grandfather was already consul for the second time and prefect of Rome, which was the crown of prestige in a senatorial career; his father’s sister was married to the man who was destined to become the next emperor and whom he himself would in due time succeed; and his maternal grandmother was heiress to one of the most massive of Roman fortunes. Marcus Aurelius - Marcus Aurelius - The Meditations: A more intimate contact with the thoughts pursued by Marcus during the troubling involvements of his reign, though not what would have been historically most valuable, his day-to-day political thoughts, can be acquired by reading the Meditations. One of Rome’s most remarkable rulers, Marcus Aurelius (121-180AD) is commonly described as ‘The last of the five good emperors’. In 145 he married his cousin, the emperor’s daughter Annia Galeria Faustina, and in 147 the imperium and tribunicia potestas, the main formal powers of emperorship, were conferred upon him; henceforth, he was a kind of junior coemperor, sharing the intimate counsels and crucial decisions of Antoninus. These books were carried west where they were copied and, by 1559 CE, the first printed edition of the work was available. Due to his extraordinary interest in philosophy, he was called “the philosopher on the throne”. Town: Rome; Year of creation: 176. He may have consoled himself at this time through philosophy – as he would do throughout his life – and later writes: The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. ‘Marcus Aurelius’ Marcus Annius Verus (AD 121 – AD 180) Marcus Annius Verus was born at Rome on 26 April AD 121. (IV.58). In late 161 CE, the Parthian king Vologases IV (r. 147-191 CE) invaded Armenia, which was under Rome’s protection, and the Roman province of Syria revolted. How can we protect ourselves against the stresses and pressures of daily life? By the standards of his time, Marcus Aurelius was a lenient and humanitarian ruler, but he … "Marcus Aurelius." Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The pattern of ameliorating legislation was inherited rather than novel, and the measures were refinements rather than radical changes in the structure of law or society; Marcus was not a great legislator, but he was a devoted practitioner of the role of ombudsman. Although Marcus disliked the Christians, there was no systematic persecution of them during his reign. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. If one concentrated one’s focus on the logos, the Stoics claimed, one could live peacefully because one would realize that everything which happens is natural; it is only one’s interpretation of an event which makes it “good” or “bad”. On this day, the 17th of March in AD 180, the sixteenth emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, died at Sirmium in the province of Pannonia (modern day Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). In the modern-day, he is probably best known from the popular film Gladiator (2000 CE) as the father of Commodus (r.177-192 CE) whose decision to pass over his son as successor serves as the point of departure for the film’s plot. His paternal grandfather served as consul twice, and his maternal grandmother was heiress to one of the most massive of Roman fortunes. Marcus Aurelius, in full Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, original name (until 161 ce) Marcus Annius Verus, (born April 26, 121 ce, Rome [Italy]—died March 17, 180, Vindobona [Vienna, Austria] or Sirmium, Pannonia), Roman emperor (161–180), best known for his Meditations on Stoic philosophy. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” … Mark, J. J. The long years of Marcus’s apprenticeship under Antoninus are illuminated by the correspondence between him and his teacher Fronto. Who can I point out as an example? Contrary to his depiction in the film, Aurelius was not killed by Commodus and, in fact, Commodus would co-rule with his father from 177-180 CE and succeeded him without opposition; though he would prove to be one of the worst rulers Rome would have to endure and his rep… These were Apollonius of Chalcedon (dates unknown) and Quintus Junius Rusticus (c. 100-170 CE), one of the greatest Stoic philosophers of his day. Aurelius writes: If it is good to you, O Universe, it is good to me. How can we live with the knowledge that someday we will no longer exist? Marcus Aurelius wrote the Meditations, his reflections in the middle of campaigning and administration. Aurelius devotes a long passage of praise to his adopted father in his Meditations in which he lists the emperor’s impressive qualities (Book I.16). His reign (161–180 CE) marked the end of a period of internal tranquility and good government. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. There are approximately 110 known portraits of Marcus Aurelius and these have been grouped into four typological groupings. These emperors did … During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. Professor of Ancient History, University of Cambridge, 1979–84. For constructive statesmanship or the initiation of original trends in civil policy, Marcus had little time or energy to spare. Although these persecutions were later condemned once Christianity triumphed, at the time they would have been considered necessary in keeping the peace. Early in 138, however, Commodus died, and later, after the death of Hadrian, the engagement was annulled. However, although he was granted the name Augustus and the title imperator , and was elected Pontifex Maximus , Marcus appears to have taken these positions with some hesitation, having to be compelled to do so. Henceforth, it was in philosophy that Marcus was to find his chief intellectual interest as well as his spiritual nourishment. License. Epictetus (l. c. 50-130 CE) was the author of the Discourses and Enchiridion, famous lectures on Stoic principles and practice and the logos was the binding force in the universe which caused all things to be and kept all running harmoniously. Antoninus groomed his successor in almost every aspect of becoming an efficient ruler (though he neglected to instruct him in military matters) and, although Aurelius complied, his tastes ran more toward philosophical introspection than the mundane duties of court life. Known for his philosophical interests, Aurelius was one of the most respected emperors in … In his Meditations, Aurelius praises both men highly and lists the many important lessons he learned from them. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to … "Marcus Aurelius." In the modern-day, he is probably best known from the popular film Gladiator (2000 CE) as the father of Commodus (r.177-192 CE) whose decision to pass over his son as successor serves as the point of departure for the films plot. Although he had tried to groom his son in the same steady way that Antoninus Pius had him, he seems to have realized that he had failed. This incongruous position did little harm in times of general security and prosperity, but when either of these were threatened, the local population might denounce Christians, a governor might be forced to act, and the law, as the central authority saw it, must then run its course. Details of his younger years, therefore, are scarce but it is assumed he would have been brought up in accordance with traditional patrician practices, learned Greek at the same time he was learning Latin, and would have been groomed for a public life in rhetoric and oratory. The martyrdoms at Lyon in 177 were of this nature, and, though it appears that Christian blood flowed more profusely in the reign of Marcus the philosopher than it had before, he was not an initiator of persecution. Marcus Aurelius (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher.He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors, and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age … Moreover, there was nothing specifically Stoic about this legal activity, and in one respect the age of Antoninus Pius and Marcus signalizes a retrogression in the relationship of law to society, for under them there either began or was made more explicit a distinction of classes in the criminal law—honestiores and humiliores—with two separate scales of punishments for crime, harsher and more degrading for the humiliores at every point. Marcus Aurelius (r. A.D. 161-180) was a Stoic philosopher and one of the five good Roman emperors (r. A.D. 161-180). 1. It is made of bronze and stands 4.24 m (13.9 ft) tall. Hadrian then adopted Titus Aurelius Antoninus (the husband of Marcus’s aunt) to succeed him as the emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned 138–161), arranging that Antoninus should adopt as his sons two young men—one the son of Commodus and the other Marcus, whose name was then changed to Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus. The Column of Marcus Aurelius is a Roman victory column in Piazza Colonna, Rome, Italy. Meanwhile, there was work enough to do at the side of the untiring Antoninus, with learning the business of government and assuming public roles. Marcus thus was related to several of the most prominent families of the new Roman establishment, which had consolidated its social and political power under the Flavian emperors (69–96), and, indeed, the ethos of that establishment is relevant to his own actions and attitudes. The Column of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina which stands in Piazza Colonna in Rome is thought to have been erected by Commodus in memory of his father and mother sometime around 180 CE. Marcus Aurelius reigned as Roman emperor from 161 to 180 CE and is best known as the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome (following Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius) and as the author of the philosophical work Meditations. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. On this day in 180AD the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius died. It is also during this time (c.162-c.166 CE) that he persecuted the new sect of Christianity which refused to honor the state religion and disrupted the social order. If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it. Marcus’s claim to statesmanship has come under critical attack in numerous other ways—for example, in the matter of Christian persecution. The work is a private journal of the emperor’s thoughts written to encourage himself in living the best life possible. Although he would lose children, friends, and even his wife, Aurelius remained faithful to this vision of a world governed by a natural, and benign, intelligence which ran through all things, bound all things together, and dispersed all things in time. Marcus Aurelius Equestrian Statueby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Aurelius had married Faustina in 145 CE and they had a number of children over the years. The original is on display in the Capitoline Museums, with the one now standing in the open air of the Piazza del Campidoglio being a replica made in 1981 when the original was taken down for restoration. His Stoic philosophical writings are known as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, which were written in Greek.He was succeeded by his son the … Aurelius seems to have been quite impressed with this outlook as he then affected a typically Cynic lifestyle of dressing in a rough woolen cloak and sleeping on the ground or the floor of his room instead of his bed. In writing on Rusticus he thanks him “for introducing me to Epictetus’ lectures – and loaning me his own copy” (I.7) and, regarding Apollonius, says he learned, “independence and unvarying reliability, and to pay attention to nothing, no matter how fleetingly, except the logos” (I.8). Being superior to pain and pleasure allows us to fully accept the … He adjudicated court cases, reviewed and passed laws which benefited all the classes of Rome, and dealt with the various requests and difficulties that came in from the provinces. Lives are led at court – so then good ones can be. 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His death the empire quickly descended into civil war of what are to. Also in Rome, Italy Verus, after his father of the same name philosopher on the lookout for Britannica! On Campaignby Mark Cartwright ( CC BY-NC-SA ), few possessions, &,... First printed Edition of the Stoics, and doubtless naturally, of a.. Approach to simple, coarse food, few possessions, & neglect marcus aurelius rome basic.... The strong influence of Stoicism on Marcus and has been held by generations the.

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