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Marcus Aurelius

Bust of Marcus Aurelius. British museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
Marcus Aurelius (British Museum, London)
Marcus Aurelius: emperor of the Roman world (161-180).


  • 26 April 121: Marcus Annius Catilius Severus
  • 17 March 136: Marcus Annius Verus 
  • 25 February 138: Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus 
  • 139: Aurelius Caesar
  • 7 March 161: Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus 
  • 17 March 180: natural death
Successor of: Antoninus Pius


Early career:

  • 121 Born in Rome
  • 128 Coopted in the college of the Salii
  • 136 Engaged to Ceionia Fabia, daughter of Lucius Aelius; prefect of the Latin festival
  • 138 Adopted by Antoninus Pius; new engagement to Annia Galeria Faustina, daughter of Pius
  • 139 Quaestor; recognized as caesar
  • 140 Consul
  • 145 Consul II; mariage to Faustina
  • 147 Tribunicia potestas

Main deeds:

  • 161 Consul III (with Lucius Verus II); succeeds Antoninus Pius; Lucius Verus co-ruler
  • 161, Spring: outbreak of war with the Parthian Empire; destruction of VIII Hispana; debasement of the denarius
  • 162 Lucius Verus proceeds to the east
  • 164 After Lucius Verus has recovered Armenia, both emperors accept the title Armeniacus
  • 165 Outbreak of the Plague
  • 166 Quinquennalia; Parthian triumph; both emperors accept the titles Medicus and Parthicus
  • 167 Plague in Rome
  • 168 Leaves Rome for a tour along the Danube; stay in Aquileia
  • 169 Death of Lucius Verus; leaves Rome for war against the Germanic tribes
  • 170 Leads the war from Carnuntum
  • 171 Leads the war from Carnuntum; celebrates Decennalia
  • 172 Leads the war from Carnuntum; accepts the title Germanicus
  • 173 Revolt in Egypt, suppressed by Avidius Cassius; Didius Julianus defeats the Chauci
  • 174 Begins Meditations; rain miracle (text); peace with the Marcomanni
  • 175 Revolt and suicide of Avidius Cassius; concludes a peace treaty; accepts the title Sarmaticus; Marcus Aurelius and Commodus make a tour to the east; stay in Alexandria
  • 176 Tour through Syria, Asia (death of Faustina II), Greece (initiation in the Mysteries of Eleusis), return to Rome; Germanic triumph
  • 177 Commodus consul (with Marcus Peducaeus Plautius Quintillus) and made co-ruler; Romans defeat Moors; persecution of Christians
  • 178 Unrest among the tribes along the Danube; Marcus Aurelius again to the Danube
  • 179 Commodus consul II (with Publius Martius Verus II); continued war; debasement of the denarius
  • 180 When victory is within reach, Marcus dies in Vindobona.

New legions:

Buildings (Rome):

  • Column of Antoninus Pius
  • Arch of Marcus Aurelius

Buildings (elsewhere):

Succeeded by: Commodus

Contemporary events:

  • 165 Execution of Justin Martyr
  • 165 Peregrinus Proteus dies at the Olympic Games
  • 166 A Roman embassy reaches China
  • 177 Martyrs in Lyon; Irenaeus made bishop


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