Marcus married his cousin Annia Galeria Faustina, the emperor Antoninus Pius’s daughter. Marcus Aurelius Statue, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotekby Carole Raddato (CC BY-SA). He lived his philosophy in both his private and public life in that he consistently placed the needs of the people before his own desires or visions of glory and worked for the common good. Between 170-180 CE, Marcus Aurelius campaigned against the Germanic tribes and toured the eastern provinces of his empire. 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. 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. Fronto and Aurelius would become life-long friends and both he and Atticus would exert significant influence over the young Aurelius. He writes: Fear of death is fear of what we may experience: nothing at all or something quite new. Rider(s): Marcus Aurelius (AD 121–180). These were Apollonius of Chalcedon (dates unknown) and Quintus Junius Rusticus (c. 100-170 CE), one of the greatest Stoic philosophers of his day. One of Rome’s most remarkable rulers, Marcus Aurelius (121-180AD) is commonly described as ‘The last of the five good emperors’. 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. T he Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. Marcus’s claim to statesmanship has come under critical attack in numerous other ways—for example, in the matter of Christian persecution. In 178 CE, Aurelius defeated the Germanic tribes on the Danube and retired to winter quarters at Vindobona. 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. Not late, not early. 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. Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome between 161 and 180. 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. "Marcus Aurelius." Although these persecutions were later condemned once Christianity triumphed, at the time they would have been considered necessary in keeping the peace. 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… 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. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” … 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. 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. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. 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. (xix). In 161 Syria was invaded by the Parthians, a major power to the east. The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman equestrian statue on the Capitoline Hill, Rome, Italy. While Verus was away on campaign, Aurelius remained at Rome and, by all accounts, performed his duties with distinction. 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 philosophical bent would have made such duties seem fairly meaningless. It is among history’s ironies, however, that his reign is characterized by incessant warfare and the persecution of the new religious sect of Christianity. In his letters to Fronto he complains about his tutors at the time and his duties, which were essentially secretarial, as well as court life in general. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Originally translated by Meric Casaubon About this edition Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus was Emperor of Rome from 161 to his death, the last of the “Five Good Emperors.” He was nephew, son-in-law, and adoptive son of Antonius Pius. We know him today as one of the Stoics, and below I’ve put together resources pointing to his best wisdom. What happened to the Meditations after Aurelius’ death is unknown but they somehow survived and copies were made and preserved. He most likely would have also adopted the Cynic approach to simple, coarse food, few possessions, & neglect of basic hygiene. Marcus Aurelius Equestrian Statueby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his nameless letter, commonly known as Meditations, is an important source of modern understanding of the ancient philosophy of the Stoics 2. 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). How can we protect ourselves against the stresses and pressures of daily life? 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. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Marcus Aurelius (26 Apr 121–c.17 Mar 180), Find a Grave Memorial no. 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”. During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. Bust of Marcus Aureliusby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). 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. Even though some of these died young, Aurelius still had every reason to believe the gods could be smiling upon him with good fortune. (IV.23). The Parthian Wars would last until 166 CE and concluded with a Roman victory. 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. Mark, published on 26 March 2018 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Whatever time you choose is the right time. (xxiv-xxv). In 169 CE, Verus died – most likely of the plague his troops had brought back to Rome from campaign – and Aurelius ruled alone. 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. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. 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. Author of. He was one of the most outstanding and educated emperors of Rome. Aurelius had married Faustina in 145 CE and they had a number of children over the years. In 136 the emperor Hadrian (reigned 117–138) inexplicably announced as his eventual successor a certain Lucius Ceionius Commodus (henceforth L. Aelius Caesar), and in that same year young Marcus was engaged to Ceionia Fabia, the daughter of Commodus. The child Marcus was thus clearly destined for social distinction. Ancient History Encyclopedia. How should we deal with pain and misfortune? "Marcus Aurelius." When he was in his early teens, around 132 CE, a teacher named Diognetus introduced him to philosophical texts. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Marcus thus was marked out as a future joint emperor at the age of just under 17, though, as it turned out, he was not to succeed until his 40th year. 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. (His adoptive brother, nearly 10 years his junior, was brought into official prominence in due time.) Hadrian recognized the fine qualities of the youth and he was originally betrothed to the daughter of Aelius Caesar After the death of Aelius, he was adopt ed by his uncle, the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and took the name of MARCUS AELIUS AURELIUS VERUS. He was shortly after betrothed to Ceionia Fabia, daughter of the respected politician Lucius Ceionius Commodus (d. 138 CE) and sister of Aurelius’ future co-emperor Lucius Verus (r. 161-169 CE). Long, G., translator; Edman, I., Introduction. Faustina accompanied Aurelius on campaigns 170-175 CE and went with him to Syria, Egypt, and Greece. MARCUS ANNIUS VERUS was born in Rome in 121 A.D., the son of Annius Verus and Domitia Lucilla. Cite This Work He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169.. by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). On this day in 180AD the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius died. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 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. By 166 CE, the Christian problem seemed to be resolved and it looked as though the war with Parthia would be won. 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. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 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). Although the emperor is mounted, it exhibits many similarities to standing statues of Augustus. 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 field most congenial to him seems to have been the law. Antoninus agreed and young Marcus took the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and was groomed as the next emperor. She died in the winter of 175 CE. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to … License. (Meditations V.16). Problems are Created in the Mind. Arethas’ copy may be responsible for preserving Meditations which is thought to have been among the books rescued from the library of Constantinople in 1453 CE when the city fell to the Ottoman Turks. These were most likely works of the Cynic Philosophers who sought to live in the simplest way and disregarded all social conventions as artifice. Marcus Aurelius was born on April 26, 121 CE in the south of Rome. 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. Written by Joshua J. The Meditations is far from a philosophical treatise, however; it is one man’s thoughts on life and the struggle to remain at peace with one’s self in a world which constantly threatens such peace. 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. (IV.58). Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Marcus_Aurelius/. Marcus Aurelius was an emperor or Rome from 161 to 180 CE. Marcus Aurelius has symbolized for many generations in the West the Golden Age of the Roman Empire. At about this time he was introduced to two new teachers who were brought to court by Antoninus to tutor Aurelius in philosophy. 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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The first two types belong to the emperor’s youth, before he assumed the duties of the principate. 35001023, citing Mausoleum of Hadrian, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave . 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. His Stoic outlook is expressed throughout his Meditations and his view of one’s responsibility to others is made clear in a line from Book VIII.59: “People exist for the sake of one another; teach them, then, or bear with them.”. Both entries have to do with Stoic philosophical principles and strongly suggest that it was not until this time that Aurelius became acquainted with the Stoic outlook. If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it. The new establishment, however, was largely of municipal and provincial origin—as were its emperors—cultivating sobriety and good works and turning more and more to piety and religiosity. Commodus was married to Marcus Aurelius’ aunt Faustina and it is probable that Hadrian chose Commodus as a kind of place-holder for the teen-age Aurelius who would then succeed him later. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. 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). 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. 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