If the dog refuses to run along with the wagon he will be dragged by it, yet the choice remains his: to run or be dragged. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? MARCUS ANNIUS VERUS was born in Rome in 121 A.D., the son of Annius Verus and Domitia Lucilla. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” … Web. Events from his early life are suggested by comments he makes in his Meditations (especially in Book I), from correspondence between himself and his teacher Fronto, and from the Historia Augusta which, though often considered unreliable, is still cited by scholars when certain passages seem probable. One of Rome’s most remarkable rulers, Marcus Aurelius (121-180AD) is commonly described as ‘The last of the five good emperors’. Together they had at least 12 children, including Commodus, Marcus’s successor. If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it. 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. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to … Bust of Marcus Aureliusby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). 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. Britannica now has a site just for parents! 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). 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… "Marcus Aurelius." 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. Antoninus agreed and young Marcus took the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and was groomed as the next emperor. 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. 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. 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.”. 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. 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. Mark, J. J. Although he is often called the "philosopher on the throne" or the "philosopher-emperor", he was also one of the greatest warriors of the Roman empire, and might be called "a philosopher in arms" - with more justification that Alexander the Great, who did in fact receive this title. He would die there two years later in March of 180 CE and was succeeded by Commodus. Marcus Aurelius Statue, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotekby Carole Raddato (CC BY-SA). 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. Antoninus Pius was an extremely effective monarch and an important role model for his successor. 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”. 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. License. The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman equestrian statue on the Capitoline Hill, Rome, Italy. In 167 CE, Aurelius joined Verus in the field to drive back these invasions and restore order. By the standards of his time, Marcus Aurelius was a lenient and humanitarian ruler, but he … 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. This is an inspirational quote by Marcus … He lived where Antoninus instructed him to in order to further his reputation as one of the elite and also for practical purposes in fulfilling his responsibilities but it seems clear he would have preferred a simpler life elsewhere. 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. 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. (Edman, Long, 5). The first two types belong to the emperor’s youth, before he assumed the duties of the principate. Lives are led at court – so then good ones can be. (xix). Who can I point out as an example? Although these persecutions were later condemned once Christianity triumphed, at the time they would have been considered necessary in keeping the peace. Marcus’s claim to statesmanship has come under critical attack in numerous other ways—for example, in the matter of Christian persecution. Aurelius writes: If it is good to you, O Universe, it is good to me. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. All things are born from you, exist in you, return to you. 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. Marcus Aurelius was one of the most important Stoic philosophers, Marcus’s personal contribution, however, must not be overstated. There are approximately 110 known portraits of Marcus Aurelius and these have been grouped into four typological groupings. In 167 or 168 Marcus and Verus together set out on a punitive expedition across the Danube, and behind their backs a horde of German tribes invaded Italy in massive strength and besieged Aquileia, on the crossroads at the head of the Adriatic. It is made of bronze and stands 4.24 m (13.9 ft) tall. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. In 136 CE, the emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138 CE) selected Lucius Ceionius Commodus as his successor for reasons which are unclear. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. 20 Jan 2021. (Meditations V.16). 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. He has symbolized the Golden Age of the Roman Empire for many generations in the West. Marcus Aurelius has symbolized for many generations in the West the Golden Age of the Roman Empire. Written by Joshua J. When he was in his early teens, around 132 CE, a teacher named Diognetus introduced him to philosophical texts. 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. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.. Marcus Aurelius' work Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered. 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. 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. Marcus Aurelius remained faithful to his vision of a world governed by a natural, & benign, intelligence which ran through all things. Omissions? Even so, he successfully conducted campaigns in Germania and managed the affairs of the empire efficiently. 25mm, 10.19 g. Rome. Marcus had a long apprenticeship at the side of Antoninus, learning the business of government and assuming public roles, before peacefully assuming power upon Antoninus’s death. During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. 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. The column carries representations carved in high relief of the emperor's successful … Antoninus had Aurelius’ betrothal to Ceionia Fabia annulled and arranged a marriage between him and Antoninus’ daughter Anna Galeria Faustina (known as Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger, c. 130-175 CE). Marcus and Verus fought the Germans off with success, but in 169 Verus died suddenly, and doubtless naturally, of a stroke. Color it with a run of thoughts like these: Anywhere you can lead your life, you can lead a good one. He died of natural causes following an illness in 180 CE and was instantly deified. 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. 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. 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). The child Marcus was thus clearly destined for social distinction. During his reign, the persecution of Christians increased 3. Meanwhile, there was work enough to do at the side of the untiring Antoninus, with learning the business of government and assuming public roles. At about this time he was introduced to two new teachers who were brought to court by Antoninus to tutor Aurelius in philosophy. Your harmony is mine. 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. But if we experience nothing, we can experience nothing bad. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. Cite This Work Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. The column was inspired by its more famous predecessor Trajan's Column which was set up, also in Rome, in 113 CE. Am I proud to look up to this person? 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. 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. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 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. On this day in 180AD the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius died. The text is mentioned in the 4th century CE by the orator Themistius (Hays, xliv) and in the Historia Augusta. 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. Long, G., translator; Edman, I., Introduction. His death in 180 was regarded as the end of the Pax Romana and the beginning of instability that led over time to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Mark, published on 26 March 2018 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. His paternal grandfather served as consul twice, and his maternal grandmother was heiress to one of the most massive of Roman fortunes. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 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. 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. 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. Marcus Aurelius came from a prominent Roman family. The field most congenial to him seems to have been the law. On March 7, 161, at a time when the brothers were jointly consuls (for the third and the second time, respectively), their father died. (His adoptive brother, nearly 10 years his junior, was brought into official prominence in due time.) Marcus Aurelius. 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. And if our experience changes, then our existence changes with it – change, but not cease. by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). How he came to the throne, however, remains a mystery. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. Due to his extraordinary interest in philosophy, he was called “the philosopher on the throne”. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). ‘Marcus Aurelius’ Marcus Annius Verus (AD 121 – AD 180) Marcus Annius Verus was born at Rome on 26 April AD 121. Mark, Joshua J. By 166 CE, the Christian problem seemed to be resolved and it looked as though the war with Parthia would be won. His Stoic philosophical writings are known as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, which were written in Greek.He was succeeded by his son the … The universe, to Aurelius and the Stoics, is good and only has the best intentions for humanity; it is an individual’s choice to interpret those intentions correctly and find peace or to choose to cling to one’s impressions and suffer. The Column of Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Columna Centenaria Divorum Marci et Faustinae, Italian: Colonna di Marco Aurelio) is a Roman victory column in Piazza Colonna, Rome, Italy.It is a Doric column featuring a spiral relief: it was built in honour of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and modeled on Trajan's Column In 178 CE, Aurelius defeated the Germanic tribes on the Danube and retired to winter quarters at Vindobona. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Fronto and Aurelius would become life-long friends and both he and Atticus would exert significant influence over the young Aurelius. 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. 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. (xxiv-xxv). Struck AD 177. Not late, not early. 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? His death in 180 is considered the end of Pax Romana, and the ensuing growing instability in the west is traditionally regarded as the beginning of the possible fall of the Western Roman Empire 4. 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. Aurelius’ answer to the problem is not an answer but a course of discipline in denying one’s self the luxury of self-pity. He was the last of what are referred to as the Five Good Emperors. What the turn of your seasons brings me falls like ripe fruit. 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. Aurelius’ father died in c. 124 CE and he was raised primarily by nurses and his grandfathers. 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. A freelance writer and former part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. Town: Rome; Year of creation: 176. 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. 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. Scholar Gregory Hays comments: The questions that the Meditations tries to answer are primarily metaphysical and ethical ones: Why are we here? By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. It shows the strong influence of Stoicism on Marcus and has been held by generations as the thoughts of a philosopher-king. The Historia Augusta records one such “especially notorious” party at which Verus gave out “gold, silver, and gemmed bowls…golden vases in the shape of perfume boxes…carriages with silver harnesses” as well as many more luxuriant gifts and the entry concludes, “the cost of this dinner party has been estimated as six million sestertii [around $60 million]. The Parthian Wars would last until 166 CE and concluded with a Roman victory. 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. The extent to which he intended it to be seen by others is uncertain. "Marcus Aurelius." Marcus Aurelius was an emperor or Rome from 161 to 180 CE. (IV.23). These were most likely works of the Cynic Philosophers who sought to live in the simplest way and disregarded all social conventions as artifice. Mark, Joshua J. Stoicism is no exception. Gold ring with Coin of Emperor Marcus Aureliusby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). His birth name was Marcus Annius Verus, after his father of the same name. 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. T he Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. Henceforth, it was in philosophy that Marcus was to find his chief intellectual interest as well as his spiritual nourishment. 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. Professor of Ancient History, University of Cambridge, 1979–84.
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