Marcus Aurelius, born April 26, 121, Rome, d. 17 March 180, probably at Vindobona, today Vienna, was a Roman Emperor from the Antonin Dynasty between 161 and 180 AD, and a philosopher stoic. Born Marcus Annius Verus or Marcus Catilius Severus, later, after being adopted by Emperor Antoninus Pius, later named Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus. The emperor was called Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus.
Marc Aureliu was born on 26 April 121 in Rome, son of Annius Verus. He was a nephew by the alliance of the future emperor (between the ages of 138-161), Antoninus Pius, who adopted him at the will of Emperor Hadrian, his predecessor. After Antoninus Pius became emperor himself, Marc Aureliu married him in the year 145 for his dynastic reasons with his daughter Annia Galeria (or Faustina minoris) and the following year he associated him with the empire's leadership. In 161, Marc Aureliu became Emperor himself.
Marcus Aurelius: Roman Emperor
Marcus Aurelius takes control of the Roman Empire in difficult times, having to deal with threats from different parts. After he managed to stifle the revolts of some Germanic and British tribes in the western part of the country, he was confronted in the year 165 with the invasion of the parties of the Oriental provinces of the empire.
While his brother through adoption, Lucius Verus - associated with the rule of the empire - suffered disastrous defeats, the command of the military command of capable generals, Statius Priscus and Avidius Cassius, allowed the Romans to repress the attacks of the parties, occupying two major cities, Seleucia and Ctesifona. The military triumph is celebrated in Rome, but Roman legions bring with them a terrible epidemic of plague with serious social and economic consequences. In the Danube area, the Germanic tribes Marcomanii and Sarmatii threaten directly northern Italy. The Hasdingi (Vandals) Leaders Raus and Raptus request permission to enter Dacia Trajan in 171. Marc Aureliu takes over the directing of military operations, which will last more than five years, from 169 to 175. Encouraged by a fake rumor about the alleged death of Marc Aureliu, General Avidius Cassius, governor of the provinces of the Syrian area, proclaims in 175 emperor. Marc Aureliu is preparing to set off against the rebel general, but - before a civil war is reached - Cassius is murdered and peace is restored due to the loyalty of the Cappadocia governor, Martius Verus. Marc Aureliu makes peace with the Sarmatians and heads to the eastern provinces, visits Cilicia, Syria, and Egypt, then returns through Smyrna and Athens, where he begins with his son Commodus in the mysteries of Eleusis. During this trip, his wife Faustina dies. He returned to Rome, celebrating the triumph of Marcomans and Sarmatians, and in 177 he assembled Commodus to rule the empire. In the same year he must leave again in the Danubian provinces to repress new revolts of the Germanic tribes. In 180, he died of an infectious disease in the town of Vindobona (today Vienna).
In internal politics, Marc Aureliu has led the affairs of the empire in close collaboration with the Senate and initiated a series of reforms in administrative and legal matters, building schools, hospitals and orphanages. Marc Aureliu's reign was marked by the severe persecution of Christians, as was the case in 177 at Lugdunum (today Lyon).
Marcus Aurelius: philosopher
Since his youth, Marc Aureliu has received a solid education in Greek and Latin rhetoric through his instructors, Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. With the latter he maintained a rich correspondence, partly preserved until today. His philosophical formation was marked by the Stoic doctrine, represented by Epictet, Apollonius of Chalcedony and Sextus of Cheroneia. His only work was written in Greek, Ta eis heauton ("To myself"), later translated into Latin with the title Meditationes in 12 books. Their content has a moral character, a practical philosophy for everyday life. They express the author's conviction that only a moral life according to the laws of nature can achieve inner peace, magnificence and perfection. Man must tend to what is useful and to the extent of the community. Important is the present, neither the future nor the past that weighs. Death is part of Nature, because everything is in constant transformation, according to the eternity in which everything is produced, reproduces and turns to infinity.
Quotes from Marcus Aurelius
- If a man has wronged you with anything, think about what he has on good and evil about committing that mistake.
- Give me the silence of accepting the things I can not change, the courage to change those that can change, and the wisdom to distinguish them from each other.
- The consequences of anger are far more serious than its causes.