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Key information:


Birthdate: April 26, 121 CE.

(Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus, 1.1)

Birthplace: Rome, Italy.

(Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus, 1.1)

Reign: Marcus Aurelius was named emperor in the will of his predecessor, Antoninus Pius, who died on March 7, 161 CE. For the first eight years of his reign, Marcus Aurelius ruled alongside his adoptive brother Lucius Verus. For the final four years, he ruled alongside his son Commodus.

(Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus, 1.6) (Historia Augusta, Life of Lucius Verus, 3) (Historia Augusta, Life of Commodus, 2.4)

Marriages: Marcus Aurelius married Faustina the Younger, the daughter of his predecessor Antoninus Pius, in 145 CE. The two were married for 30 years and were extremely close. After Faustina’s death in 175 CE, Marcus declared her a goddess, built her a temple, and founded a city in her honor. 

Faustina the Younger (145-175 CE)

(Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus, 7 & 26)

Children: Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger had thirteen children together. Only six survived till adulthood.

Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla (daughter)

Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina (daughter)

Annia Aurelia Fadilla (daughter)

​​Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (daughter)

Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (son)

Vibia Aurelia Sabina (daughter)

Death: Marcus Aurelius died of natural causes in Vindobona (modern-day Vienna, Austria). He died on March 17, 180 CE. 

(Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus, 2.28)

Bust of Marcus Aurelius, British Museum, London, March 2022
Column of Marcus Aurelius, Piazza Colonna, Rome, November 2013
Bronze Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, Musei Capitolini, Rome, May 2019.

Famous facts and dates

Marcus Auelius lived in accordance with stoic teachings, and he wrote philosophy in his free time. These writings have come down to us in the form of the Meditations - a collection of personal writings and private notes to himself.
(Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus, 2.16)
Marcus Auelius ruled during the Antonine Plague, an epidemic that killed millions of Romans.
(Eutropius, Short History of the Roman Empire, 8.12)
Marcus Auelius spent much of his time as emperor battling German tribes (Marcomanni, Quadi, Sarmatians) on the Rhine and Danube frontiers.
(Historia Augusta, Life of Marcus, 2.27)
Marcus Aurelius was the last of the so-called “five good emperors,” and his reign marked the end of the pax romana.
(Cassius Dio, Roman History, 72.36) 

Related monuments in Rome

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Cite this page as: Darius Arya, The American Institute for Roman Culture, “Marcus Aurelius” Ancient Rome Live. Last modified 10/24/2022.


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