Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, 121 - 180

portrait of Marcus Aurelius
Bust of Marcus Aurelius in the Glyptothek, Munich

Born: 26 April 0121, Rome
Died: 17 March 0180, Vindobona (Vienna)

Marcus Annius Catilius Severus was born to Spanish parents at Rome on this day in 121. He was a serious and studious child and came to the attention of the emperor Hadrian. Hadrian adopted Antoninus on the condition that he in turn adopt Marcus, establishing the succession. At this time he was called Aurelius, the golden one. During Antoninus' peaceful reign, Aurelius was a diligent administrator, a priest in the state religion, and a stoic philosopher. In 161 he became emperor and was crowned as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. At that time, the empire was under attack first by Parthia, then smallpox brought back by the troops, and then by Germanic tribes; Aurelius spent most of his reign in the field commanding his troops. During these campaigns he wrote "The Meditations" in Greek, most quotes that survive are from that volume.

Biography from Wikipedia and De Imperatoribus Romanis

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