Marcus Aurelius in Roman Biography

Au-re'll-us An-to-ni'nus, (Marcus,) commonly called Mar'cusAure'lius,[Fr.MARC-AuRELE,miR'korjl', 1 sometimes sumamed the Philosopher, a Roman empeior, celebrated for his wisdom, learning, and virtue, was burn at Rome in April, 121 A.D. He was a son of Annius Verus, who once held the office of praetor. His ohm original name was Marcus Annius Verus. He was educated by able teachers, among whom were Fronto, Apollonius of Chalcis, and Herodes Atticus. In philosophy he was a disciple of the Stoics, of which sect he became an illustrious ornament by his practice as well as by his writings. Having been adopted by Antoninus Pius in 138 a.d., he assumed the name of M. /Elius Aurelius Verus Caesar. In .139 Antoninus, who had just become emperor, associated him in the administration. Aurelius married Faustina, a daughter of Antoninus, about 146 A.D., and succeeded his adopted father in 161, after he had been urged by the senate to accept the throne. He associated with himself in the empire Lucius Commodus, alias Lucius Verus. They reigned harmoniously together until the death of Verus in 169 A.D. His reign was disturbed by many insurrections, and by inroads of northern barbarians, especially the German tribes of the Marcomanni and Quadi. Though he preferred peace, he was almost continually involved in war, in which he acted on the defensive and was generally victorious. He is said to have shown himself a skilful general. He commanded in "erson the army that drove the Marcomanni out of Pannunia. His victory over the Quadi in 174 A.D. is attributed to a miracle by some writers, who affirm that the thirsty Romans were refreshed by a shower during the battle, while the enemy were assailed by a violent storm of hail and lightning. An ancient tradition ascribes this miracle to the prayers of a Christian legion which formed part of the army of Aurelius. In 175 A.D., Avidius Cassius, an able general, who commanded the Roman army in Syria, revolted, declared himself emperor, and made himself master of Egypt and of the part of Asia which lies east of Mount Taurus. He was killed by his own officers in the same year. Aurelius visited Syria, Egypt. Athens, etc., in 176. He was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries at Athens, and on other occasions conformed to the established religious rites. In 177 he associated his son Commodus with himself in the empire. He was engaged in a campaign against the Marcomanni and Quadi, when he died at Siruiium, or at Vindebona, (Vienna,) in March, 180 A.D. Commodus erected to his memory the Antonine column, which stands at Rome in the Piazza Colonna. His thoughts and doctrines were recorded by himself in a Greek work, called "Meditations," which is considered an excellent manual of moral discipline. His biographers find it difficult to explain the persecution which the Christians suffered in his reign, and which is perhaps the only stain on his memory. We learn from one short passage of his writings that he was prejudiced against the Christians. No monarch was ever more beloved by his subjects. He acquired the boasted equanimity of the Stoic philosophy, without the asperity which was a characteristic of the Stoics in general. A good English version of "The Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus," by George Long, appeared in 1862. See Cakitolinus, "Marcus Antoninus Philosophus ;" Tii.lemont. " Histoire des Empereurs;" Ripault, "Histoire (ie TEmpereur Marc-Antonin," 5 vols., 1S20; Dion Cassius, lib. Ixxi.; Fabricius "Bibliotheca Grajca ;" De Suckau, "Etude sur Marc Aurele," 1857; Aurelius Victor, " De Ca:saribus Historia." See also the notice

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