Marcus Aurelius
Emperor 'Marcus Aurelius'
Marcus Annius Veras
Born: April 26, 121 AD
Died: March 17, 180 AD
Became Co-Emperor: 161 AD
Became Emperor: 169 AD

Father of Emperor Lucius Aurelius Commodus
Father of Annia Lucilla

Character in Gladiator Portrayed by: Richard Harris

Marcus Annius Veras was born to a prominant family on April 26, 121 AD in Rome. He drew the attention of Emperor Hadrian at a very young age. On February 25, 168 AD, he was adopted by Antonius Pius, who was the successor to Hadrian. He also took the name Marcus Aurelius at this time. Marcus was to become co-emperor with Lucius Ceionius Commodus. When Antonius Pius died in 161 AD, the Senate tried to make Marcus Aurelius the sole emperor, but he reminded them of Hadrian and Antonius' wishes and his adoptive brother Lucius Veras was made co-emperor.

Also in 161 AD, Marcus Aurelius' tenth of fourteen children was born to Marcus and his wife, Faustina the Younger. The child was named Commodus in honor of Marcus' co-emperor and he was the only son to survive childhood. One of the four daughters to survive was Annia Lucilla. Veras died in 169 AD and Marcus Aurelius was now sole emperor. Since 167 AD, the Germanic barbarians had threatened Rome's northern frontier. Marcus Aurelius would oversee years of campaigns against the barbarians until nearly the end of his reign.

Marcus Aurelius was said to be a student of stoic Greek philosophy in spite of the constant warfare in the north. He was cruel to Christians, seeing them as extremists. In 175 AD when Marcus Aurelius fell ill on campaign, a rumor that he had died began back home and a rebellion arose. Afterwards in 177 AD, he made Commodus co-emperor and the two spent 178-180 AD on a successful campaign against the barbarians along the Danube River. On March 17, 180 AD, Marcus Aurelius finally died of illness that had plagued him for years.

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