Marcus Aurelius was born April 26, 121, and was adopted by his grandfather, Annius Verus, when he was still a boy. Marcus received his formal education from close relatives and tutors of distinction. From his earliest years he enjoyed the friendship of the Emperor Hadrian, who bestowed on him the honor of the equestrian order when he was only six years old and made him a member of the Salian priesthood at age 8. To honor his appreciative father, Marcus changed his name to, Marcus Aurelius Antonius. He was raised to the consularship in 140, and in 147 received the "tribunician power".
From 161- 169, Marcus served a co-reign with his brother, Lucius Verus. In the 160s, they battled with the Parthian empire for control over lands in the East. Verus oversaw the war effort while Marcus Aurelius stayed in Rome. Much of their success in this conflict has been attributed to the generals working under Verus, especially Avidius Cassius. He was later made governor of Syria. Returning soldiers brought some type of disease back with them to Rome, which lingered for years and wiped out a portion of the population. As the Parthian War ended, the two rulers had to face another military conflict with German tribes in the late 160s. German tribes crossed the Danube River and attacked a Roman city. After raising the necessary funds and troops, Marcus Aurelius and Verus went off to fight the invaders. Verus died in 169 so Marcus Aurelius pushed on alone, attempting to drive away the Germans.
In 175, he faced another challenge—this time for his very position. After hearing a rumor about Marcus Aurelius being deathly ill, Avidius Cassius claimed the title of emperor for himself. This forced Marcus Aurelius to travel to the East to regain control. But he did not have to fight Cassius as he was murdered by his own soldiers. Instead Marcus Aurelius toured eastern provinces with his wife, re-establishing his authority. Unforunately, Faustina died... [continues]
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