By Anthony R Birley

An available and scholarly examine of an emperor who was once human and simply all through his lengthy reign which was once often punctuated by means of wars with the northern tribes.

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Marcus Aurelius

An available and scholarly examine of an emperor who was once human and simply all through his lengthy reign which used to be often punctuated through wars with the northern tribes.

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On the other hand, had his answer been negative, his position in any future reign, let alone for the remainder of that of Hadrian, would have been almost intolerable. 47 How soon Antoninus accepted the offer is not recorded. But the ceremony of adoption did not come for another four weeks, on 25 February. In accordance with Hadrian’s wishes, Antoninus, who now became Imperator T. Aelius Aurelius Caesar Antoninus, adopted in his turn his nephew Marcus and the young Lucius Commodus. These boys now became M.

Lying on his couch he made a short speech to them, the gist of which is recorded by Cassius Dio: ‘Nature has not permitted me to have a son, my friends, but you have made it possible through law. There is this difference between the two sorts of son: a son that one has begotten turns out to be whatever sort of man heaven pleases; an adopted son is one that a man takes to himself as the result of deliberate choice. A son that is born may be mentally defective or a cripple. One that is chosen will certainly be of sound body and mind.

On his visit to Egypt Hadrian had lost his favourite, the beautiful Bithynian youth, Antinous. He was inconsolable for a time, and the dead youth was deified – a subject for considerable gossip among the aristocracy. Hadrian was no longer as fit as he had been, although in 132 he was only fifty-six years old. The question of the succession began to loom up. In 134 Hadrian made his brother-inlaw, the aged Servianus, now nearly ninety, consul for the third time. The belated distinction may have led Servianus to hope for more – even though Annius Verus, Marcus’ grandfather, had received a like honour.

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