Genuine Ancient Roman bronze coin 2nd century AD Pendant depicting Emperor Marcus Aurelius
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Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD and a stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors, and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. He served as Roman consul in 140, 145, and 161.
Marcus was born during the reign of Hadrian to the emperor's nephew, the praetor Marcus Annius Verus (III), and his wife, the heiress Domitia Lucilla. Following the death of his father, Marcus was raised by his mother and grandfather, Marcus Annius Verus. After Hadrian's adoptive son, Aelius Caesar, died in 138, the emperor adopted Marcus' uncle Antoninus Pius as his new heir. In turn, Antoninus adopted Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius (later to rule as Emperor Lucius Verus alongside Marcus). Hadrian died that year and Antoninus became emperor. Now the heir to the throne, Marcus studied Greek and Latin under tutors such as Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterward. Marcus married Antoninus' daughter Faustina in 145. Antoninus died following an illness in 161.