Aurelius, Marcus [before adoption, Marcus Annius Verus; as emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus]
- Luca Leoncini
[before adoption, Marcus Annius Verus; as emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus]
(b Rome, 26 April ad 121; regad 161–80; d Vienna, 17 March ad 180).
Roman emperor and patron who, in contrast to the long and pacific reign of his predecessor Antoninus Pius, had to deal with natural disasters, rebellions and attacks by the subject peoples of the Empire. One of the few surviving monuments from his reign is the base of the Column of Antoninus Pius near the Ustrinum in the Campus Martius, which was discovered in 1703 (c.ad 161; Rome, Vatican, Cortile Pigna; see Rome, ancient, §IV, 2, (vii)). A fragment of the column containing an inscription also survives. On the base is represented the apotheosis of the emperor Antoninus Pius, transported to heaven along with his wife Faustina by a winged Genius, while the goddess Roma and the Genius of the Campus Martius look on; the opposite side depicts a decursio (military parade). A triumphal arch dedicated to Marcus Aurelius was built by the senate; this structure may originally have contained both the reliefs that were later reused in the Arch of Constantine (...