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15. Marcus Aurelius & Lucius Verus

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MAureliusFaustinaCoin MarcusAurelius FaustinaYounger Verus MAPAulreliusGerman AntoninusPius

Probably the most underrated emperor of the period, Antoninus Pius was to reign over the last period of complete peace the empire would enjoy.

Succeeding Antoninus Pius, the two joint-rulers were theoretically equals, but Marcus Aurelius (left) dominated the easy-going Lucius Verus (right) by both age and dedication to affairs of state. This seniority was initially accepted in good spirit by the younger man.

AntoninusFaustina Rome900Coin

Antoninus Pius (coin top) and his wife Annia Galeria Faustina (coin and bust) would be remembered as model rulers to whom the wellbeing of the empire and its citizens was paramount.

Left: One of a series of coins struck by Antoninus in AD 147 to celebrate Rome’s 900th birthday. It shows Aeneas fleeing Troy with Ascanius and Anchyses.

Faustina the Younger (bust left and coin with Marcus above), Marcus Aurelius’s wife for 30 years, was tainted by rumors of sexual promiscuity and political intrigue, but staunchly defended by her gentle-minded spouse.

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Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England