ANTHONY BIRLEY MARCUS AURELIUS PDF

Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor who ruled the Roman Empire between AD and , is one of the best recorded individuals from antiquity. Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor who ruled the Roman Empire In this accessible and scholarly study, Professor Birley paints a. MARCUS AURELIUS A Biography By Anthony Birley Yale University Press. pp. $ WHEN PLATO, in The Republic, foresaw no end of.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Anthony Birley – Marcus Aurelius – Routledge. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Sestertius, —8 2 Sabina. Sestertius, —36 3—4 Aelius Caesar. Sestertius, 5 Antoninus Pius.

Medallion, —61 6 Faustina I. Dupondius, 7 Marcus aged seventeen. Sestertius, 8 Marcus aged twenty-six. Sestertius, 9 Faustina II. Aureus, probably late 10 Marcus aged thirty-seven.

Medallion, 11—12 Faustina after the birth of her second set of twins. Sestertius, —2 13—14 Lusius Verus. Sestertius, 15 Lucilla. Medallion, 18 Marcus aged fifty-six, Commodus aged aurelous. Medallion, 19 Crispina, wife of Commodus. Medallion, 21 Pertinax. Sestertius, znthony Caracalla. Medallion, 23 Bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Rome see jarcus, p. Even his face became more than usually familiar: For his childhood and early youth we depend largely on anecdote and reconstruction.

Then aurekius the correspondence of his tutor Fronto, spanning nearly three decades, we have a series of vivid and revealing glimpses into the family life and preoccupations of Marcus and the court. But what made Marcus Aurelius a household name was the private notebook that he kept in his last ten years, the Meditations.

Critics are hard to find — although the author of the Historia Augusta was able to invent a notable one, in his fictional life of Avidius Cassius. Besides him, history presents one or two other sovereigns eminent for their goodness, such as Saint Louis or Alfred.

But Marcus Aurelius has, for us moderns, this great superiority in interest over Saint Louis or Alfred, that he lived and acted in a state of society modern by its essential characteristics, in an epoch akin to our own, in a brilliant centre of civilisation. By its accents of emotion. It enables him to carry even into his observation of nature a delicate penetration, a sympathetic tenderness, worthy of Wordsworth. But Gibbon, Pater and Antuony alike — it is unfortunate — swallowed whole the fictional parts of the Historia Augusta.

The unmasking of the author of that curious work was to begin with Hermann Dessau aurflius and aurleius task of annthony the source continues — spurious items, notably from the Aelius and Avidius Cassius, still infect serious scholarship. If Marcus seemed modern to a mid-Victorian, he might seem less so now. Yet the wars — which were the catalyst for the Meditations — shattered that charmed, golden, civilised Antonine tranquillity.

And, whatever the intentions of the artists who portrayed the campaigns on the Aurelian column, the horror and pathos they evoke match the mood of the Meditations, in which war is scarcely mentioned. I first published a book on Marcus twenty years ago Marcus Aurelius: Readers will wish to know its relationship to the present work.

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I have retained the structure and much of the text. The appendices, notes, bibliography and illustrations are entirely new; considerable parts of each chapter have been amended and enlarged. Aureliuus have benefited a great deal from the work of others registered in the Notes and in Appendix 1. The complex web of family connections which formed the Antonine dynasty is now much better understood although there is room for debate ; and the order of birth of the marcys children of Marcus and Faustina — at least fourteen — is now better known these details are summarised in Appendix 2 and the six stemmata.

Ibrley have taken into account recent research on the Greek intellectual renaissance, on Fronto, and on the emerging Christians Appendix 4. There has been some welcome new epigraphic evidence for the wars Appendix 3.

If this helps readers of the Meditations to understand their author better I shall be content. No one can write a book of this kind without incurring a multitude of debts. I hope that what I owe to published work is properly registered in the notes and bibliography; but I should like to pay special tribute to C. Four of those whose help I gratefully acknowledged twenty years back are now gone, but not forgotten: One factor linked them: Hence it seemed to some contemporary observers and to many subsequent commentators, including Gibbon, that a new principle was then governing the imperial succession: In fact there was no principle or conscious policy at work.

All but Marcus had no son to succeed him, and in any case kinship linked Trajan and Hadrian, Pius and Marcus. In his first work, the biography of his father-in-law Agricola, written at the outset of the new era, Tacitus voices the relief of the senate that their time of servitude was over: It was no longer necessary to flatter the ruler as though he were a god; he contrasted the humanity, frugality, clemency, generosity, kindness, self-restraint, industriousness and bravery of Trajan, who followed Nerva in 98, with the pride, luxury, cruelty, spitefulness, lust, inactivity and cowardice of Domitian.

Tacitus and Pliny were speaking for the senate. To the provincial bourgeoisie and peasantry, on the other hand, the personality of the emperor did not perhaps matter very much. Besides, bad emperors often had good advisers as Trajan is once supposed to have remarked. This was a kind of safeguard. At any rate, since most Roman historians and biographers were members of the senate or linked with that order in their sympathies, the dominant theme of Roman imperial historical writing was the relationship between the emperor and the senate.

Rome had been dominated by one man before, at various stages in the history of the republic, but autocracy began with the victory of Octavian at Actium in 31 BC. Octavian cunningly and wisely concealed his powers, or at least did not flaunt them.

This disarmed opposition and allowed his opponents to preserve a semblance of selfrespect. After years of civil war men were anxious for stability. Exactly when the republic had ceased and the empire had begun was not so obvious. Augustus wanted to appear as no more than primus inter pares. But the man who began life as plain C. Octavius was much more than that. He had first changed his name to C.

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Julius Caesar Octavianus when posthumously adopted by the assassinated dictator Julius Caesar. Imperator, once a title for all Roman commanders, had become a special title of honour, used after their names by generals whose soldiers had thus hailed them at a victory. Octavian abusively turned the title into a kind of name, giving up Gaius — and Julius too, for Caesar now became his family name.

In 27 BC the senate granted him a further name by which he became generally known: Imperator Caesar divi filius Augustus. Other powers and honours followed at various stages in his long life. The old magistracies of the republic continued. He himself held the consulship thirteen times, and one or two of his close associates whom he wished to mark out with special honour also became consul more than once. To satisfy the aspirations of ordinary senators, whose ambition remained the tenure of the fasces, he regularized the institution of the suffect consulship, established originally to replace consuls who had birleyy or been removed from office.

The consules ordinarii, who gave their names to the year, now resigned before completing their year of office to make way for suffecti. This practice greatly increased in subsequent years.

Marcus Aurelius: A Biography – Anthony Birley – Google Books

This allowed them to enter the senate through election as quaestor at the age of twenty-four or twenty- five, after preliminary service in minor magistracies and with the army. Thereafter they could climb the ladder of the senatorial cursus, becoming aedile or tribune of the people, praetor, and, finally, consul. Patricians, the hereditary aristocracy enlarged by Augustus and some of his successorscould move direct from quaestor to praetor and could become consul at thirty-two, ten years earlier than the rest.

The patricians had more chance of becoming consul ordinarius. But very few were consul more than once. Alongside the old magistracies a new career developed.

Some provinces were not given to senators to administer, for various reasons, but to knights, members of the next highest order in the state, who had the title of procurator or prefect.

Other new offices grew up in Rome — for example, prefectures of the treasuries, and of the city of Rome, for senators: In the provinces, he was worshipped as king and god, and his family were sacred.

Suicide of Nero after revolts in western provinces. Murder of Domitian at Rome.

Marcus Aurelius: A Biography

Nerva adopts Trajan as his son 98 January Ceionius Commodus, who becomes L. Aelius Caesar January 1: Aelius Caesar February Aurelius Antoninus, who becomes T. Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus and adopts Marcus and L. Commodus junior July Commodus junior who becomes L. Commodus murdered January 1: Julianus killed at Rome February Augustus was deified by decree of the senate.