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Marcus Aurelius, surnamed Philosophus, born at Rome A.D. 121. His real name was M. Annius Verus; at the desire of the emperor Hadrian he was adopted by his successor T. Aurelius Antoninus Pius, married his daughter Faustina, and became emperor in A.D. 161. During his benevolent reign the empire had to face dire distresses, famine, pestilence, and constant wars with the Parthians in the east, and the Marcomanni and other Germans in the north, during which he proved himself a prudent and active sovereign. In the midst of a new war with the already vanquished Marcomanni he died in A.D. 180, probably at Sirmium in Pannonia. In his youth he was a pupil of the orator Fronto, and loved him warmly to the last, even after giving up rhetoric and devoting himself to the Stoic philosophy. The gentleness and amiability of his nature comes out both in his letters to FRONTO (q.v.) and in his Self-contemplations, which are the moral reflections of a Stoic in clumsy, over-concise, and often obscure Greek.
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