What is Marcus Aurelius known for?

Marcus Aurelius or Mark Aurel, full name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, actually Marcus Annius Verus (121-180), Roman Emperor (161-180) from the Antonine dynasty. He was born on April 20, 121 in Rome as the son of Annius Verus and was a nephew by marriage of the later Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (reign 138-161), who had to adopt him at the request of his predecessor Hadrian. After Antoninus Pius came to power, he married Marcus Aurelius 145 for dynastic reasons with his daughter Annia Galeria (Faustina the Younger) and made him co-regent the following year. In 161 Marcus Aurelius became emperor. His reign was marked by fierce defensive battles on the borders in the north and east of the empire. After suppressing uprisings in Germany and Britain, he succeeded in repelling the Parthian invasions from Syria. However, he could not prevent the returning legions from bringing in the plague. In the same year, incursions of Germanic tribes, especially the Marcomanni, led to renewed border battles on the Rhine and Danube, which lasted until the end of his reign. After making his son Commodus co-regent in 176, he died on March 17, 180 before the end of the war in Vindobona (now Vienna). Domestically, he governed largely in agreement with the Senate and undertook various reforms in the judiciary and administration, which he expanded further. He implemented a series of aid measures for the needy population, for which he founded schools, orphanages and hospitals and reduced the tax burden. Marcus Aurelius was highly educated, well trained in rhetoric, and heavily influenced by the philosophy of the Stoa. His self-contemplation (Greek Ta eis heauton: To oneself), a compendium of twelve books on moral principles that he had written in Greek during his various campaigns, was a widely read work in antiquity and in the Middle Ages. It shows his conviction that only a moral life leads to inner calm and reflects his ethics of altruism and self-improvement. The only ancient equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius is also preserved, which was created during his reign and was brought to Capitol Square in Rome in the first half of the 16th century.

Marcus Aurelius, full name Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus (121-180), Roman emperor (161-180) and Stoic philosopher. Marcus Aurelius, whose original name was Marcus Annius Verus, was born in Rome on April 20, 121, the nephew by marriage of Antoninus Pius, later emperor. After the latter succeeded to power, he adopted his nephew and married him to his daughter (145). Marcus Aurelius became emperor in 161, and throughout his reign was engaged in defensive wars on the northern and eastern frontiers of the empire. His legions succeeded in repelling the Parthian invasion of Syria 166, but Rome was again forced into battle in 167 by the Germanic tribes on the Rhine-Danube frontier. Marcus Aurelius returned to Rome intermittently during the German campaign to undertake legal and administrative reforms. Although he was particularly concerned with public welfare and even sold his personal possessions to alleviate the effects of famine and plague within the empire, he ruthlessly persecuted the Christians, believing them a threat to the imperial system. In 176 he returned to the northern frontier, hoping to extend the boundaries of the empire north-eastwards to the Wisla river. He died of the plague in Vindobona (now Vienna) on March 17, 180, before he could begin the invasion. His plan was abandoned by his son and successor, Commodus. In his domestic policy Marcus Aurelius was a champion of the poor, for whom he founded schools, orphanages, and hospitals and alleviated the burden of taxes. He also tried to humanize criminal laws and the treatment of slaves by their masters. As a philosopher he is remembered for his Meditations, a compendium of 12 books of moral precepts written in Greek while on his various campaigns. The work is an important formulation of the philosophy of Stoicism and reveals his belief that the moral life leads to tranquility. It stresses the virtues of wisdom, justice, fortitude, and moderation.

Marco Aurelio (Roma 121 - Vindobona o Sirmio 180 d.C.), imperatore romano (161-180), seguace della dottrina filosofica dello stoicismo. Di famiglia proveniente dalla provincia della Betica, alla morte del padre Marco Annio Vero, per volere dell'imperatore Adriano venne adottato dal successore di questi Antonino Pio, che gli diede in sposa la figlia Faustina (145). Nel 161 fu incoronato imperatore, condividendo l'impero con il fratello adottivo Lucio Vero. Marco Aurelio fu costretto a fronteggiare continue guerre lungo le frontiere settentrionali e orientali dell'impero: nel 166 fermò i parti in Siria, nel 167 affrontò le tribù germaniche (soprattutto quadi, iazigi e marcomanni) sulla frontiera Reno-Danubio militari, alternando le campagne con soggiorni a Roma, dove varò riforme amministrative e legislative finalizzate a riorganizzare l'impero. Per Finanziare l'esercito, decimato da carestie e pestilenze, non esitò a vendere i propri tesori e a mettere all'asta i palazzi imperiali. Perseguitò i cristiani, che riteneva una minaccia al sistema imperiale. Una serie di vittorie sui germani lo spinse nel 176 a tornare sul fronte settentrionale per estendere i confini dell'impero al di là della Vistola, ma morì di peste il 17 March 180 prima di dare inizio all'invasione. In politica interna, Marco Aurelio si adoperò per tutelare i diritti dei poveri e dei minori, costruendo scuole, orfanotrofi e ospedali; varò leggi più benevole nei confronti degli schiavi. Nella vita pubblica e privata rifuggì lo sfarzo e l'ostentazione del lusso. Come filosofo è celebre per i Ricordi o Colloqui con se stesso, un compendio di dodici volumi di precetti morali, scritto in lingua greca durante le numerose campagne militari. L'opera esalta le virtù della saggezza, della giustizia, del coraggio e della moderazione, ispirandosi allo stoicismo; ne emergono pessimismo e angoscia di fronte al tema della morte e la convinzione che solo una vita onesta dà tranquillità.

Source: Microsoft Encarta