Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus was Roman Emperor from 161 until his death in 180. Born Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, Marcus Aurelius came first by engagement into the imperial family of Emperor Hadrian. When the seriously ill Hadrian was dying in 138, he adopted the senator Antoninus Pius on the condition that he also takes Marcus Aurelius into his family. Antoninus adhered to the agreement: he married his only daughter Faustina the Younger Marcus Aurelius (whose previous engagement was dissolved for this prestigious connection). Already in 139 Marcus Aurelius was elevated to Caesar and thus the designated successor. He received an intensive, ultimately almost 23 years long training to prepare for government. He distinguished himself especially in the areas of rhetoric and philosophy. He even wrote his own treatise: Meditations.
In 161 he ascended the throne of his deceased father and appointed his adoptive brother Lucius Verus as an equal co-emperor. Staying with the tradition of his family, he gave Verus one of his daughters - Lucilla - to wife. Marcus Aurelius is considered today as a "philosopher on the imperial throne", who also took care of the disadvantaged in his kingdom. This was badly needed: The peace was shook internally by a plague epidemic, a Tiber flood and persecutions of Christians, while the borders in the East were threatened by the Parthians. And finally, the tribe of the Marcomanni from the middle Danube area also beset the empire.
Marcus Aurelius shared many of his coins with his family members. The first denarii - still issued under his adoptive father - show both the portrait of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. After the death of his father, he minted with his brother Lucius Verus. And for a few bronze asses and sestertii, he "lends" his wife Faustina the reverses of his own coins.