|26th of April, 121
|17th of March, 180
|“You have power over your mind-not outside events.”
|Waging a series of defensive wars over his lifetime, bolstering the economy of the Roman Empire, writing on of the most influential books of all time
|Region of World
|Roman Empire, 1st century AD
|Who Ruled The Roman Empire At Its Peak
Emperor Marcus Aurelius would rule Rome as the last of the Five Good Emperors during the late 1st century AD. Over the course of his reign Marcus Aurelius would have 3 great accomplishments that marked the pinnacle of Roman power.
Emperor Marcus Aurelius today is remembered for his 3 great accomplishments. First, Marcus Aurelius managed to successfully wage a series of defensive wars across the Empire. Second, Marcus Aurelius was an expert of imperial administration helping to improve the efficiency of the Empire. Third, Marcus Aurelius would write one of the most influential books of all time, Meditations.
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Without further ado, here are the 3 great accomplishments of Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius Would Wage A Series Of Defensive Wars Around The Roman Empire
One of the great accomplishments of Emperor Marcus Aurelius was successfully fighting a series of defensive wars over his reign.
Marcus Aurelius is known as one of the few emperors who spent the entirety of their reign on military campaigns. Marcus Aurelius was not a military commander and hated the constant travel and military actions.
However, almost immediately upon ascending to the Roman throne after the death of Antoninus Pius in 161 AD Marcus Aurelius would engage in a war with Parthia in modern Syria.
Vologases IV of Parthia decided to invade the Roman ally of the Kingdom of Armenia and install a new king loyal to him. This forced Marcus Aurelius to direct considerable resources to fighting against Parthia from 161-166 AD.
Several legions were lost in the fighting and as such lesions from the northern borders of Germany had to be moved to reinforce the war with Parthia. As these lesions left it began to destabilize the northern border with the Germanic tribes.
Sometime in early 166 AD a coalition of German tribes marched across the Danube and began raiding the Roman province of Gaul. Since Marcus Aurelius had to remove legions to reinforce the Parthian war these tribes encountered little resistance for a while.
From 166 up through 180 AD Marcus Aurelius would engage in a series of wars with the revolting Germanic tribes that invaded Roman land. Emperor Marcus Aurelius would die from natural causes sometime in 180 AD while fighting the Germanic tribes.
As such one of the great accomplishments of Marcus Aurelius was successfully fighting a series of defensive wars over the course of his reign.
Emperor Marcus Aurelius Would Efficiently Manage The Empire Leaving It With An Incredibly Efficient Bureaucracy
One of the great accomplishments of Emperor Marcus Aurelius was that he efficiently managed the empire and left it in a state of near perfect autonomy.
Unlike previous emperors Marcus Aurelius was not trained in a traditional way. He would not serve in the Roman military learning how to command and fight in wars. Instead he would spend his time learning about legal theory and Roman history.
This made Marcus Aurelius an extremely efficient administrator of the Empire. While we don’t have many sources detailing the level of this administration we do know 3 things.
First, Emperor Marcus Aurelius would spend most of his time weighing in on provincial disputes and hearing petitions. While previous emperors have done this Marcus Aurelius was a master at navigating the complex laws of the Roman Empire.
Second, Marcus Aurelius would increase the value of the Roman currency. After winning the Parthian war in 166 AD Aurelius would push for the silver content in Roman coins to go from 79% up to around 82% to combat inflation. This action had an initial positive effect upon the Roman economy but would lead to problems later on.
Third, Emperor Marcus Aurelius would use the Roman Senate to help administer the empire. We have primary source evidence that Emperor Marcus Aurelius would actively use the senate to raise funds and help administer the Empire with him.
Because of these 3 reasons Emperor Marcus Aurelius was known to be an incredibly efficient administrator of the Empire. While we don’t have much primary sources regarding his actions as Emperor we do have accounts of his contemporaries calling him the most just and wise ruler ever.
As such one of the great accomplishments of Emperor Marcus Aurelius was that he was a skilled administrator of the entire Empire.
Marcus Aurelius Would Write One Of The Most Influential Books Of All Time Meditations
One of the greatest accomplishments of Emperor Marcus Aurelius was that he wrote one of the most influential books of all time, Meditations.
Emperor Marcus Aurelius was a practitioner of the philosophy of stoicism. He would only focus upon what he could control and work everyday to make his life and those around him better.
This style of philosophy was common during the 1st century AD in Rome. We have accounts of far older Romans during the late Roman Republic who practiced stoicism such as Cicero.
However, what made Meditations so unique was that it was written in a journal form for the Emperor Marcus Aurelius to reflect upon those who have inspired him and his actions.
Marcus Aurelius would write this book over the last 10 years of his life. This was a time period where he would engage in constant battles with the Germanic tribes along the northern frontier.
Meditations today remains one of the most influential books of all time. Famous leaders around the world read it to gain inspiration on how they should act and lead a state.
As such one of the greatest accomplishments of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius was that he wrote one of the most successful books of all time, Meditations.
There you have it; the 3 great accomplishments of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Prospective history students will find substantial research material regarding the reign of Marcus Aurelius. After his death in 180 AD his son Commodus would become the next emperor of Rome and lead to a downfall of Roman power.
Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the internet.
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