The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about 166 until 180 AD. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against, the Germanic Marcomanni and Quadi and the Sarmatian Iazyges; the struggle against the Germans and Sarmatians occupied the major part of the reign of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, it was during his campaigns against them that he started writing his philosophical work Meditations, whose book 1 bears the note "Among the Quadi at the Granua". During the years succeeding the rule of Antoninus Pius, the Roman Empire began to be attacked on all sides. A war with Parthia lasted from 161 to 166 and, although it ended its unforeseen consequences for the Empire were great; the returning troops brought with them a plague, which would kill an estimated 5 million people weakening the Empire. At the same time, in Central Europe, the first movements of the Great Migrations were occurring, as the Goths began moving south-east from their ancestral lands at the mouth of River Vistula, putting pressure on the Germanic tribes from the north and east.
As a result, Germanic tribes and other nomadic peoples launched raids south and west across Rome's northern border into Gaul and across the Danube. Beginning in 162 and continuing until 165, an invasion of Chatti and Chauci in the provinces of Raetia and Germania Superior was repulsed. In late 166 or early 167, a force of 6,000 Langobardi and Lacringi invaded Pannonia; this invasion was defeated by local forces with relative ease, but they marked the beginning of what was to come. In their aftermath, the military governor of Pannonia, Marcus Iallius Bassus, initiated negotiations with 11 tribes. In these negotiations, the Marcomannic king Ballomar, a Roman client, acted as a mediator. In the event, a truce was agreed upon and the tribes withdrew from Roman territory, but no permanent agreement was reached. In the same year and the Sarmatian Iazyges invaded Dacia, succeeded in killing its governor, Calpurnius Proculus. To counter them, Legio V Macedonica, a veteran of the Parthian campaign, was moved from Moesia Inferior to Dacia Superior, closer to the enemy.
During that time, as plague was ravaging the empire, Marcus Aurelius was unable to do more, the punitive expedition he was planning to lead in person was postponed until 168. In the spring of that year, Marcus Aurelius, together with Lucius Verus, set forth from Rome, established their headquarters at Aquileia; the two emperors supervised a reorganization of the defences of Italy and the Illyricum, raised two new legions, Legio II Italica and Legio III Italica, crossed the Alps into Pannonia. The Marcomanni and the Victuali had crossed the Danube into the province, but, at least according to the Historia Augusta, the approach of the imperial army to Carnuntum was sufficient to persuade them to withdraw and offer assurances of good conduct; the two emperors returned to Aquileia for the winter, but on the way, in January 169, Lucius Verus died. Marcus returned to Rome to oversee his co-emperor's funeral. In the autumn of 169, Marcus set out from Rome, together with his son-in-law Claudius Pompeianus, who would become his closest aide during the war.
The Romans had gathered their forces and intended to subdue the independent tribes, who lived between the Danube and the Roman province of Dacia. The Iazyges killed Claudius Fronto, Roman governor of Lower Moesia. However, while the Roman army was entangled in this campaign, making little headway, several tribes used the opportunity to cross the frontier and raid Roman territory. To the east, the Costoboci crossed the Danube, ravaged Thrace and descended into the Balkans, reaching Eleusis, near Athens, where they destroyed the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries; the most important and dangerous invasion, was that of the Marcomanni in the west. Their leader, had formed a coalition of Germanic tribes, they crossed the Danube and won a decisive victory over a force of 20,000 Roman soldiers near Carnuntum, in what is sometimes known the Battle of Carnuntum. Ballomar led the larger part of his host southwards towards Italy, while the remainder ravaged Noricum; the Marcomanni razed besieged Aquileia.
This was the first time that hostile forces had entered Italy since 101 BC, when Gaius Marius defeated the Cimbri. The army of praetorian prefect Titus Furius Victorinus tried to relieve the city, but was defeated and its general slain. There is no consensus amongst scholars as to the year that the great Gemanic invasion towards Aquileia took place. Several authors, like Marcus Aurelius' biographer Frank McLynn, accepting the date of defeat near Carnuntum as 170, place the great Germanic invasion itself three years earlier, they maintain it happened in 167 because by the year 170 the Germans would have been checked by the Praetentura Italiae et Alpium—the fortifications which were erected in 168–169 to block a breakthrough of the Alps to Northern Italy – whereas all sources confirm it to be a military walkover. A further argument is that the panic which gripped Rome in 167–168 would make no sense if the Germanic tribes were still on the opposite side of the Danube. No source mentions the emperor being near the front when the disaster occurred, whereas
The Severan dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 193 and 235. The dynasty was founded by the general Septimius Severus, who rose to power as the victor of the Civil War of 193–197. Although Septimius Severus restored peace following the upheaval of the late 2nd century, the dynasty was disturbed by unstable family relationships, as well as constant political turmoil foreshadowing the imminent Crisis of the Third Century, it was one of the last lineages of the Principate founded by Augustus. For dynastic relationships: see Severan dynasty family tree Lucius Septimius Severus was born to a family of Phoenicia equestrian rank in Leptis Magna, the Roman province of Africa proconsularis, in modern-day Libya, he rose through military service to consular rank under the Antonines. He married Syrian noblewoman Julia Domna and had two children with her and Geta, he was subsequently proclaimed emperor in 193 by his legionaries in Noricum during the political unrest that followed the death of Commodus, he secured sole rule over the empire in 197 after defeating his last rival, Clodius Albinus, at the Battle of Lugdunum.
Severus fought a successful war against the Parthians and campaigned with success against barbarian incursions in Roman Britain, rebuilding Hadrian's Wall. In Rome, his relations with the Senate were poor, but he was popular with the commoners, as with his soldiers, whose salary he raised. Starting in 197, his Praetorian prefect Gaius Fulvius Plautianus was a negative influence, he would be executed in 205. One of Plautianus's successors was the jurist Aemilius Papinianus. Severus continued official persecution of Christians and Jews, as they were the only two groups who would not assimilate their beliefs to the official syncretistic creed. Severus died, he was succeeded by his sons Caracalla and Geta, who reigned under the influence of their mother, Julia Domna. The eldest son of Severus, he was born Lucius Septimius Bassianus in Gaul. "Caracalla" was a nickname referring to the Gallic hooded tunic he habitually wore when he slept. Upon his father's death, Caracalla was proclaimed co-emperor with his brother Geta.
Conflict between the two culminated in the assassination of the latter less than a year after their father's death. Reigning alone, Caracalla was noted for lavish bribes to the legionaries and unprecedented cruelty, authorizing numerous assassinations of perceived enemies and rivals, he campaigned with indifferent success against the Alamanni. The Baths of Caracalla in Rome are the most enduring monument of his rule, he was assassinated while en route to a campaign against the Parthians by a Praetorian Guard. Younger son of Severus, Geta was made co-emperor with his older brother Caracalla upon his father's death. Unlike the much more successful joint reign of Marcus Aurelius and his brother Lucius Verus in the previous century, relations were hostile between the two Severan brothers from the start. Geta was assassinated in his mother's apartments by order of Caracalla, who thereafter ruled as sole Augustus. Marcus Opelius Macrinus was born in 164 at Caesarea Mauretaniae. Although coming from a humble background, not dynastically related to the Severan dynasty.
On account of the cruelty and treachery of the emperor, Macrinus became involved in a conspiracy to kill him, ordered the Praetorian Guard to do so. On April 8, 217, Caracalla was assassinated travelling to Carrhae. Three days Macrinus was declared Augustus, his most significant early decision was to make peace with the Parthians, but many thought that the terms were degrading to the Romans. However, his downfall was his refusal to award the pay and privileges promised to the eastern troops by Caracalla, he kept those forces wintered in Syria, where they became attracted to the young Elagabalus. After months of mild rebellion by the bulk of the army in Syria, Macrinus took his loyal troops to meet the army of Elagabalus near Antioch. Despite a good fight by the Praetorian Guard, his soldiers were defeated. Macrinus managed to escape to Chalcedon but his authority was lost: he was betrayed and executed after a short reign of just 14 months. Marcus Opelius Diadumenianus was the son of Macrinus, born in 208.
He was given the title Caesar in 217. After his father's defeat outside Antioch, he tried to escape east to Parthia, but was captured and killed before he could achieve this. Elagabalus was born Varius Avitus Bassianus in 204, became known as Marcus Aurelius Antonius; the name "Elagabalus" followed the Latin nomenclature for the Syrian sun god Elagabal, of whom he had become a priest at an early age. Elagabal was represented by a dark rock called a baetyl. Elagabalus's grandmother, Julia Maesa, Julia Domna's sister and sister-in-law of Emperor Septimius Severus, arranged for the restoration of the Severan dynasty, persuaded soldiers from The Gallic Third Legion who were stationed near Emesa, using her enormous wealth, as well as the claim that Caracalla had slept with her daughter and that the boy was his bastard to swear fealty to Elagabalus, he was invited alongside his mother and daughters to the military camp, clad in imperial purple, crowned as emperor by the soldiers. His reign in Rome has long been known for being outrageous, although the historical sources are few, in many cases not to be trusted.
He is said to have smothered guests at a banquet by flooding the room with rose petals, married his male lover, married a vestal virgin. Dio suggests he
Roman Britain was the area of the island of Great Britain, governed by the Roman Empire, from 43 to 410 AD. It comprised the whole of England and Wales and, for a short period, southern Scotland. Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 54 BC as part of his Gallic Wars. According to Caesar, the Britons had been overrun or culturally assimilated by other Celtic tribes during the British Iron Age and had been aiding Caesar's enemies, he received tribute, installed a friendly king over the Trinovantes, returned to Gaul. Planned invasions under Augustus were called off in 34, 27, 25 BC. In 40 AD, Caligula assembled 200,000 men at the Channel on the continent, only to have them gather seashells according to Suetonius as a symbolic gesture to proclaim Caligula's victory over the sea. Three years Claudius directed four legions to invade Britain and restore an exiled king over the Atrebates; the Romans defeated the Catuvellauni, organized their conquests as the Province of Britain. By the year 47, the Romans held the lands southeast of the Fosse Way.
Control over Wales was delayed by reverses and the effects of Boudica's uprising, but the Romans expanded northward. The conquest of Britain continued under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who expanded the Roman Empire as far as Caledonia. In the summer of 84, Agricola faced the armies of the Caledonians, led by Calgacus, at the Battle of Mons Graupius. Battle casualties were estimated by Tacitus to be around the 10,000's on the Caledonian side and about 360 on the Roman side; the bloodbath at Mons Graupius concluded the forty-year conquest of Britain, a period that saw between 100,000 and 250,000 Britons killed. In the context of pre-industrial warfare and of a total population of Britain of c.2 million, these are high figures. Under the 2nd-century emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, two walls were built to defend the Roman province from the Caledonians, whose realms in the Scottish Highlands were never controlled. Around 197, the Severan Reforms divided Britain into two provinces: Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior.
During the Diocletian Reforms, at the end of the 3rd century, Britannia was divided into four provinces under the direction of a vicarius, who administered the Diocese of the Britains. A fifth province, Valentia, is attested in the 4th century. For much of the period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian invasions and came under the control of imperial usurpers and imperial pretenders; the final Roman withdrawal from Britain occurred around 410. Following the conquest of the Britons, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged as the Romans introduced improved agriculture, urban planning, industrial production, architecture; the Roman goddess Britannia became the female personification of Britain. After the initial invasions, Roman historians only mention Britain in passing. Thus, most present knowledge derives from archaeological investigations and occasional epigraphic evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an emperor. Roman citizens settled in Britain from many parts of the Empire.
Britain was known to the Classical world. The Greeks referred to the Cassiterides, or "tin islands", placed them near the west coast of Europe; the Carthaginian sailor Himilco is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC and the Greek explorer Pytheas in the 4th. It was regarded with some writers refusing to believe it existed at all; the first direct Roman contact was when Julius Caesar undertook two expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, as part of his conquest of Gaul, believing the Britons were helping the Gallic resistance. The first expedition was more a reconnaissance than a full invasion and gained a foothold on the coast of Kent but was unable to advance further because of storm damage to the ships and a lack of cavalry. Despite the military failure it was a political success, with the Roman Senate declaring a 20-day public holiday in Rome to honour the unprecedented achievement of obtaining hostages from Britain and defeating Belgian tribes on returning to the continent; the second invasion involved a larger force and Caesar coerced or invited many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute and give hostages in return for peace.
A friendly local king, was installed, his rival, was brought to terms. Hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether any tribute was paid after Caesar returned to Gaul. Caesar conquered no territory and left no troops behind but he established clients and brought Britain into Rome's sphere of influence. Augustus planned invasions in 34, 27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo, writing late in Augustus's reign, claimed that taxes on trade brought in more annual revenue than any conquest could. Archaeology shows. Strabo mentions British kings who sent embassies to Augustus and Augustus's own Res Gestae refers to two British kings he received as refugees; when some of Tiberius's ships were carried to Britain in a storm during his campaigns in Germany in 16 AD, they came back with tales of monsters. Rome appears to have encouraged a balance of power in southern Britain, supporting two powerful kingdoms: the Catuvellauni, ruled by the descendants of Tasciovanus, the Atrebates, ruled by the descendants of Commius.
This policy was followed until 39 or 40
Commodus, born Lucius Aurelius Commodus and died Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, was Roman emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 to his father's death in 180, until 192. During his father's reign, he accompanied Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars in 172 and on a tour of the Eastern provinces in 176, he was made the youngest consul in Roman history in 177 and that year elevated to co-emperor with his father. His accession was the first time a son had succeeded his biological father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79, he was the first emperor to have both a father and grandfather as the two preceding emperors. Commodus was the first emperor "born in the purple", i.e. during his father's reign. During his solo reign, the Empire enjoyed a period of reduced military conflict compared with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, but intrigues and conspiracies abounded, leading Commodus to an dictatorial style of leadership that culminated in a God-like personality cult, his assassination in 192 marked the end of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty.
He was succeeded by the first emperor in the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. Commodus was born on 31 August AD 161 near Rome, he was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, Aurelius's first cousin, Faustina the Younger, the youngest daughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius, who had died only a few months before. Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with Marcus Annius Verus; the latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus Aurelius's sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father's physician, who treated many of Commodus' common illnesses. Commodus received extensive tutoring by a multitude of teachers with a focus on intellectual education. Among his teachers, Antistius Capella, Titus Aius Sanctus, Pitholaus are mentioned. Commodus is known to have been at Carnuntum, the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars, in 172.
It was there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus, in the presence of the army. The title suggests. On 20 January 175, Commodus entered the College of Pontiffs, the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius, Governor of Syria, declared himself Emperor following rumours that Marcus Aurelius had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria and Egypt, Cassius carried on his rebellion after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, Commodus assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood. Cassius, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch; the Emperor and his son traveled to Athens, where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. They returned to Rome in the autumn of 176.
Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor since Vespasian to have a legitimate biological son and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors, each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius granted Commodus the rank of Imperator and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus, giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph, Commodus was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time, he subsequently married Bruttia Crispina before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178. Marcus Aurelius died there on 17 March 180. Upon his ascension, Commodus devalued the Roman currency, he reduced the weight of the denarius from 96 per Roman pound to 105 per Roman pound.
He reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent – the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams being 108 to the Roman pound. His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire's first devaluation during Nero's reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by continuous warfare, Commodus' rule was comparatively peaceful in the military sense, but was characterised by political strife and the arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius, a contemporary observer of the period, his accession marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust". Despite his notoriety, considering the importance of his reign, Commodus' years in power are not well chronicled; the principal surviving literary sources are Herodian, Dio Cassius, the Historia Augusta. Commodus remained with the Danube armies for only a short time before negotiating a
Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus
Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus was a politician and military commander during the 2nd century in the Roman Empire. A general under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Pompeianus distinguished himself during Rome's wars against the Parthians and the Marcomanni, he was a member of the imperial family due to his marriage to Lucilla, a daughter of Marcus Aurelius, was a key figure during the Emperor's reign. Pompeianus was offered the imperial throne three times, though he refused to claim the title for himself. A native of Antioch in Syria, Pompeianus was from humble origins, his father was a member of the Equestrian Order. As indicated by his name, his family first received their Roman citizenship during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Pompeianus was a new man. Much of Pompeianus' early life has been lost to history, he participated in the Roman–Parthian War of 161–166 under the command of Emperor Lucius Verus as a Legionary Commander. Sometime prior to the Parthian campaign, he was elevated to the rank of Senator.
He served with distinction during the war, earning him appointment as Suffect Consul for the remainder of the year 162 AD. Following the completion the Parthian campaign, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius appointed him military governor of Pannonia Inferior on the Empire's northern frontier along the Danube River, he served from 164 until 168. In late 166 or early 167, a force of 6,000 Lombards invaded Pannonia. Pompeianus defeated the invasion with relative ease, but it marked the beginning of a larger barbarian invasion. Late in 167 the Marcomanni tribe invaded the Empire by crossing in Pannonia. Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus planned a punitive expedition to drive the barbarians back across the Danube River, but due to the effects of the Antonine Plague, the expedition was postponed until early 168. Aided by Pompeianus, the two Emperors were able to force the Marcomanni to retreat. Pompeianus' military skills earned him the confidence of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and he became one of the Emperor's closest advisors.
As the Emperors returned to their winter quarters in Aquileia, Lucius Verus fell ill and died in January 169. Following the death of Lucius Verus, Marcus Aurelius arranged for his daughter Lucilla, Verus' widow, to marry Pompeianus; as son-in-law to the Emperor, Pompeianus became a member of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty. The Emperor offered to name Pompeianus as Caesar and his heir, but Pompeianus refused to accept the title. Instead, Pompeianus was promoted and served as the Emperor's chief general during the Marcommanic War. Under his guidance, the exiled Senator and fellow Parthian war veteran Pertinax was recalled and joined Pompeianus on his military staff. Pompeianus' successes during the Marcommanic War further distinguished him, with the Emperor awarding him a second Consulship in 173, he took part in a number of military operations in the Danubian region and was still stationed in the region following the death of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius died in 180 AD, his 18-year-old son Commodus, Pompeianus' brother-in-law, was proclaimed Emperor.
Pompeianus tried to persuade Commodus to remain on the Danubian frontier to complete the conquest of the Marcommani, but Commodus refused and returned to Rome in the autumn of 180. The relationship between the young emperor and the experienced officer deteriorated. In 182, Pompeianus' wife and Commodus' sister, organized a failed assassination attempt against the Emperor. Though Commodus executed Lucilla and other members of her family, Pompeianus had not participated in the conspiracy and was spared. Following the conspiracy, Pompeianus withdrew from public life, citing old age, retired to his estates in Italy, he spent most of his time in the country away from Rome, claiming age and an ailment of the eyes as an excuse. Commodus was assassinated in 192 AD by members of the Praetorian Guard. Pompeianus returned to Rome once the plot against Commodus succeeded, resuming his seat in the Senate. Pertinax, the Urban Prefect at the time, offered the throne to Pompeianus, but he declined the offer; the Praetorian Guard proclaimed Pertinax as Emperor, but he was assassinated by the Praetorians after only 87 days for attempting to impose order upon the long-undisciplined unit.
Senator Didius Julianus, after becoming Emperor by bribing the Praetorian Guard to proclaim him, experienced difficulty in garnering support within the ranks of his own troops. In a desperate attempt to save himself, Julianus asked Pompeianus to become co-emperor with him. Pompeianus again declined the offer, on the grounds of his advanced years and eye problems. Julianus was executed on the orders of Septimius Severus after ruling for only 66 days. Pompeianus appears to have died sometime in 193, his children survived and prospered as members of an important family: they were the grandchildren of Marcus Aurelius. The prestige was dangerous, because the new dynasty of the Severans could have seen them as possible competition. Aurelius, son of Pompeianus, was consul in 209, but was assassinated at the instigation of Caracalla. Descendants of Pompeianus would become consuls in 231 and 241. Russell Crowe's character Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 film Gladiator is loosely based on Pompeianus and others.
CIL VI, 41120.
Roman–Parthian War of 161–166
The Roman–Parthian War of 161–166 was fought between the Roman and Parthian Empires over Armenia and Upper Mesopotamia. It concluded in 166 after the Romans made successful campaigns into lower Mesopotamia and Media and sacked Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital. On his deathbed in the spring of 161, Emperor Antoninus Pius had spoken of nothing but the state and the foreign kings who had wronged him. One of those kings, Vologases IV of Parthia, made his move in late summer or early autumn 161. Vologases entered the Kingdom of Armenia, expelled its king and installed his own—Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. At the time of the invasion, the governor of Syria was Lucius Attidius Cornelianus. Attidius had been retained as governor though his term ended in 161 to avoid giving the Parthians the chance to wrong-foot his replacement; the governor of Cappadocia, the front-line in all Armenian conflicts, was Marcus Sedatius Severianus, a Gaul with much experience in military matters. But living in the east had a deleterious effect on his character.
The confidence man Alexander of Abonutichus, a prophet who carried a snake named Glycon around with him, had enraptured Severianus, as he had many others. Father-in-law to the respected senator Publius Mummius Sisenna Rutilianus, then-proconsul of Asia, Abonutichus was friends with many members of the east Roman elite. Alexander convinced Severianus that he could defeat the Parthians and win glory for himself. Severianus led a legion into Armenia, but was trapped by the great Parthian general Chosrhoes at Elegia, a town just beyond the Cappadocian frontiers, high up past the headwaters of the Euphrates. Severianus made some attempt to fight Chosrhoes, but soon realized the futility of his campaign, committed suicide, his legion was massacred. The campaign had only lasted three days. There was threat of war on other frontiers as well—in Britain, in Raetia and Upper Germany, where the Chatti of the Taunus mountains had crossed over the limes. Marcus Aurelius, who had become emperor on Pius' death on 7 March 161, was unprepared.
Pius seems to have given him no military experience. Marcus made the necessary appointments: Marcus Statius Priscus, the governor of Britain, was sent to replace Severianus as governor of Cappadocia, was in turn replaced by Sextus Calpurnius Agricola. More bad news arrived: Attidius Cornelianus' army had been defeated in battle against the Parthians, retreated in disarray. Reinforcements were dispatched for the Parthian frontier. P. Julius Geminius Marcianus, an African senator commanding X Gemina at Vindobona, left for Cappadocia with vexillations from the Danubian legions. Three full legions were sent east: I Minervia from Bonn in Upper Germany, II Adiutrix from Aquincum, V Macedonica from Troesmis; the northern frontiers were strategically weakened. Attidius Cornelianus himself was replaced by Marcus' first cousin, he was young—his first consulship was in 161, so he was in his early thirties—and, as a mere patrician, lacked military experience. Marcus had chosen a reliable man rather than a talented one.
Marcus took a four-day public holiday at a resort town on the Etrurian coast. He was too anxious to relax. Writing to his former tutor Marcus Cornelius Fronto, he declared that he would not speak about his holiday. Fronto replied ironically: "What? Do I not know that you went to Alsium with the intention of devoting yourself to games and complete leisure for four whole days?" He encouraged Marcus to rest, calling on the example of his predecessors, going so far as to write up a fable about the gods' division of the day between morning and evening—Marcus had been spending most of his evenings on judicial matters instead of leisure. Marcus could not take Fronto's advice. "I have duties hanging over me that can hardly be begged off," he wrote back. Marcus put on Fronto's voice to chastise himself: "'Much good has my advice done you', you will say!" He had rested, would rest but "—this devotion to duty! Who knows better than you how demanding it is!"Fronto sent Marcus a selection of reading material, including Cicero's pro lege Manilia, in which the orator had argued in favor of Pompey taking supreme command in the Mithridatic War.
It was an apt reference, may have had some impact on the decision to send Lucius to the eastern front. "You will find in it many chapters aptly suited to your present counsels, concerning the choice of army commanders, the interests of allies, the protection of provinces, the discipline of the soldiers, the qualifications required for commanders in the field and elsewhere " To settle his unease over the course of the Parthian war, Fronto wrote Marcus a long and considered letter, full of historical references. In modern editions of Fronto's works, it is labeled De bello Parthico. There had been reverses in Rome's past, Fronto writes, at Allia, at Caudium, at Cannae, at Numantia and Carrhae. Over the winter of 161–62, as more bad news arrived—a rebellion was brewing in Syria—it was decided that Lucius should direct the Parthian war in person, he was stronger and healthier than Marcus, the argum
The Roman Senate was a political institution in ancient Rome. It was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being established in the first days of the city of Rome, it survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the barbarian rule of Rome in the 5th, 6th, 7th centuries. During the days of the kingdom, it was little more than an advisory council to the king; the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was overthrown following a coup d'état led by Lucius Junius Brutus, who founded the Roman Republic. During the early Republic, the Senate was politically weak, while the various executive magistrates were quite powerful. Since the transition from monarchy to constitutional rule was most gradual, it took several generations before the Senate was able to assert itself over the executive magistrates. By the middle Republic, the Senate had reached the apex of its republican power.
The late Republic saw a decline in the Senate's power, which began following the reforms of the tribunes Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. After the transition of the Republic into the Principate, the Senate lost much of its political power as well as its prestige. Following the constitutional reforms of the Emperor Diocletian, the Senate became politically irrelevant; when the seat of government was transferred out of Rome, the Senate was reduced to a purely municipal body. This decline in status was reinforced when the emperor Constantine the Great created an additional senate in Constantinople. After Romulus Augustulus was deposed in 476 the Senate in the West functioned under the rule of Odovacer, 476–489 and during Ostrogothic rule, 489–535, it was restored after the reconquest of Italy by Justinian I. However, the Senate in Rome disappeared at some point after AD 603. Despite this, the title "senator" was still used well into the Middle Ages as a meaningless honorific. However, the Eastern Senate survived in Constantinople, until the ancient institution vanished there, c. 14th century.
The senate was a political institution in the ancient Roman Kingdom. The word senate derives from the Latin word senex, which means "old man"; the prehistoric Indo-Europeans who settled Italy in the centuries before the legendary founding of Rome in 753 BC were structured into tribal communities, these communities included an aristocratic board of tribal elders. The early Roman family was called a gens or "clan", each clan was an aggregation of families under a common living male patriarch, called a pater; when the early Roman gentes were aggregating to form a common community, the patres from the leading clans were selected for the confederated board of elders that would become the Roman senate. Over time, the patres came to recognize the need for a single leader, so they elected a king, vested in him their sovereign power; when the king died, that sovereign power reverted to the patres. The senate is said to have been created by Rome's first king, Romulus consisting of 100 men; the descendants of those 100 men subsequently became the patrician class.
Rome's fifth king, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, chose a further 100 senators. They were chosen from the minor leading families, were accordingly called the patres minorum gentium. Rome's seventh and final king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, executed many of the leading men in the senate, did not replace them, thereby diminishing their number. However, in 509 BC Rome's first and third consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus and Publius Valerius Publicola chose from amongst the leading equites new men for the senate, these being called conscripti, thus increased the size of the senate to 300; the senate of the Roman Kingdom held three principal responsibilities: It functioned as the ultimate repository for the executive power, it served as the king's council, it functioned as a legislative body in concert with the people of Rome. During the years of the monarchy, the senate's most important function was to elect new kings. While the king was nominally elected by the people, it was the senate who chose each new king.
The period between the death of one king and the election of a new king was called the interregnum, during which time the Interrex nominated a candidate to replace the king. After the senate gave its initial approval to the nominee, he was formally elected by the people, received the senate's final approval. At least one king, Servius Tullius, was elected by the senate alone, not by the people; the senate's most significant task, outside regal elections, was to function as the king's council, while the king could ignore any advice it offered, its growing prestige helped make the advice that it offered difficult to ignore. Only the king could make new laws, although he involved both the senate and the curiate assembly in the process; when the Republic began, the Senate functioned as an advisory council. It consisted of 300–500 senators, who were patrician and served for life. Before long, plebeians were admitted, although they were denied the senior magistracies for a longer period. Senators were entitled to wear a toga with a broad purple stripe, maroon shoes, an iron ring.
The Senate of the Roman Republic passed decrees called senatus consulta, which in form constituted "advice" from the senate to a magistrate. While these decrees did not hold legal force, they were obeyed in practice. If a senatus consultum conflicted with a