Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.
The Hercynian Forest was an ancient and dense forest that stretched eastward from the Rhine River across southern Germany and formed the northern boundary of that part of Europe known to writers of antiquity. The ancient sources are equivocal about. All agree that the Black Forest, which extended east from the Rhine valley, formed the western side of the Hercynian. Across the Rhine to the west extended the Silva Carbonaria and the forest of the Ardennes. All these old-growth forests of antiquity represented the original post-glacial temperate broadleaf forest ecosystem of Europe. Relict tracts of this once-continuous forest exist with many local names: the Schwarzwald, Spessart Rhön, Thüringerwald, Rauhe Alb, Fichtelgebirge, Riesengebirge, the Bohemian Forest, the forested Carpathians; the Mittelgebirge seem to correspond less to a stretch of the Hercynian mountains. Hercynian has a Proto-Celtic derivation, from ɸerkuniā erkunia. Julius Pokorny lists Hercynian as being derived from *perkʷu- "oak".
He further identifies the name as Celtic. Proto-Celtic loses initial *p preceding a vowel, hence Hercynia; the corresponding Germanic forms have an f- by Grimm's Law: Old English firgen = "mountains", Gothic faírguni = "mountain range". The assimilated *kwerkwu- would be regular in Italo-Celtic, Pokorny associates the Celtiberian ethnonym Querquerni, found in Hispania in Galicia, it is possible that the name of the Harz Mountains in Germany is derived from Hercynian, as Harz is a Middle High German word meaning "mountain forest." The Old High German name Fergunna refers to the Erzgebirge and Virgundia to a range between Ansbach and Ellwangen. The name of Pforzheim in southwest Germany and the tiny village of Hercingen are derived from "Hercynian". Hercyne was the classical name of a small rapid stream in Boeotia that issued from two springs near Lebadea, modern Livadeia, emptied into Lake Copais, it did not have any geographical association with the Hercynian Forest, so logically it may have been a parallel derivation from similar etymology.
The name is cited dozens of times in several classical authors, but most of the references are non-definitive, e.g. The Hercynian Forest is Pomponius Mela's silvis ac paludibus invia, "trackless forest and swamps", as the author is assuming the reader would know where the forest is; the earliest reference is in Aristotle's. He refers to the Arkýnia mountains of Europe, but tells us only that, remarkably in his experience, rivers flow north from there. During the time of Julius Caesar, this forest blocked the advance of the Roman legions into Germania, his few statements are the most definitive. In De Bello Gallico he says that the forest stretches along the Danube from the territory of the Helvetii to Dacia, its implied northern dimension is nine days' march. Its eastern dimension is indefinitely more than sixty days' march; the concept fascinated him the old tales of unicorns. Caesar's references to moose and aurochs and of elk without joints which leaned against trees to sleep in the endless forests of Germania, were later interpolations in his Commentaries.
Caesar's name for the forest is the one most used: Hercynia Silva. Pliny the Elder, in Natural History, places the eastern regions of the Hercynium jugum, the "Hercynian mountain chain", in Pannonia and Dacia, he gives us some dramaticised description of its composition, in which the close proximity of the forest trees causes competitive struggle among them. He mentions its gigantic oaks, but he—if the passage in question is not an interpolated marginal gloss—is subject to the legends of the gloomy forest. He mentions unusual birds, which have feathers that "shine like fires at night". Medieval bestiaries named these birds the Ercinee; the impenetrable nature of the Hercynian Silva hindered the last concerted Roman foray into the forest, by Drusus, during 12..9 BCE: Florus asserts that Drusus invisum atque inaccessum in id tempus Hercynium saltum patefecit. The isolated modern remnants of the Hercynian Forest identify its flora as a mixed one. Edward Gibbon noted the presence of reindeer—pseudo-Caesar's bos cervi figura—and elk—pseudo-Caesar's alces—in the forest.
The wild bull which the Romans named the urus was present and the European bison and the now-extinct aurochs, Bos primigenius. In the Roman sources, the Hercynian Forest was part of ethnographic Germania. There is an indication that this circumstance was recent. Monks sent out from Niederaltaich Abbey brought under cultivation for the first time great forested areas of Lower Bavaria as far as the territory of the present Czech Republic, founded 120 settlements in the Bavarian Forest, as that stretch of the ancient forest came to be known; the forest is mentioned in Hypnerotomachia Poliphili as the setting for the dream allegory of the work. The German journal Hercynia, published by the Universities and Landesbibliothek of Sachsen-Anhalt, pertains to ecology and environmental biology; some geographers apply the term Hercynian Forest t
The Buri were a Germanic tribe mentioned in the Germania of Tacitus, where they "close the back" of the Marcomanni and Quadi of Bohemia and Moravia. It is said; such a statement implies that the Buri had come from the direction of the Baltic Sea, as other Germanic settlers in Bohemia and Moravia were newcomers, having driven out the Celtic Boii and taken their lands. In Tacitus, the Buri are not linked to the Lugii. Ptolemy, mentions the Lougoi Bouroi dwelling in what is today southern Poland between the Elbe, the modern Sudetes, the upper Vistula, they are distinct from the Silingi. Tacitus and Ptolemy together imply that the Buri may have entered Moravia from Suebia with the Marcomanni and Quadi and moved into the upper Vistula region, where they allied themselves with the Lugii there; the fate of the Buri seems tied to that of the Danubian tribes, as they joined the Marcomanni-inspired invasion of the empire in the 2nd century AD, going against the emperor, Marcus Aurelius. The latter became a tougher adversary than the Germans had suspected and so many tribes, including the Buri, made a separate peace.
They were well rewarded by the Romans for doing so, but they had to face the vengeance of their old allies. After the death of Marcus, further Germanic unrest, the Buri petitioned his son, for peace. At this point they were destitute; as they now met the empire's qualifications for financial aid. The Marcomanni were enjoined from seeking retaliation. Since they themselves were now destitute and seeking terms, they complied; the Buri now bow off stage. Their destiny was like that of the other Germanic peoples along the Danube. A contingent of the Buri accompanied the Suebi in their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula and established themselves in Gallaecia in the 5th century, they settled in the region between the rivers Cávado and Homem, in the area known as Terras de Bouro. List of Germanic peoples
Tiberius was Roman emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD, succeeding the first emperor, Augustus. Born to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla in a Claudian family, he was given the personal name Tiberius Claudius Nero, his mother divorced Nero and married Octavian—later to ascend to Emperor as Augustus—who became his stepfather. Tiberius would marry Augustus' daughter, Julia the Elder, later be adopted by Augustus. Through the adoption, he became a Julian, assuming the name Tiberius Julius Caesar; the emperors after Tiberius would continue this blended dynasty of both families for the following thirty years. His relationship to the other emperors of this dynasty was as follows: Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, great-grand uncle of Nero, his 22-and-a-half-year reign would be the longest after Augustus's until Antoninus Pius, who surpassed his reign by a few months. Tiberius was one of the greatest Roman generals. So, he came to be remembered as a dark and sombre ruler who never desired to be emperor.
After the death of his son Drusus Julius Caesar in 23 AD, Tiberius became more reclusive and aloof. In 26 AD he removed himself from Rome and left administration in the hands of his unscrupulous Praetorian prefects Lucius Aelius Sejanus and Quintus Naevius Sutorius Macro; when Tiberius died, he was succeeded by Caligula. Tiberius was born in Rome on 16 November 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Livia. In 39 BC his mother divorced his biological father and remarried Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus shortly thereafter, while still pregnant with Tiberius Nero's son. In 38 BC his brother, Nero Claudius Drusus, was born. Little is recorded of Tiberius' early life. In 32 BC Tiberius, at the age of nine, delivered the eulogy for his biological father at the rostra. In 29 BC, he rode in the triumphal chariot along with his adoptive father Octavian in celebration of the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. In 23 BC Emperor Augustus became gravely ill and his possible death threatened to plunge the Roman world into chaos again.
Historians agree that it is during this time that the question of Augustus' heir became most acute, while Augustus had seemed to indicate that Agrippa and Marcellus would carry on his position in the event of his death, the ambiguity of succession became Augustus' chief problem. In response, a series of potential heirs seem to have been selected, among them Tiberius and his brother Drusus. In 24 BC, at the age of seventeen, Tiberius entered politics under Augustus' direction, receiving the position of quaestor, was granted the right to stand for election as praetor and consul five years in advance of the age required by law. Similar provisions were made for Drusus. Shortly thereafter Tiberius began appearing in court as an advocate, it is here that his interest in Greek rhetoric began. In 20 BC, Tiberius was sent East under Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa; the Parthian Empire had captured the standards of the legions under the command of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Decidius Saxa, Mark Antony. After a year of negotiation, Tiberius led a sizable force into Armenia with the goal of establishing it as a Roman client state and ending the threat it posed on the Roman-Parthian border.
Augustus was able to reach a compromise whereby the standards were returned, Armenia remained a neutral territory between the two powers. Tiberius married Vipsania Agrippina, the daughter of Augustus’s close friend and greatest general, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, he was appointed to the position of praetor, was sent with his legions to assist his brother Drusus in campaigns in the west. While Drusus focused his forces in Gallia Narbonensis and along the German frontier, Tiberius combated the tribes in the Alps and within Transalpine Gaul, conquering Raetia. In 15 BC he discovered the sources of the Danube, soon afterwards the bend of the middle course. Returning to Rome in 13 BC, Tiberius was appointed as consul, around this same time his son, Drusus Julius Caesar, was born. Agrippa's death in 12 BC elevated Drusus with respect to the succession. At Augustus’ request in 11 BC, Tiberius divorced Vipsania and married Julia the Elder, Augustus' daughter and Agrippa's widow. Tiberius was reluctant to do this, as Julia had made advances to him when she was married and Tiberius was married.
His new marriage with Julia turned sour. Tiberius once ran into Vipsania again, proceeded to follow her home crying and begging forgiveness. Tiberius continued to be elevated by Augustus, after Agrippa's death and his brother Drusus' death in 9 BC, seemed the clear candidate for succession; as such, in 12 BC he received military commissions in Germania. In 6 BC, Tiberius launched a pincer movement against the Marcomanni. Setting out northwest from Carnuntum on the Danube with four legions, Tiberius passed through Quadi territory in order to invade Marcomanni territory from the east. Meanwhile, general Gaius Sentius Saturninus would depart east from Moguntiacum on the Rhine with two or three legions, pass through newly annexed Hermundur
Strabo was a Greek geographer and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus in around 64 BC, his family had been involved in politics since at least the reign of Mithridates V. Strabo was related to Dorylaeus on his mother's side. Several other family members, including his paternal grandfather had served Mithridates VI during the Mithridatic Wars; as the war drew to a close, Strabo's grandfather had turned several Pontic fortresses over to the Romans. Strabo wrote that "great promises were made in exchange for these services", as Persian culture endured in Amasia after Mithridates and Tigranes were defeated, scholars have speculated about how the family's support for Rome might have affected their position in the local community, whether they might have been granted Roman citizenship as a reward. Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels, he journeyed to Egypt and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and the time he spent in Rome.
Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East for scholarly purposes, was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus. He moved to Rome in 44 BC, stayed there and writing, until at least 31 BC. In 29 BC, on his way to Corinth, he visited the island of Gyaros in the Aegean Sea. Around 25 BC, he sailed up the Nile until reaching Philae, after which point there is little record of his proceedings until AD 17, it is not known when Strabo's Geography was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 BC, others around AD 17 or 18; the latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II, king of Maurousia, said to have died "just recently". He worked on the Geography for many years and revised it not always consistently, it is an encyclopaedical chronicle and consists of political, social, geographic description of whole Europe: British Isles, Iberian Peninsula, Germania, The Alps, Greece.
The Geography is the only extant work providing information about both Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus. On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next, when he died, he was influenced by Homer and Aristotle. The first of Strabo's major works, Historical Sketches, written while he was in Rome, is nearly lost. Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans, Strabo quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed, although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in possession of the University of Milan. Strabo studied under several prominent teachers of various specialties throughout his early life at different stops along his Mediterranean travels, his first chapter of education took place in Nysa under the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, who had taught the sons of the same Roman general who had taken over Pontus. Aristodemus was the head of two schools of rhetoric and grammar, one in Nysa and one in Rhodes, the former of the two cities possessing a distinct intellectual curiosity of Homeric literature and the interpretation of epics.
Strabo was an admirer of Homer's poetry a consequence of his time spent in Nysa with Aristodemus. At around the age of 21, Strabo moved to Rome, where he studied philosophy with the Peripatetic Xenarchus, a respected tutor in Augustus's court. Despite Xenarchus's Aristotelian leanings, Strabo gives evidence to have formed his own Stoic inclinations. In Rome, he learned grammar under the rich and famous scholar Tyrannion of Amisus. Although Tyrannion was a Peripatetic, he was more relevantly a respected authority on geography, a fact significant, considering Strabo's future contributions to the field; the final noteworthy mentor to Strabo was Athenodorus Cananites, a philosopher who had spent his life since 44 BC in Rome forging relationships with the Roman elite. Athenodorus endowed to Strabo three important items: his philosophy, his knowledge, his contacts. Unlike the Aristotelian Xenarchus and Tyrannion who preceded him in teaching Strabo, Athenodorus was Stoic in mindset certainly the source of Strabo's diversion from the philosophy of his former mentors.
Moreover, from his own first-hand experience, Athenodorus provided Strabo with information about regions of the empire which he would not otherwise have known. Strabo is most notable for his work Geographica, which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known to his era. Although the Geographica was utilized in its contemporary antiquity, a multitude of copies survived throughout the Byzantine Empire, it first appeared in Western Europe in Rome as a Latin translation issued around 1469. The first Greek edition was published in 1516 in Venice. Isaac Casaubon, classical scholar and editor of Greek texts, provided the first critical edition in 1587. Although Strabo cited the antique Greek astronomers Eratosthenes and Hipparchus, acknowledging their astronomical and mathematical efforts towards geography, he claimed that
Crossing of the Rhine
The crossing of the Rhine by a mixed group of barbarians which included Vandals and Suebi is traditionally considered to have occurred on 31 December 406. The crossing transgressed one of the Late Roman Empire's most secure limites or boundaries and so it was a climactic moment in the decline of the Empire, it initiated a wave of destruction of Roman cities and the collapse of Roman civic order in northern Gaul. That, in turn, occasioned the rise of three usurpers in succession in the province of Britannia. Therefore, the crossing of the Rhine is a marker date in the Migration Period during which various Germanic tribes moved westward and southward from southern Scandinavia and northern Germania; the full statement of received opinion has been that "a mixed band of Vandals and Suebi crossed the Rhine at Mainz on December 31, 406, began to ravage Gaul". Several written accounts document the crossing, supplemented by the time line of Prosper of Aquitaine, which gives a firm date of 31 December 406.
A letter by Jerome, written from Bethlehem, gives a long list of the barbarian tribes involved. Some of them, like Sarmatians, are drawn from history or literary tradition. Jerome mentions Mainz first in a list of the cities devastated by the incursion, the sole support for the common assumption that the crossing of the unbridged Rhine was effected at Mainz. Jerome lists the cities now known as Mainz, Rheims, Arras, Thérouanne, Tournai and Strasbourg as having been pillaged; the initial gathering of barbarians on the east bank of the Rhine has been interpreted as a banding of refugees from the Huns or the remnants of Radagaisus' defeated Goths, without direct evidence. A frozen Rhine, making the crossing easier, is not attested by any contemporary but was a plausible surmise made by Edward Gibbon. On the east bank, the mixed band of Vandals and Alans fought a raiding party of Franks; the Vandal king Godigisel was killed, but the Alans came to the rescue of the Vandals, once on the Roman side, they met with no organized resistance.
Stilicho had depleted the garrisons in 402 to face Alaric I in Italy. Zosimus's New History imputes the usurpation of Marcus in Britannia to a reaction to the presence of barbarians in Gaul in 406. An article by Michael Kulikowski, finding that "the sequence of events bristles with technical difficulties", bypassed modern historians' accounts, which he found to have depended upon Gibbon and one another, reanalysed the literary sources, his conclusion was that a date for the mid-winter crossing of the Rhine of 31 December 405 offers a more coherent chronology of events in Belgica and Britannia. Kulikowski outlined; the traditional date of 31 December 406 is offered by Prosper of Aquitaine in his year-by-year chronicle: "In the sixth consulship of Arcadius and Probus and Alans came into the Gauls, having crossed the Rhine, on the day before the kalends of January." The sixth consulship of Arcadius, with Probus as co-consul, corresponds to 406. Prosper noted the invasion of Italy by Radagaisus as the prime event of the previous year, as well as his death, which occurred in 406, he assigned to the next year the usurpation of Constantine III.
"The three entries are linked, together they tell a kind of story", Kulikowski observed "Prosper was writing a chronicle, the genre abhorred blank years. Since his chosen genre demanded an entry for each of three years, Prosper portioned out his sequence of events, one event to the year, he does the same thing elsewhere in the chronicle". With the traditional date of 31 December 406 in mind, much has been made of the inaction of Stilicho, sometimes imputed to his strategy focussed on ambitions in Illyria. Kulikowski's date of 31 December 405 finds Stilicho occupied in Tuscia battling the forces of Radagaisus, not overcome and executed until August 406, it places the acclamation of the first of the usurpers in Britannia, characterised as a fearful reaction to the barbarian presence in Gaul, after the crossing of the Rhine. However, Kulikowski's dating theory, a revival of arguments that were put forward by N. H. Baynes, was forcefully refuted by Anthony Birley