Antoninus Pius

Antoninus Pius

Overview
Antoninus Pius also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet
Sobriquet
A sobriquet is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation...

 "Pius
Pius
-Popes:* Pope Pius I, saint, Pope 140/142 to 155* Pope Pius II, Pope 1458 to 1474* Pope Pius III, Pope in 1503* Pope Pius IV, Pope 1559 to 1565* Pope Pius V, saint, Pope 1566 to 1572* Pope Pius VI, Pope 1775 to 1799* Pope Pius VII, Pope 1800 to 1823...

" until after his accession to the throne. Almost certainly, he earned the name "Pius" because he compelled the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 to deify
Imperial cult (ancient Rome)
The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority of the Roman State...

 his adoptive father Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

; the Historia Augusta, however, suggests that he may have earned the name by saving senators sentenced to death by Hadrian in his later years.

He was the son and only child of Titus Aurelius Fulvus
Titus Aurelius Fulvus
In the 1st century there were two men with the name Titus Aurelius Fulvus. One was the paternal grandfather and the other the father to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius....

, consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

 in 89 whose family came from Nemausus
Nemausus
Deus Nemausus is often said to have been the Celtic patron god of Nemausus . The god does not seem to have been worshipped outside of this locality...

 (modern Nîmes
Nîmes
Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

).
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Encyclopedia
Antoninus Pius also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet
Sobriquet
A sobriquet is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation...

 "Pius
Pius
-Popes:* Pope Pius I, saint, Pope 140/142 to 155* Pope Pius II, Pope 1458 to 1474* Pope Pius III, Pope in 1503* Pope Pius IV, Pope 1559 to 1565* Pope Pius V, saint, Pope 1566 to 1572* Pope Pius VI, Pope 1775 to 1799* Pope Pius VII, Pope 1800 to 1823...

" until after his accession to the throne. Almost certainly, he earned the name "Pius" because he compelled the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 to deify
Imperial cult (ancient Rome)
The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority of the Roman State...

 his adoptive father Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

; the Historia Augusta, however, suggests that he may have earned the name by saving senators sentenced to death by Hadrian in his later years.

Childhood and family


He was the son and only child of Titus Aurelius Fulvus
Titus Aurelius Fulvus
In the 1st century there were two men with the name Titus Aurelius Fulvus. One was the paternal grandfather and the other the father to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius....

, consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

 in 89 whose family came from Nemausus
Nemausus
Deus Nemausus is often said to have been the Celtic patron god of Nemausus . The god does not seem to have been worshipped outside of this locality...

 (modern Nîmes
Nîmes
Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

). He was born near Lanuvium
Lanuvium
Lanuvium is an ancient city of Latium , some 32 km southeast of Rome, a little southwest of the Via Appia....

 and his mother was Arria Fadilla. Antoninus’ father and paternal grandfather died when he was young and he was raised by Gnaeus Arrius Antoninus, his maternal grandfather, reputed by contemporaries to be a man of integrity and culture and a friend of Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo , better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him...

. His mother married Publius Julius Lupus (a man of consular rank) suffect consul in 98, and bore him two daughters Arria Lupula and Julia Fadilla.

Marriage and children


As a private citizen between 110 and 115, he married Annia Galeria Faustina the Elder
Faustina the Elder
Annia Galeria Faustina, more familiarly referred to as Faustina I , was a Roman Empress and wife of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius.-Early life:...

. They are believed to have enjoyed a happy marriage. Faustina was the daughter of consul Marcus Annius Verus
Marcus Annius Verus
Marcus Annius Verus was a Roman man who lived in the 1st and 2nd century. He was the son of an elder Marcus Annius Verus, who gained the rank of senator and praetor. His family originated from Uccibi near Corduba in Spain...

 and Rupilia
Rupilia
Rupilia Faustina was an influential Roman noble woman. She was the daughter of Salonina Matidia and suffect consul Lucius Scribonius Libo Rupilius Frugi Bonus. She possibly had another sister called Rupilia Annia....

 Faustina (a half-sister to Roman Empress Vibia Sabina
Vibia Sabina
Vibia Sabina was a Roman Empress, wife and second cousin, once removed, to Roman Emperor Hadrian. She was the daughter to Salonina Matidia , and suffect consul Lucius Vibius Sabinus...

). Faustina was a beautiful woman, renowned for her wisdom. She spent her whole life caring for the poor and assisting the most disadvantaged Romans.

Faustina bore Antoninus four children, two sons and two daughters. They were:
  • Marcus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (died before 138); his sepulchral inscription has been found at the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome.
  • Marcus Galerius Aurelius Antoninus (died before 138); his sepulchral inscription has been found at the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. His name appears on a Greek Imperial coin.
  • Aurelia Fadilla (died in 135); she married Lucius Lamia Silvanus, consul 145. She appeared to have no children with her husband and her sepulchral inscription has been found in Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    .
  • Annia Galeria Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger
    Faustina the Younger
    Annia Galeria Faustina Minor , Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger was a daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman Empress Faustina the Elder. She was a Roman Empress and wife to her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius...

     (between 125–130–175), a future Roman Empress, married her maternal cousin, future Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 146.


When Faustina died in 141, Antoninus was greatly bereaved. In honor of her memory, Antoninus asked the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 to deify her as a goddess, and he authorised the construction of a temple to be built in the Roman Forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

 in her name, with priestesses serving in her temple. He had various coins with her portrait struck in her honor. These coins were scripted ‘DIVAE FAUSTINA’ and were elaborately decorated. He further created a charity which he founded and called it Puellae Faustinianae or Girls of Faustina, which assisted orphaned girls. Finally, Antoninus created a new alimenta (see Grain supply to the city of Rome
Grain supply to the city of Rome
In classical antiquity, the grain supply to the city of Rome could not be met entirely from the surrounding countryside, which was taken up by the villas and parks of the aristocracy and which produced mainly fruit, vegetables and other perishable goods...

).

Favor with Hadrian


Having filled with more than usual success the offices of quaestor
Quaestor
A Quaestor was a type of public official in the "Cursus honorum" system who supervised financial affairs. In the Roman Republic a quaestor was an elected official whereas, with the autocratic government of the Roman Empire, quaestors were simply appointed....

 and praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

, he obtained the consulship in 120; he was next appointed by the Emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 as one of the four proconsul
Proconsul
A proconsul was a governor of a province in the Roman Republic appointed for one year by the senate. In modern usage, the title has been used for a person from one country ruling another country or bluntly interfering in another country's internal affairs.-Ancient Rome:In the Roman Republic, a...

s to administer Italia
Italia (Roman province)
Italia was the name of the Italian peninsula of the Roman Empire.-Under the Republic and Augustan organization:During the Republic and the first centuries of the empire, Italia was not a province, but rather the territory of the city of Rome, thus having a special status: for example, military...

, then greatly increased his reputation by his conduct as proconsul
Proconsul
A proconsul was a governor of a province in the Roman Republic appointed for one year by the senate. In modern usage, the title has been used for a person from one country ruling another country or bluntly interfering in another country's internal affairs.-Ancient Rome:In the Roman Republic, a...

 of Asia, probably during 134-135. He acquired much favor with the Emperor Hadrian, who adopted him as his son and successor on 25 February 138, after the death of his first adopted son Lucius Aelius
Lucius Aelius
Lucius Aelius Caesar became the adopted son and intended successor, of Roman Emperor Hadrian , but never attained the throne....

, on the condition that Antoninus would in turn adopt Marcus Annius Verus, the son of his wife's brother, and Lucius, son of Aelius Verus, who afterwards became the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus , was Roman co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius, from 161 until his death.-Early life and career:Lucius Verus was the first born son to Avidia Plautia and Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, the first adopted son and heir of Roman Emperor Hadrian . He was born and raised in Rome...

.

Emperor



On his accession, Antoninus' name became "Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pontifex Maximus". One of his first acts as Emperor was to persuade the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 to grant divine honours to Hadrian, which they had at first refused; his efforts to persuade the Senate to grant these honours is the most likely reason given for his title of Pius (dutiful in affection; compare pietas
Pietas
Pietas was one of the Roman virtues, along with gravitas and dignitas. It is usually translated as "duty" or "devotion."-Definition:The word pietas is originally from Latin. The first printed record of the word’s use in English is from Anselm Bayly’s The Alliance of Music, Poetry, and Oratory,...

). Two other reasons for this title are that he would support his aged father-in-law with his hand at Senate meetings, and that he had saved those men that Hadrian, during his period of ill-health, had condemned to death. He built temples, theaters, and mausoleums, promoted the arts and sciences, and bestowed honours and financial rewards upon the teachers of rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

. Antoninus made few initial changes when he became emperor, leaving intact as far as possible the arrangements instituted by Hadrian.

There are no records of any military related acts in his time in which he participated. One modern scholar has written "It is almost certain not only that at no time in his life did he ever see, let alone command, a Roman army, but that, throughout the twenty-three years of his reign, he never went within five hundred miles of a legion". His reign was the most peaceful in the entire history of the Principate
Principate
The Principate is the first period of the Roman Empire, extending from the beginning of the reign of Caesar Augustus to the Crisis of the Third Century, after which it was replaced with the Dominate. The Principate is characterized by a concerted effort on the part of the Emperors to preserve the...

; while there were several military disturbances throughout the Empire in his time, in Mauretania
Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

, Iudaea
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

, and amongst the Brigantes
Brigantes
The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe who in pre-Roman times controlled the largest section of what would become Northern England, and a significant part of the Midlands. Their kingdom is sometimes called Brigantia, and it was centred in what was later known as Yorkshire...

 in Britannia
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

, none of them are considered serious. It was however in Britain that Antoninus decided to follow a new, more aggressive path, with the appointment of a new governor in 139, Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus
Quintus Lollius Urbicus was governor of Roman Britain between the years 139 and 142, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. He is named in the text known as the Augustan History, and his name appears on five Roman inscriptions from Britain; his career is set out in detail on a pair...

.

Under instructions from the emperor, he undertook an invasion of southern Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, winning some significant victories, and constructing the Antonine Wall
Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 39 miles and was about ten feet ...

 from the Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

 to the Firth of Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

, although it was soon abandoned for reasons that are still not quite clear. There were also some troubles in Dacia Inferior which required the granting of additional powers to the procurator
Procurator
Procurator may refer to:*Procurator , the title of various officials of the Roman Empire...

 governor and the dispatchment of additional soldiers to the province. Also during his reign the governor of Upper Germany, probably Caius Popillius Carus Pedo, built new fortifications in the Agri Decumates
Agri Decumates
The agri decumates or decumates agri were a region of the Roman Empire's province of Germania superior , covering the Black Forest area between the Main river and the sources of Danube and Rhine rivers, presently in Southwestern Germany...

, advancing the Limes Germanicus
Limes Germanicus
The Limes Germanicus was a line of frontier fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces of Germania Inferior, Germania Superior and Raetia, dividing the Roman Empire and the unsubdued Germanic tribes from the years 83 to about 260 AD...

 fifteen miles forward in his province and neighboring Raetia
Raetia
Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It was bounded on the west by the country of the Helvetii, on the east by Noricum, on the north by Vindelicia, on the west by Cisalpine Gaul and on south by Venetia et Histria...

.

Nevertheless, Antoninus was virtually unique among emperors in that he dealt with these crises without leaving Italy once during his reign, but instead dealt with provincial matters of war and peace through their governors or through imperial letters to the cities such as Ephesus (of which some were publicly displayed). This style of government was highly praised by his contemporaries and by later generations.

Of the public transactions of this period there is only the scantiest of information, but, to judge by what is extant, those twenty-two years were not remarkably eventful in comparison to those before and after his reign. However, he did take a great interest in the revision and practice of the law throughout the empire. Although he was not an innovator, he would not follow the absolute letter of the law; rather he was driven by concerns over humanity and equality, and introduced into Roman law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

 many important new principles based upon this notion.

In this, the emperor was assisted by five chief lawyers: L. Fulvius Aburnius Valens, an author of legal treatises; L. Volusius Maecianus, chosen to conduct the legal studies of Marcus Aurelius, and author of a large work on Fidei Commissa (Testamentary Trusts); L. Ulpius Marcellus, a prolific writer; and two others. His reign saw the appearance of the Institutes of Gaius, an elementary legal manual for beginners (see Gaius (jurist)
Gaius (jurist)
Gaius was a celebrated Roman jurist. Scholars know very little of his personal life. It is impossible to discover even his full name, Gaius or Caius being merely his personal name...

).

Antoninus passed measures to facilitate the enfranchisement of slaves
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

. In criminal law, Antoninus introduced the important principle that accused persons are not to be treated as guilty before trial. He also asserted the principle, that the trial was to be held, and the punishment inflicted, in the place where the crime had been committed. He mitigated the use of torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 in examining slaves by certain limitations. Thus he prohibited the application of torture to children under fourteen years, though this rule had exceptions.

One highlight during his reign occurred in 148, with the nine-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 being celebrated by the hosting of magnificent games in Rome. It lasted a number of days, and a host of exotic animals were killed, including elephants, giraffes, tigers, rhinoceroses, crocodiles and hippopotami. While this increased Antoninus’s popularity, the frugal emperor had to debase the Roman currency
Roman currency
The Roman currency during most of the Roman Republic and the western half of the Roman Empire consisted of coins including the aureus , the denarius , the sestertius , the dupondius , and the as...

. He decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 89% to 83.5% — the actual silver weight dropping from 2.88 grams to 2.68 grams.

Scholars place Antoninus Pius as the leading candidate for fulfilling the role as a friend of Rabbi Judah the Prince
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

. According to the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 (Avodah Zarah 10a-b), Rabbi Judah was very wealthy and greatly revered in Rome. He had a close friendship with "Antoninus", possibly Antoninus Pius, who would consult Rabbi Judah on various worldly and spiritual matters.

After the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

 by a couple of months), Antoninus died of fever at Lorium
Lorium
Lorium was an ancient village of Etruria, Italy, on the Via Aurelia, 19 km west of Rome. Antoninus Pius, who was educated here, afterwards built a palace, in which he died...

 in Etruria
Etruria
Etruria—usually referred to in Greek and Latin source texts as Tyrrhenia—was a region of Central Italy, an area that covered part of what now are Tuscany, Latium, Emilia-Romagna, and Umbria. A particularly noteworthy work dealing with Etruscan locations is D. H...

, about twelve miles (19 km) from Rome, on 7 March 161, giving the keynote to his life in the last word that he uttered when the tribune
Tribune
Tribune was a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic. Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct, in the sense that any assault on their person was...

 of the night-watch came to ask the password—"aequanimitas" (equanimity). His body was placed in Hadrian's mausoleum
Castel Sant'Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family...

, a column
Column of Antoninus Pius
The Column of Antoninus Pius is a Roman honorific column in Rome, Italy, devoted in 161 to the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, in the Campus Martius, on the edge of the hill now known as Monte Citorio, and set up by his successors, the co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.-Construction:The...

 was dedicated to him on the Campus Martius
Campus Martius
The Campus Martius , was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome...

, and the temple
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina is an ancient Roman temple in Rome, adapted to the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda. It stands in the Forum Romanum, on the Via Sacra, opposite the Regia.-The temple:...

 he had built in the Forum in 141 to his deified wife Faustina was rededicated to the deified Faustina and the deified Antoninus.

Historiography


The only account of his life handed down to us is that of the Augustan History
Augustan History
The Augustan History is a late Roman collection of biographies, in Latin, of the Roman Emperors, their junior colleagues and usurpers of the period 117 to 284...

, an unreliable and mostly fabricated work. Nevertheless, it still contains information that is considered reasonably sound – for instance, it is the only source that mentions the erection of the Antonine Wall in Britain. Antoninus is unique among Roman emperors in that he has no other biographies. Historians have therefore turned to public records for what details we know.

In later scholarship


Antoninus in many ways was the ideal of the landed gentleman praised not only by ancient Romans, but also by later scholars of classical history, such as Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

 or the author of the article on Antoninus Pius in the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica:
Later historians had a more nuanced view of his reign. According to the historian J. B. Bury
J. B. Bury
John Bagnell Bury , known as J. B. Bury, was an Irish historian, classical scholar, Byzantinist and philologist.-Biography:...

,

Inevitably, the surviving evidence is not complete enough to determine whether one should interpret, with older scholars, that he wisely curtailed the activities of the Roman Empire to a careful minimum, or perhaps that he was uninterested in events away from Rome and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and his inaction contributed to the pressing troubles that faced not only Marcus Aurelius but also the emperors of the third century. German historian Ernst Kornemann
Ernst Kornemann
Ernst Kornemann was a German ancient historian.- Biography :He studied at Giessen and Berlin , and took the degree of doctor of philosophy ; he was appointed assistant professor teaching under the faculty...

 has had it in his Römische Geschichte [2 vols., ed. by H. Bengtson, Stuttgart 1954] that the reign of Antoninus comprised "a succession of grossly wasted opportunities," given the upheavals that were to come. There is more to this argument, given that the Parthians in the East were themselves soon to make no small amount of mischief after Antoninus' passing. Kornemann's brief is that Antoninus might have waged preventive wars to head off these outsiders.

External links