Marcus Annius Verus Caesar

Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (born 162 or 163 – 10 September 169) was the 12th of 13 children of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Empress Faustina the Younger. Annius was made caesar on 12 October 166 AD, alongside his brother Commodus, designating them co-heirs of the Roman Empire. Annius died on 10 September 169, at age seven, due to complications from a surgery to remove a tumor from under his ear. His death left Commodus as the sole heir.

Annius Verus
Caesar of the Roman Empire
Annius Verus 01.JPG
A bust of Marcus Annius Verus Caesar
Caesar12 October 166 – 10 September 169
Died10 September 169 (aged 7)
Marcus Annius Verus
Regnal name
Marcus Annius Verus Caesar
FatherMarcus Aurelius
MotherFaustina the Younger


Bust of Marcus Aurelius, Annius' father

Marcus Annius Verus was born in late 162 or 163 AD,[1] the son of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger. He was given the name of Marcus Annius Verus because it was the original name of his father, Marcus Aurelius.[2]

On 12 October 166 AD, during a triumph celebrating the victory of the Romans in the Parthian War of Lucius Verus, Annius and his elder brother Commodus were both made caesars, designating them as co-heirs to the Roman Empire. At the time, Annius was three, and Commodus was five.[3][4] This was the first time such an explicit declaration of heirship had been made at such a young age,[5] and showed a marked shift from the traditional cursus honorum, in which a presumed heir would be gradually raised through offices of increasing importance, in order to learn the skills of all positions, to a new system of imperial succession, wherein dynastic hereditary descent was the path to the throne, with heirs being instructed in how to be an emperor.[6]

Annius died on 10 September 169 AD, at seven years of age, due to complications in removing a tumor from under his ear.[7][8][9] This left Commodus as the sole heir.[3] His father, Marcus Aurelius, mourned his death for just five days, while still continuing public work.[8] Aurelius argued that because the games of Jupiter Optimus Maximus were ongoing, he should not interrupt them with his mourning. His lack of mourning was likely influenced by his Stoic philosophy, which taught of the dangers of emotion, and the brutal culture of the Romans, which considered hysterical grief at the loss of loved ones as unmanly and unnatural.[10] Aurelius ordered statues to be made in his honor, and a golden image of him to be carried during the procession of the games.[10] Aurelius also had his name inserted into the Carmen Saliare, the ritual songs sung by the Salii, a group of 12 priests.[11][10]


Annius Verus was the son of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger. Annius was the younger brother of, in order of birth: Domitia Faustina, Titus Aurelius Antoninus, Titus Aelius Aurelius, Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla, Annia Galeria Aurelia Faustina, Titus Aelius Antoninus, an unnamed son, Annia Aurelia Fadilla, Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (Commodus). Annius was the older brother of Hadrianus and Vibia Aurelia Sabina.[12][13]


  1. ^ Adams 2013a, p. 99.
  2. ^ Stephens 2012, p. 22.
  3. ^ a b Adams 2013b, p. 82.
  4. ^ Adams 2013a, p. 94.
  5. ^ Adams 2013b, p. 95.
  6. ^ Adams 2013b, p. 99.
  7. ^ Adams 2013a, p. 104.
  8. ^ a b Stephens 2012, p. 31.
  9. ^ Klonnek 2014, p. 169.
  10. ^ a b c McLynn 2009, p. 116.
  11. ^ Adams 2013a, p. 105.
  12. ^ Livius.
  13. ^ Birley 1993, p. Table F.


  • Adams, Geoff W. (2013a). Marcus Aurelius in the Historia Augusta and Beyond. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739176382.
  • Adams, Geoff W. (2013b). The Emperor Commodus: Gladiator, Hercules or a Tyrant?. Boca Raton: Universal-Publishers. ISBN 9781612337227.
  • Birley, Anthony (1993). Marcus Aurelius, a Biography. London: Routledge. OCLC 957321189.
  • Klonnek, Martin (2014). Chronologie des Römischen Reiches 2: 2. Jh. - Jahr 100 bis 199 [Chronology of the Roman Empire 2: 2nd century - year 100 to 199] (in German). Online: Berlin epubli GmbH. ISBN 9783737507028.
  • McLynn, Frank (2009). Marcus Aurelius: a Life. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 9780786745807.
  • Stephens, William O. (2012). Marcus Aurelius: a Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Continuum International Publications Group. ISBN 9781441108104.


Further readingEdit

  • Vagi, David L. (2000). Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, c. 82 B.C.- A.D. 480. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 9781579583163.

Nerva–Antonine family treeEdit