Marcus Aurelius died at the age of 58 on 17 March 180 AD near Sirmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica). He was deified and his ashes were returned to Rome. They rested in Hadrian’s mausoleum (modern Castle Sant’Angelo) until the Visigoth sack of the city in 410.
Who was Marcus Aurelius?
Marcus Aurelius was born in Rome on 26 April 121. Marcus’s paternal family was of Roman Italo-Hispanic origins. His father was Marcus Annius Verus (III). Marcus’s mother, Domitia Lucilla Minor (also known as Domitia Calvilla), was the daughter of the Roman patrician P. Calvisius Tullus and inherited a great fortune from her parents and grandparents.
Marcus Aurelius was the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome. His reign (161–180 CE) marked the end of a period of internal tranquility and good government. After his death, the empire quickly descended into civil war.
He was best known for his Meditations on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius has symbolized for many generations in the West the Golden Age of the Roman Empire.
Death of Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius died at the age of 58 of an unknown cause. There are different views related to his death – some say it was natural death due to age while some say it was due to disease.
On 17 March 180 AD, he died in his military quarters near the city of Sirmium in Pannonia (modern-day Sremska Mitrovica. He was immediately deified and his ashes were returned to Rome, where they rested in Hadrian’s Mausoleum until the Visigoth sack of the city in 410.
Marcus Aurelius was succeeded by his son Commodus, whom he had named Caesar in 166 and with whom he had jointly ruled since 177. It was only the second time that a “non-adoptive” son had succeeded his father. The only other having been a century earlier when Vespasian was succeeded by his son Titus.
Historians have criticized the succession to Commodus, citing Commodus’s erratic behavior and lack of political and military acumen.