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Emperor Lucius Verus

Museum Label:
Emperor Lucius Verus
20th-century bronze cast probably from ancient Roman marble original  
Location: Uffizi, Florence.

Subject info:
Emperor Lucius Verus - bronze (original Roman 2nd century AD) now in Uffizi, Florence.

Lucius Verus was co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius, but beyond this imperial partnership, there was also a significant personal connection. Through adoption by the same father, Marcus and Lucius were brothers. Marcus was also father-in-law to Lucius. Being the younger brother, younger partner, and son-in-law to Marcus Aurelius could not have been an easy position in life. Yet, this is the role played by Lucius Verus. He was a well-educated, active participant in military and political affairs. (161-169 A.D.)

Adoption by Hadrian
Verus was the son of Avidia and Lucius Aelius Caesar, the adopted son, and intended successor, of Emperor Hadrian (117–138). When Aelius Caesar died in 138, Hadrian chose Antoninus Pius (138–161) as his successor, on the condition that Antoninus adopt both Verus (then seven years old) and Marcus Aurelius, Hadrian's nephew. As an imperial prince, Verus received careful education from the most famous grammaticus Marcus Cornelius Fronto. Verus is reported to have been an excellent student, fond of writing poetry and delivering speeches.

Imperial accession
Verus' political career started as quaestor in 153 and then as consul in 154. In 161, he was once again consul, with Marcus Aurelius as senior partner. Antoninus died on March 7, 161, and was succeeded by Marcus Aurelius. Verus was nonetheless opted as co-emperor, an unprecedented event in the Roman Empire. Officially both men shared equal powers, but in practice it was Marcus Aurelius who became the leader. Verus was given the control of the armies, proving the confidence between him and his senior brother. To solidify this alliance, Marcus Aurelius gave his daughter Lucilla in marriage to Verus and together they had three children.

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