Antoninus Pius was born in 86 AD. His father was Titus Aurelius Fulvus and a consul, though he died shortly after 89 AD along with his father. So Antoninus was raised by his grandfather on his mother’s side. His grandfather taught him to be a man of integrity and culture.
Sometime between 110 and 115, Antoninus married Annia Galeria. They are said to have had a very happy marriage which was surprisingly uncommon with the other Emperors I have been learning about.
Antoninus Pius was one of the five good emperors of Rome. His rule started in 138 AD. He got that position because Hadrian, the previous Emperor, had adopted him and favoured him on the condition that Antoninus would in turn adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Antoninus did many things that also made him suitable for Emperor like being quaestor and praetor earlier in his life, then consul like his father.
Once he became Emperor, which he did without opposition, he changed his name and style to Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pontifex Maximus.
Antoninus built temples, theatres, and mausoleums, promoted the arts and sciences, and bestowed honours and financial rewards upon the teachers of rhetoric and philosophy. He continued with the arrangements instituted by Hadrian even after he had died.
Antoninus had a very uneventful reign, barely having any military conflicts, and the conflicts he did have were very minute. He was a very good ruler and after 23 years as emperor he died at the age of 74. His heir was Marcus Aurelius.
Marcus was born in 121 AD into a patrician family. He grew up in a disciplined house like Antoninus, and Marcus maintained his stoic habits throughout his life. Hadrian commanded that Antoninus adopt Marcus and Lucius Verus as his heirs. He was true to his word and adopted and trained both of them to become emperors. Marcus did not really like the idea of being an emperor but he went along with it and became co-emperor with Lucius Verus after Antoninus died.
Even though Marcus was given the title of Pontifex Maximus and had the majority of the power in the relationship, Lucius was not jealous. He was very happy with the position he held. His reign started very happily. But later a few events happened. The Tiber River flooded, there were a few earthquakes and there were wars on a few fronts. Yet even through all of that Marcus was very capable. He was very popular and was able to restore order among many frontier regions. Marcus Aurelius died in 180 AD but never really enjoyed the responsibilities of his position. Lucius however seemed to be there for the luxurious lifestyle, though he did have a triumph and famous march coming home from Syria. Marcus’ son was a bit of a disappointment to him, because he never was able to see him as emperor.