Friday, May 27, 2011

Exercising the legions in the Marcomannic Wars

Bust of Marcus Aurelius (reign 161–180 CE).Marcus Aurelius
By every honorable expedient they [Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius] invited the friendship of the barbarians; and endeavored to convince mankind that the Roman power, raised above the temptation of conquest, was actuated only by the love of order and justice. - Edward Gibbons, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

When I read this statement claiming Marcus Aurelius was essentially benevolent towards the barbarians, I can't help but remember the opening battle scenes in Gladiator and the observation by the emperor that he had been at war almost continuously for the past 20 years. To be exact, Gibbons is referring to Hadrian and the two Antonines but I can't believe Gibbons would mean Lucius Verus and not Marcus Aurelius.

More at Roman Times
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