Their judgment was based more upon blind wishing than upon sound reasoning. For it is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they long for, and to thrust aside what they do not fancy. — Thucydides

Antoninus Pius

(Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus)

Civilization: Roman — Rome
   Field of Renown:  monarch — Emperor
Era:  Height of Empire

Antoninus Pius served in public offices under Hadrian, with good repute, before being unexpectedly elevated to emperor in 138 A.D. Although Antoninus had good relations with Hadrian, he was not the first choice for successor, and it was only upon the death of Aelius Verus, Hadrian's first choice for successor, that he was adopted and promoted to the imperial throne. One condition was that he, himself, adopt Marcus Aurelius and L. Verus, son of Aelius Verus. This he willingly did. Antoninus continued to reign with justice and integrity in the tradition of his predecessors. Unlike Trajan and Hadrian however, he did not embark upon many great building and infrastructure projects, but only completed several important projects that were begun under Hadrian's reign. He also spent much effort renovating existing roads and buildings, rather than planning new ones, and was generous in repairing damage done in provinces throughout the empire by floods, earthquakes, fires and famine. He continued Hadrian's policy of containment rather than expansion, and helped to relieve some of the provinces of their burden of debt and high taxes. Unlike his predecessors, he stayed primarily in Rome, and rarely left it, even to put down revolts and rebellions that were brewing in various parts of the empire. By the end of his reign Antoninus had become familiar with, and sympathetic to the Christian religion, and allowed the new sect to practice their religion openly. This was but a temporary respite however, since persecutions continued under his successor, Marcus Aurelius, who succeeded to the imperial throne on the death of Antoninus Pius in 161 A.D.

Key events during the life of Antoninus Pius:

Consular administrator of Italy under Hadrian.
Proconsul in Asia.
Adopted by emperor Hadrian, and succeeded to imperial throne.
Death of wife, Faustina the Elder.
Wall of Antoninus built in Britain.
Faustina the Younger, daughter of Antoninus, married Marcus Aurelius.
Died. Succeeded by Marcus Aurelius.

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Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Antoninus Pius  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber

Short Biography
Faustina Wife of Antoninus Pius. Aunt of Marcus Aurelius.
Hadrian Third of "Five Good Emperors." Talented artist and architect, good administrator.
Marcus Aurelius Fifth of "Five Good Emperors." Stoic philosopher. Improved condition of poor.
Justin Christian saint whose writings influenced Antoninus.
Lucius Verus Son of Aelius Verus, adopted by Antoninus and made heir to imperial throne.