Lucius Verus


Lucius Verus : biography

15 December 0130 – 169

Lucius needed to make extensive imports into Antioch, so he opened a sailing route up the Orontes. Because the river breaks across a cliff before reaching the city, Lucius ordered that a new canal be dug. After the project was completed, the Orontes’ old riverbed dried up, exposing massive bones—the bones of a giant. Pausanias says they were from a beast "more than eleven cubits" tall; Philostratus says the it was "thirty cubits" tall. The oracle at Claros declared that they were the bones of the river’s spirit.Pausanias 8.29.3–4; Philostratus, Heroicus 138.6–9 K., 9.5–7 L.; Christopher Jones, "The Emperor and the Giant", Classical Philology 95:4 (2000): 476–81.

In the middle of the war, perhaps in autumn 163 or early 164, Lucius made a trip to Ephesus to be married to Marcus’ daughter Lucilla.HA Verus 7.7; Marcus 9.4; Barnes, 72; Birley, "Hadrian to the Antonines", 163; cf. also Barnes, "Legislation Against the Christians", Journal of Roman Studies 58:1–2 (1968), 39; "Some Persons in the Historia Augusta", Phoenix 26:2 (1972), 142, citing the Vita Abercii 44ff. Lucilla’s thirteenth birthday was in March 163; whatever the date of her marriage, she was not yet fifteen.Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131; "Hadrian to the Antonines", 163. Marcus had moved up the date: perhaps stories of Panthea had disturbed him.Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131. Lucilla was accompanied by her mother Faustina and M. Vettulenus Civica Barbarus, the half-brother of Lucius’ father.HA Verus 7.7; Marcus 9.4; Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131.

Marcus may have planned to accompany them all the way to Smyrna (the biographer says he told the senate he would); this did not happen.HA Verus 7.7; Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131. Marcus only accompanied the group as far as Brundisium, where they boarded a ship for the east.HA Marcus 9.4; Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131. Marcus returned to Rome immediately thereafter, and sent out special instructions to his proconsuls not to give the group any official reception.HA Marcus 9.5–6; Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131. Lucilla would bear three of Lucius’ children in the coming years. Lucilla became Lucilla Augusta.Birley, "Hadrian to the Antonines", 163.

Counterattack and victory, 163–66

I Minervia and V Macedonica, under the legates M. Claudius Fronto and P. Martius Verus, served under Statius Priscus in Armenia, earning success for Roman arms during the campaign season of 163,Birley, "Hadrian to the Antonines", 161–62, citing Prosopographia Imperii Romani2 C 874 (Claudius Fronto); Prosopographia Imperii Romani2 M 348. including the capture of the Armenian capital Artaxata.HA Marcus 9.1; Birley, "Hadrian to the Antonines", 162. At the end of the year, Verus took the title Armeniacus, despite having never seen combat; Marcus declined to accept the title until the following year.HA Marcus 9.1; HA Verus 7.1–2; Ad Verrum Imperator 2.3 (= Haines 2.133); Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 129; "Hadrian to the Antonines", 162. When Lucius was hailed as imperator again, however, Marcus did not hesitate to take the Imperator II with him.Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 129; "Hadrian to the Antonines", 162, citing H. Mattingly, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus (London, 1940), Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, nos. 233ff. The army of Syria was reinforced by II Adiutrix and Danubian legions under X Gemina’s legate Geminius Marcianus.Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae (II Adiutrix); Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum – (Marcianus); Birley, "Hadrian to the Antonines", 162.

Occupied Armenia was reconstructed on Roman terms. In 164, a new capital, Kaine Polis (‘New City’), replaced Artaxata.Dio 71.3.1; Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131; "Hadrian to the Antonines", 162; Millar, Near East, 113. On Birley’s reckoning, it was thirty miles closer to the Roman border.Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 131. Detachments from Cappadocian legions are attested at Echmiadzin, beneath the southern face of Mount Ararat, 400 km east of Satala. It would have meant a march of twenty days or more, through mountainous terrain, from the Roman border; a "remarkable example of imperialism", in the words of Fergus Millar.Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae ; ; Millar, Near East, 113.