Lucius Verus was one of the Roman emperors who ruled jointly with his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius from 161 to 169 CE. He was the first co-emperor in Roman history, and his reign marked a period of military success and cultural flourishing.
Lucius Verus was born on December 15, 130 CE, as Lucius Ceionius Commodus, the son of a prominent senator and a relative of Emperor Hadrian. When his father died in 138 CE, Hadrian adopted him as his heir and gave him the name Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. However, Hadrian also died later that year, and his successor Antoninus Pius adopted both Lucius and Marcus Aurelius as his sons and heirs.
Lucius received a good education and held several political and military offices under Antoninus Pius. He was given the title of Caesar in 139 CE, and became consul for the first time in 154 CE. He also married Marcus Aurelius’ daughter Lucilla in 164 CE, and had three children with her, all of whom died young.
When Antoninus Pius died in 161 CE, Marcus Aurelius became emperor and elevated Lucius to the same rank and power as himself, except for the title of pontifex maximus (high priest). Lucius then changed his name to Lucius Aurelius Verus, and became the first co-emperor of Rome.
Lucius Verus is best known for his role in the war against Parthia, which lasted from 162 to 166 CE. Parthia was a powerful kingdom in the east that had invaded Armenia and Mesopotamia, two Roman provinces. Lucius Verus was sent to command the Roman army in Syria, while Marcus Aurelius remained in Rome to deal with other issues.
Lucius Verus delegated most of the military operations to his generals, such as Avidius Cassius and Statius Priscus, who achieved several victories over the Parthians. Lucius Verus himself stayed in Antioch, where he enjoyed a luxurious and hedonistic lifestyle. He also visited other cities in the east, such as Ephesus and Alexandria, where he patronized arts and culture.
In 166 CE, Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius celebrated a joint triumph in Rome for their victory over Parthia. They also assumed new titles, such as Armeniacus, Parthicus, and Medicus, to commemorate their conquests. However, the war also brought a devastating plague to the Roman Empire, which killed millions of people in the following years.
Lucius Verus also participated in the Marcomannic Wars, which broke out in 167 CE when several Germanic tribes invaded the northern borders of the empire. He accompanied Marcus Aurelius to the Danube region, where they fought against the invaders. However, Lucius Verus fell ill and died in early 169 CE, while returning to Rome. He was 38 years old.
Lucius Verus was deified by the Roman Senate after his death, and his ashes were placed in Hadrian’s Mausoleum. He was succeeded by Marcus Aurelius, who ruled alone until his death in 180 CE. Lucius Verus is often regarded as a weak and indulgent ruler, who left most of the work to his brother and subordinates. However, he was also a popular and generous emperor, who supported arts and culture, and maintained peace and stability in the empire.