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AURELIUS


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AURELIUS


der, he joined his colleagues in appealing to the secular power. He was the first to unmaslc and denounce Pelagianism. In 412 he excommunicated and drove from Carthage C;elestius, the disciple of Pelagius. In 416 lie condemned them both, in a sTOod of sixty-eiglit bishops of the Proconsulate, and induced Innocent I to brand their two principal errors by tlefining the necessity of grace and of infant baptism. When Pope Zosimus allowed him- self to be deceived by Pelagius's lying professions, he held (417) a plenary council of his African brethren, and in their names warned the pontiiT, who in turn (418) condemned the heresiarchs. Aurelius is men- tioned in the African martyrologj' on 20 July.

Leclerq, L'AfTique chrHicnne (Paris, 1904). 1; Par- son?, Studies in Church Hut. (New York, 1896). I; Acts of the Councils of Carthage; BAROxirs. Ann. Eccl. ad ann. 416—418; PoRTALlE in Diet, de thiol, cath. s. v. Auguslin. A. J. B. VUIBERT.

Aurelius Antoninus, Marcus, Roman Emperor. A. D. 161-180, b. at Rome, 26 April, 121; d. 17 March, 180. His father died while Marcus was yet a boy, and he was adopted by liis grandfather, Annius Verus. In the first pages of liis "Meditations" (I, i-xvii) he has left us an account, unique in antiquity, of his education by near relatives and by tutors of dis- tinction; dihgence. gratitude, and hardiness seem to have been its chief characteristics. From his earliest years he enjoyed the friendship and patronage of the Emperor Hadrian, who bestowed on him the honour of the equestrian order when lie was only six years old, made him a member of the Salian priesthood at eiglit, and compelled Antoninus Pius immediately after his own adoption to adopt as .sons and heirs both the young Marcus and Ceionius Commodus, Icnown later as the Emperor Lucius Verus. In honour of his adopted father he changed his name from M. ^Elius Aurelius Verus to M. Aurelius Antoninus. By the will of Hadrian he espoused Faustina, the daughter of Antoninus Pius. He was raised to the consulship in 140. and in 147 received the " trii^unician power". (See RoM.\x Emperor.) In all the later years of the life of Antoninus Pius, Marcus was his constant com- panion and adviser. On the death of the former (7 March, 161) Marcus was immedia' ely acknowledged as emperor by the Senate. Acting entirely on his own initiative, he at once promoted his adopted brother Lucius Verus to the position of colleague, with equal rights as emperor. With the accession of Mar- cus the great Pax Romana that made the era of the Antonines the happiest in the annals of Rome, and perhaps of mankind, came to an end, and with liis reign the glorj- of the old Rome vanished. Yomger peoples, untainted by the vices of civilization, and knowing nothing of the inanition which comes from over-refinement and over-indulgence, were preparing to struggle for the lead in the direction of human destiny. Marcus was scarcely seated on the throne when the Picts commenced to tlireaten in Britain the recently erected Wall of Antoninus. The Chatti and Chauci attempted to cross the Rhine and the upper reaches of the Danube. These attacks were easily repelled. Xot ,so with the outbreak in the Orient, which commenced in 161 and did not cease until 166. The destruction of an entire legion (XXII Deiotariana) at Elegeia aroused the emperors to the gravity of the situation. Lucius Verus took com- mand of the troops in 162 and, through the valour and skill of his lieutenants in a war known officially as the Belhim ATmeniacum et Parthicum, waged over the wide area of SjTia, Cappadocia. Armenia, Meso- potamia, and Media, was able to celebrate a glorious triumph in 166. For a people .so long accustomed to peace as the Romans were, this war was wellnigh fatal. It taxed all their resources, and the with- drawal of the legions from the Danubian frontier gave an opportunity to the Teutonic tribes to pene-


trate into a rich and tempting territory. People with strange-sounchng names, the JIarcomanni, Varistse, Hermanduri,Quadi, Sue^^, Jazyges, Vandals, collected along the Danube, crossed the frontiers, and became the advance-guard of the great migra- tion known as the "Wandering of the X'ations", which four centuries later culminated in the over- tlirow of the Western Empire. The war against these invaders commenced in 167, and in a short time had assumed sucli threatening proportions as to demand the presence of both emperors at the front. Lucius Verus died in 169. and Marcus was left to carry on the war alone. His difficulties were im- measurably increased by the devastation wTOught by the plague carried westward by the returning legions of Verus, by famine and earthquakes, and by inunda- tions which destroyed the vast granaries of Rome and their contents. In the panic and terror caused by these events the people resorted to the extremes of superstition to win back the favour of the deities through whose anger it was believed these ^-isitations were inflicted. Strange rites of expiation and sacrifice were resorted to, victims were slain by thousands, and the assistance of the gods of the Orient sought for as well as that of the gods of Rome. During the war with the Quadi in 174 there took place the famous incident of the Thundering Legion (Legio Fulminatrii, Fulininea, Fulminata) which has been a cause of frequent controversy between Chris- tian and non-Christian wxiters. The Roman army was surrounded by enemies, with no chance of escape, when a storm burst. The rain poured down in refreshing showers on the Romans, while the enemy were scattered with liglitning and hail. The parched and famishing Romans received the saving drops first on their faces and parched throats, and after- wards in their helmets and shields, to refresh their horses. Marcus obtained a glorious victory as a result of this extraordinary event, and his enemies were hopelessly overthrown. That such an event did really happen is attested both by pagan and Christian WTiters. The former attribute the occur- rence either to magic (Dion Cassius, LXXI, 8-10) or to the prayers of the emperor (Capitolinus, "Vita Marci ", XXIV; Themistius, "Orat. XV. ad Theod. "; Claudian, " De Sext. Cons. Hon.", V, 340 sqq.; "Sibyl. Orac". ed. Alexandre. XII, 196 sqq. C^. Bellori, "La Colonne Antonine", and Eckhel, "Doctrina Nummorum ", 111,64). The Christian ^Titers at- tributed the fact to the prayers of the Christians who were in the anny (Claudius Apollinaris in Euseb. , "Hist. Eccl.", V, 5; TertuUian, "Apol. ", v; ad Scap. c. iv), and soon there grew up a legend to the effect that in consequence of this miracle the em- peror put a stop to the persecution of the Christians (cf. Euseb. and Tert. opp cit.). It must be conceded that the testinionv of Claudius Apollinaris (see Smith and Wace, " Diet, of Christ. Biogr. ", 1, 132-133) is the most valuable of all that we possess, as he ■wTote within a few years of the event, and that all credit must be given to the prayers of the Christians, though it does not necessarily follow that we should accept the elaborate detail of the story as given by TertuUian and later writers [Allard, op. cit. infra, pp. 377, 378; Renan, " Marc-Aurele " (6th ed., Paris, 1891), Xyil, pp. 273-278; P. de Smedt, "Principes de la critique hist." (1883), p. 133]. The last years of the reign of Marcus were saddened by the appear- ance of a usurper, Avidius Cassius, in the Orient, and by the consciousness that the empire was to fall into unworthy hands when his son Commodus should come to the throne. Marcus died at Vindo- bona or Sirmium in Pannonia. The chief authori- ties for his life are Julius Capitolinus, "Vita Marci Antonini Philosophi" (SS. Hist. Aug. IV); Dion Cassius, "Epitome of Xiphilinos"; Herodian; Fronto, "Epistolse" and Aulus Gellius "Noctes Atticae ".