I. Scio plerosque ita vitam Marci ac Veri litteris atque historiae dedicasse ut priorem Verum intimandum legentibus darent, non imperandi secutos1 ordinem 2sed vivendi; ego vero, quod prior Marcus imperare coepit, dein Verus, qui superstite periit Marco, priorem Marcum dehinc Verum credidi celebrandum.
Igitur Lucius Ceionius Aelius2 Commodus Verus Antoninus, qui ex Hadriani voluntate Aelius appellatus est, ex Antonini coniunctione Verus et Antoninus, neque inter bonos neque inter malos principes ponitur. 4quem constat non inhorruisse vitiis, non abundasse virtutibus, vixisse deinde non in suo libero principatu sed sub Marco in simili ac paris3 maiestatis imperio, a cuius secta lascivia morum et vitae licentioris nimietate
I. Most men, I well know, who have enshrined in literature and history the lives of Marcus and Verus, have made Verus known to their readers first, following the order, not of their reigns, but of their lives. I, however, have thought, since Marcus began to rule first and Verus only afterwards1 and Verus died while Marcus still lived on, that Marcus’ life should be related first, and then that of Verus.
Now, Lucius Ceionius Aelius Commodus Verus Antoninus2 —called Aelius by the wish of Hadrian,3 Verus and Antoninus because of his relationship to Antoninus4 —is not to be classed with either the good or the bad emperors. For, in the first place, it is agreed that if he did not bristle with vices, no more did he abound in virtues; and, in the second place, he enjoyed, not unrestricted power, but a sovereignty on like terms and equal dignity with Marcus, from whom he differed, however, as far as morals went, both in the laxity of his principles and
- 1i.e. Marcus succeeded to the throne, and then associated Verus with himself as partner in the imperial power; see Marc., vii. 5.
- 2He never bore all these names at the same time. For his names before and after his adoption by Pius see note to Hadr. xxiv. 1.
- 3Cf. Ael., vii. 2. It would be more accurate to say that he received the name Aelius when he was adopted by Pius, who had received it on his adoption by Hadrian.
- 4Cf. Marc., vii. 7.