Who was Marcus Aurelius? How did he die?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor whose reign lasted from 161-180. His real name is M. Annius Verus, andhe was born in 121. His parents were of a wealthy origin, especially his father, who was what we could call today an Army General. Back then, one could succeed to the throne of an emperor by being selected (not necc. related by blood) and then adopted by the Emperor to be his successor upon death. Such was the case of Marcus Aurelius. He, however, is most famous because, as Plato would say, nations are well-better served when their leaders are philosophers, and vice versa. Marcus Aurelius was a deep thinker, a lover of philosophy and, as you could see in his Meditations,  a very spiritual and metaphysical man. That is what made him so special.

He died of illness after his last battle. All that is recorded in the Vita of the Emperors of Rome is that, prior to his death, he opted not to eat nor drink, as if testing his own humanity to end up welcoming death.