Museum, Nerva–Antonine dynasty, Roman Portraiture, SPQR

Felix dies natalis, Luci Vere!

Lucius Ceionius Commodus, the future Lucius Verus, was born on December 15 in 130 AD. He was the son of Aelius Caesar, Hadrian’s first choice as a successor, but Lucius’ father died when he was only seven years old. Having lost his first choice as successor, Hadrian designated Antoninus Pius to be his successor and required him in turn to adopt Lucius as well as Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus ruled jointly for eight years, from AD 161 to 169.

As a tribute to Lucius Verus’ birthday, here is a selection of his surviving portraits.

Lucius Verus as a child, from Ostia Antica, Italy © Carole Raddato
Lucius Verus as a child (Type I), from Ostia Antica, Italy
Young Lucius Verus, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen © Carole Raddato
Young Lucius Verus
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Lucius Verus (Main type), Marble, 160 -170 AD
Altes Museum Berlin
Marble head of Lucius Verus From Perge Antalya Museum © Carole Raddato
Marble head of Lucius Verus (Main type), from Perge
Antalya Museum
Portrait head of co-emperor Lucius Verus, found in Athens, 161-169 AD, National Archaeological Museum of Athens © Carole Raddato
Portrait head of co-emperor Lucius Verus, found in Athens, 161-169 AD, National Archaeological Museum of Athens
Lucius Verus, c. AD 160-170, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen © Carole Raddato
Lucius Verus, c. AD 160-170
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Colossal head of Lucius Verus (mounted on a modern bust), from a villa belonging to Lucius Verus in Acqua Traversa near Rome, between AD 180 and 183 AD (posthumous), Louvre Museum
Colossal head of Lucius Verus (mounted on a modern bust), from a villa belonging to Lucius Verus in Acqua Traversa near Rome, between AD 180 and 183 AD (posthumous)
Louvre Museum
Marble bust of Lucius Verus Glyptothek Museum, Munich © Carole Raddato
Marble bust of Lucius Verus
Glyptothek Museum, Munich
Modern marble bust with the head of Lucius Verus, 2nd half of 2nd century AD Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Modern marble bust with the head of Lucius Verus, 2nd half of 2nd century AD
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Lucius Verus, from Mahdia, Tunisia, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen © Carole Raddato
Lucius Verus, from Mahdia (Tunisia)
National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
Marble bust of the emperor Lucius Verus, from Rome, circa 161-170 AD British Museum
Marble bust of the emperor Lucius Verus, from Rome, circa 161-170 AD
British Museum
Portrait of Lucius Verus, replica of the mid 3rd century AD, found in the Roman Forum Palatine Museum, Rome
Portrait of Lucius Verus, replica of the mid 3rd century AD, found in the Roman Forum
Palatine Museum, Rome

Lucius Verus is remembered for being a fairly successful military conqueror. He made successful campaigns in Armenia and Mesopotamia and sacked Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital (see Lucius Verus and the Parthians). Verus also campaigned with Marcus Aurelius in the vicinity of Pannonia against the Marcomanni. Returning home in AD 169, the junior emperor fell ill and died soon after at the age of 38. Rome was left with a sole ruler again.

More portraits of Lucius Verus can be viewed from my image collection on Flickr.

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