On this day (13th January) in 101 AD, Lucius Aelius, Hadrian’s first intended successor, was born. Aelius, born with the name Lucius Ceionius Commodus, was the son of a powerful senatorial family. He served as consul in 136 AD and was officially adopted by Hadrian as his heir in 137 AD. However Aelius never attained the throne. He died of tuberculosis a few months before Hadrian on January 1st 138 AD. Hadrian was therefore forced to choose a new heir; Antoninus Pius.
“He was a man of joyous life and well versed in letters, and he was endeared to Hadrian, as the malicious say, rather by his beauty than by his character.” Historia Augusta
“He was considerate of his family, well-dressed, elegant in appearance, a man of regal beauty, with a countenance that commanded respect, a speaker of unusual eloquence, deft at writing verse, and, moreover, not altogether a failure in public life.” Historia Augusta
If you want to learn more about Lucius Aelius, I highly recommend you to read Gareth Harney’s excellent article Aelius – Forgotten Prince.