Marcus Annius Verus was born at Rome in 121 AD, the son of Annius Verus and Domitia Lucilla. Hadrian recognized the fine qualities of the youth and he was bethrothed to the daughter of Aelius Caesar. After the death of Aelius, he was adopted by Antoninus Piius and took the names of M. Aelius Aurelius Verus.
In AD 139 he was given the title of Caesar and in 145 he married Faustina Junior, the daughter of Antoninus. The Tribunician power was conferred on him in 147 and his succession to the throne on March 7, 161 AD, was smooth. The reign of Marcus Aurelius was disturbed by many frontier wars, and the legions returning from the Parthian war. In AD 165 the plague spread throughout the empire leaving many districts almost depopulated. Aurelius spent much of the latter part of his reign campaigning on the Danube frontier, and it was during these wars that he wrote his celebrated “meditations”. He died on March 17 AD180 and was immediately deified. He was a careful, generous and conscientious ruler and is best remembered for his devotion to stoic philosophy.
At some point during his reign, Aurelius began putting “Antoninus” on his coinage to honor his beloved father-in-law.
On the reverse Mars in military dress, is standing holding spear and resting left hand on shield.