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Aelius Caesar

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AELIUS CAESAR - (Lucius Aurelius Cejonius Commodus Verus) was the son of Cejonius Commodus, a man of consular rank, descended from an illustrious Etrurian family. The date of his birth is unknown. On the death of Sabina, he was adopted by Hadrian, A. U. C. 888 or 889 (A. D. 135 or 36), and destined to the succession of the empire; declared Caesar under the name of Lucius Aelius Verus, made Praetor and Tribune of the people; and appointed prefect of Pannonia, which province he governed with wisdom and courage; created, for the first time, Consul, A. D. 137, and elected to his second consulate the following year. He was brother on Annius Verus and of Faustina the elder; married Domitia Lucilla. Of a handsome figure, dignified in physiognomy, and stately in carriage, he possessed a highly cultivated understanding, was learned, eloquent, and wrote with elegance in both prose and verse. Refined in his tastes, but effeminate in his habits, he fell an early victim to the inroads made on a weak constitution by voluptuousness and dissipation. Aelius returned from Pannonia to Rome A. D. 138, and died on the very day appointed for him to deliver a florid eulogium in honour of Hadrian 's kindness to him. His body was deposited in the tomb which Hadrian had built at Rome for his own mausoleumn now the castle of St. Angelo, and that emperor caused several temples and statues to be raised to his memory.
 On his coins he is styled L AELIVS CAESAR. They are more or less scarce, in all the three metals. His brass medallions are of the highest degree of rarity. Aelius is represented on all his coins with bare head, curly hair and beard, and a majestic countenance. Havercamp (in Museo Christinae, p. 69) has engraved, and Capt. Smyth cites from his own collection, a large brass of this prince, which with no other legend on its reverse than TR POT COS II and S C on the exergue, typifies "Fortune with her rudder and cornucopiae, meeting Hope, who advances in light vestments and bears the blossom before her. This elegant device alludes to the fortunate exaltation of Aelius, and the expectation of his becoming Emperor. But the hope was vain; and Hadrian, who had celebrated the adoption with magnificient games, a public largess, and a donative to the soldiers, could not conceal his chagrin on perceiving that Aelius was passing to a sepulchre rather than a throne. Alluding to the approaching apotheosis of the sickening caesar, the Emperor exclaimed - 'Ego Divum adoptavi, non filium ' And the event verified the prediction." (Descr. Cat. p. 114.) - The type above described is evidently taken from FORTVNA SPES on an aureus of Hadrian. - See Cavlus. Numis. Aurea Impp. Rom., No. 350.

Coin illustrated is from Arminius ' FORVM gallery.

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