For the first 9 years of his rule, Emperor Marcus Aurelius ruled jointly with his adoptive brother, Lucius Verus. They shared the throne until Lucius’ death in 169.
He also betrothed his eleven-year-old daughter Annia Lucilla to his co-emperor Verus.
Support Poor and Needy People
He made provisions to support poor children, along the lines of earlier imperial foundations. Emperor Marcus Aurelius proved popular with the people of Rome. People of Rome also approved of his civiliter (“lacking pomp”) behavior.
Helping people during Crisis
Within a year after becoming the emperor the Tiber overflowed its banks and flooded much of Rome. It drowned many animals and destroyed food which left the city in famine.
Marcus Aurelius and his co-emperor Lucius Aurelius Verus gave the crisis their personal attention. They even went to the extent of providing for the Italian communities out of the Roman granaries.
During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, comedy writer Marullus criticized him. He did not face any retribution as the emperor permitted freedom of speech.
Any other emperor might have him executed for his criticism but the reign of Marcus Aurelius was a golden period for the supporters of free speech.
Contribution to the philosophy of Stoicism (philosopher king)
During his lifetime Emperor Marcus Aurelius acquired the reputation of a philosopher king. This title would remain with him even after his death.
Emperor Marcus Aurelius wants to improve his mental state. So, he wrote 12 books to provide himself with guidance and wisdom.
He wrote most of his books during his military campaigns from 170 to 180AD.
Though Marcus Aurelius never intended to publish his books, his admirer published the book after his death.
The book had no official title but his admirer gave the book title called “Meditations” as one of the strong themes of the book is to maintain focus and work without distraction while maintaining strong ethical principles.
He also advocated Stoic ideas like avoiding indulgence in sensory gratification, which will set a man free from the pains and pleasures of the material world.
Contribution to Law
Due to his good upbringing and education, Marcus Aurelius became proficient in imperial administration by the time he became emperor.
Like many previous emperors, Marcus spent much of his time addressing matters of law such as petitions and hearing disputes. However he took great care in the theory and practice of legislation while giving his decision.
Area where emperor Marcus Aurelius had greatest impact in changing the law of Rome was the manumission of slaves, the guardianship of orphans and minors, and the choice of city councillors