Aurelian vs. Antonine

Roma, porte nelle Mura aureliane (elaborazione da Commons:Image:Karte Rom unter Augustus MKL1888.png) PD COurtesy of Lalupa. at Wikipedia
Roma, porte nelle Mura aureliane (elaborazione da Commons:Image:Karte Rom unter Augustus MKL1888.png) PD Courtesy of Lalupa. at WIkipedia

Today I was looking at a map contributed to Wikipedia by Lalupa that seemed to be of Augustan Rome, since it was listed in Wikipedia as Image:Karte Rom unter Augustus MKL1888-Gates.JPG. Now, I may be missing the point, as I often do, but if this is an Augustan era map, why does it have the Aurelian gates?

Trying to figure that out led me to realize that Aurelian sounds so much like Aurelius that I routinely assume the word refers to the Antonine emperors (Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus). Of course, it doesn’t. It refers to a third century emperor who ruled from 270-275 and who built a set of walls encompassing the 7 hills, the Campus Martius and part of the West Bank of the Tiber. Aurelian doesn’t stand alone, but is in the group of Soldier-emperors. He came after Publius Licinius Valerianus (253-260) –> Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus (260-268) –> Marcus Aurelius Claudius Augustus Gothicus II (268-270) –> Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus (270), possibly appointed as successor by Claudius Gothicus, but more likely simply picked by his soldiers.

As if it weren’t enough for him to share the Antonine emperor Marcus Aurelius’ name, he introduced a coin called antoninianius.

The walls named for Aurelian were started during his reign to make Rome a little more defensible against barbarian invasions. They were completed shortly after his death and served to mark the boundary of Rome

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