Lucius Ceionius Commodus was born 15 December AD 130, son to the man of the same name whom Hadrian adopted as his successor. When his father died Hadrian adopted instead Antoninus Pius with the requirement that he in turn should adopt Marcus Aurelius (Hadrian's newphew) and the boy Ceionius.
Throughout Antoninus' reign he was to remain in the shadow of the emperor's favourite Marcus Aurelius, who was being groomed to hold office. If Marcus Aurelius was granted the office of consul at 18 years of age, he had to wait until he was 24.
If the senate would have had its way, then on the death of emperor Antoninus in AD 161, only Marcus Aurelius would have acceeded to the throne. But Marcus Aurelius simply insisted that his step-brother be made his imperial colleage, according to the will of both emeprors Hadrian and Antoninus. And so Ceionius became emperor under the name, chosen for him by Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Aurelius Verus. For the first time Rome should be under the joint rule of two emperors, creating a precedent requently repeated thereafter.
Lucius Verus was tall and goodlooking. Unlike emperors Hadrian, Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius, who had made wearing beards fashionable, Verus grew his to a length and breath of a 'barbarian'. He is said to have taken great pride in his hair and beard and at times even to have sprinkled gold dust on it in order to further enhance its blonde colour. He was an accomplished public speaker and also a poet and enjoyed the company of scholars.
In AD 161 the Parthians ousted the king of Armenia who was a Roman ally and launched an attack on Syria. Whilst Marcus Aurelius stayed in Rome, Verus was given command of the army agsint the Parthians. But he arrived in Syria only 9 months later, in AD 162. This was partly due to illness, but partly also, many thought, due to being too careless and preoccupied with his pleasure to show greater haste.
By the year AD 166 Verus' generals had brought the campaign to an end, the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon having been captured in AD 165. Verus returned to Rome in triumph in October AD 166.
But together with Verus' troops came back to Rome a serious plague. The epidemic would devastate empire, raging for 10 years across the empire from Turkey to as far as the Rhine.
Verus' body was carried back to Rome and laid to rest in the Mausoleum of Hadrian and he was deified by the senate.