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Hello

My question is about Marcus Aurelius trip in Asia in 176.

At the beginning of year 176 Marcus Aurelius is supposed to leave Alexandria. We find him in Cilicia / Cappadocia where his wife dies in Halala, one roman castrum of the region. An inscription of Halicarnasse confirm the fact that Marcus Aurelius is present in Caria that year (176) before to go in Ionia in septembre 176 for some weeks to visit Arsitides one of his close friends. But in the same time Marcus Aurelius is supposed to have buried his wife in Roma. I'm a bit confused, do you think that Marcus Aurelius Came back in Rome the time to bury his wife and to go back at the end of summer in Asia…. How, all that can be articulated to be coherent ?

thank you.
Good question,but it seems rather unlikely to me Marcus would returned back to east in his very preoccupied situation and chronicaly unstabile situation in the north just to meet some friends .Possibly the sequence of events was erroneosly altered and he visited Arsitides before he returned to the west.
Both modern biographers of Marcus Aurelius (Antony Birley & Frank McLynn) seem to think that Faustina died at Halala on the way to Alexandria & not on the return journey & both wrote that after a period of mourning Marcus & his entourage continued on its journey to Alexandria. Historia Augusta seems sketchy on the timeline of the journey & not very helpful.

McLynn's timeline reads that the journey east started in August 175 with Marcus travelling down the Save to Singidunum, then down the Danube as far as Novae, crossing the Balkans into Thrace and then Byzantium
He then crossed the Bosporus to Chalcedon and followed a south-westerly journey through Bithynia to Ancyra and then south-east towards the Taurus mountains. Just a little way beyond Tyana in Cappadocia, Faustina took ill and died at Halala. Faistina was deified by the Senate and Marcus renamed Halala as Faustinopolis. Marcus then headed south through the Cilician Gates to Tarsus, avoiding avoiding Cassius’ Syrian capital Antioch as well as Cyrrhus the birthplace of Cassius but resumed the land journey via Palestine to Alexandria where it is assumed he spent the winter of 175/176 but the date of his arrival there is not recorded. In Spring of 176 he commenced the return journey to Rome. He travelled northwards this time stopping at Antioch, then headed west by Tarsus, his route probably ran through Cilicia and Lycia-Pamphylia as far as Ephesus Then he arrived in early autumn 176 at Smyrna and made a long stopover to see Aristides Then he made the sea voyage to Athens probably mid September. In Athens Marcus and Commodus were initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries.

By late Autumn Marcus and his party embarked for a crossing of the Ionian Sea to Brindisi which was a bad time of year for sailing with storms common. He must have returned to Rome by November as he conferred the title imperator on his son on November 27 176 On January 1, 177 Marcus had his15 year old son appointed consul.
Seeing he was consolidating his rule in the east after the short lived rebellion of Cassius would he have returned to Rome at his wife's death at a crucial time or would he have conducted the funeral at Halala as he seemed to have most of his family present as well as many members of the senate in his entourage, I assume. She could have been cremated & her ashes interred in Rome at a later date on his return. I am only guessing though :?
Regards
Michael Kerr
Quote:Both modern biographers of Marcus Aurelius (Antony Birley & Frank McLynn) seem to think that Faustina died at Halala on the way to Alexandria & not on the return journey ...
McLynn will just be following Birley, who points out that Philostratus (Lives of the Sophists II.562) tells us that Faustina died in winter, and reasons that this will be winter AD 175/6 rather than winter AD 176/7. Hence, the outward journey.
Thank you for your fast answer…

Michael Kerr wrote : I assume. She could have been cremated & her ashes interred in Rome at a later date on his return. I am only guessing though…

This would be the best alternative so far… until we can't get a very precise timeline of the journey…