Europe 180: Second Marcomannic War
After Avidius Cassius’ revolt (175), Marcus Aurelius secured the succession of his 15-year-old son Commodus by making him co-emperor. When, in 177, the Quadi and Marcomanni rose up again, both co-emperors traveled north to suppress them. Marcus intended to annex the conquered territories as the new province of Marcomannia, but died in 180, just before his vision could come to fruition.
27 Nov 176–17 Mar 180 Co-principate of Commodus▲
Returning to Rome from the East in late 176, Marcus Aurelius conferred the title of imperator on his 15-year-old son Commodus in November 176. Marcus had his son appointed consul in January 177 and then completed his rise as an equal co-emperor by naming him Augustus in mid-177. Commodus thus became the first Roman emperor ‘born to the purple’ (born while his father was emperor).
177 Mauri War of 177▲
In 177 the Mauri mounted another major raid on Roman Spain from North Africa, landing at Malaca (Malaga) in the province of Baetica and laying siege to the inland town of Singilia Barba (Antequera). However, they had been trailed from the Atlas mountains by C. Vallius Maximianus, the procurator of Mauretania Tingitana, who vanquished the invaders by setting his legion on them from behind.
? ?? 177–20 Oct 180 Second Marcomannic War▲
In 177 the Quadi, followed by the Marcomanni and other Danube tribes, broke their treaties with the Roman Empire and began a guerrilla war on the frontier. When local troops proved insufficient, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus marched north in August 178, crossing the Danube and defeating in turn the Cotini, Quadi, Naristi, and Marcomanni. In March 180 Marcus died, probably of the Antonine Plague; deciding against his father’s desire to create a province of Marcomannia, Commodus withdrew later that year.
3 Aug 178–? Apr 179 Cotini and Quadi campaign▲
In August 178 Marcus Aurelius and Commodus left Rome for the Danube, negotiating a treaty of friendship with the Iazyges that winter. In early spring 179 Marcus invaded and devastated the Cotini, resettling the remnants of that tribe in Lower Pannonia. Alarmed, the Quadi attempted to migrate to join the Semnones on the Elbe, but, despite receiving reinforcements from the Marcomanni and Roxolani, were intercepted and defeated in April.
? Apr 179–17 Mar 180 Marcomannic campaign of 179▲
Following his victory over the Quadi, Marcus Aurelius turned on the Marcomanni and Naristi, occupying their lands with 45,000 troops and pursuing a scorched-earth campaign. This ended the Naristi, many of whom surrendered to the Romans in return for land within the Empire. Marcus intended to annex the conquered territories as the new Roman province of Marcomannia, but died in March 180, before this could be implemented.