Marcus Aurelius, whose real name was Marcus Annius Verus was born in Rome on April 26, 121 A. and was raised in a wealthy and politically prominent family of Spanish origin. His father was Annius Verus and his mother was Domitia Lucilla. His grandfather held his second consulate in 121 and went on to reach a third in 126, a rare distinction in the entire history of the principate. He was the nephew by marriage of Antoninus Pius, who later became emperor. He was noticed as a child by the emperor Hadrian and was consequently given special educational privileges . .
Marcus was enrolled in the equestrians at the age of six and the next year he was given special permission to attend the priestly college of the Salii in Rome. It was here that Marcus was taught by the greatest thinkers of the day that represented many different cultures. Young Marcus Aurelius's education embraced rhetoric and philosophy and he had a very serious manner. His intellectual pursuits were also deep and devoted. Hadrian took an interest in Marcus Aurelius and called him "Verissimus" or "Most Truthful". he received numerous public honors from an early age and was thought to be a potential successor by Hadrian for a long time. .
When Hadrian's first choice as successor died, Ceionius Commodus, his second choice proved to be much better. T. Aurelius Fulvas Boinius Arrius Antoninus, who was from Cisalpine Gaul, succeeded Hadrian, whose arrangements for the succession also planned for the next generation. Marcus Aurelius continued to receive help from emperors throughout his childhood but later assistance would come in the form of his growth in political power. He was adopted by Antoninus Pius, Hadrian's chosen successor, and was given political positions under him. To further strengthen Marcus's appointment as the successor of Pius, Marcus married his daughter, Annia Galaria Faustina in 145. Marcus would go on to play a large role in government under his father-in-law until Antoninus Pius died.