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Antonines (ănˈtənīnz), collective name of certain Roman emperors of the 2d cent., namely Antoninus Pius; his adopted sons, Marcus Aurelius and Verus; and Commodus.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Antonini). Dynasty of Roman emperors from 96 to 192, named after Antoninus Pius.

The following emperors belonged to the Antonine dynasty: Nerva (96–98), Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138), Antoninus Pius (138–161), Marcus Aurelius (161–180), his cornier, Lucius Verus (161–169), and Corn-modus (180–192). In their domestic and foreign policy the Antonines reflected the interests of wide circles of Roman slaveowners in Italy as well as in the provinces. Their policy was directed at vitalizing the economic life of the empire (founding new cities, initiating construction work, introducing measures to support small-scale and middle-class landowners, broadening the social support of the Roman state and strengthening the position of slaveowners, granting liberal rights of citizenship to provincials, introducing many provincial slaveowners into the Roman Senate, and adopting measures to prevent uprisings of slaves). The first Antonines (especially Trajan) conducted an energetic foreign policy and annexed new territories to the empire (Dacia and Arabia in 106, and territories in Armenia and Mesopotamia during the years 114–115).

During Hadrian’s reign the Antonines began to enter a transition period, shifting their policy to one of defense of far-flung borders and the construction of defense installations. Under the Antonine dynasty the concept of monarchical power took on its final form, and a bureaucratic apparatus came into being. The time of the Antonines’ rule is considered as the period of the highest domestic and foreign flourishing of the Roman Empire. But from Hadrian’s time one could already observe symptoms of crisis in the slaveowning means of production, and from the time of Marcus Aurelius the might of the Roman Empire began to decline.


Grimm, E. D. Issledovaniia po istorii razvitiia rimskoi imperatorskoi vlasti, vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Rostovtzeff, M. The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire. Oxford, 1926.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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