, was born at Lanuvium in Italy (of parents originally of Nismes)
, was born at Lanuvium in Italy (of parents originally of Nismes) in the eighty-sixth year of the Christian era. He was first made proconsul of Asia, then governor of Italy, and consul in the year 120, and displayed the same virtues in these employments as he did afterwards on the imperial throne: he was mild, prudent, moderate, and just. In the year 138 he succeeded the emperor Adrian, who had adopted him, and the first step of his government was to release a number of persons whom his predecessor had condemned to die. The senate, charmed with such a commencement of authority, decreed him the title of Pius, and ordered that statues should be erected to his honour. These he appears to have amply merited. He set about diminishing the taxes, and preventing the litigious and oppressive exaction of them; and bestowed much of his private fortune in charity. Such conduct made his name as much respected abroad as at home. Several nations sent embassies to him, and others besought his counsel in the appointment of their sovereigns: even kings came to pay homage to his exalted virtues. This must have been highly gratifying to him, as his object was to render his name respected by cultivating the gentler arts of peace, rather than by extending his dominions by war. Rome, accordingly, and her provinces, never enjoyed such days of honour and tranquillity as under his reign. Besides redressing the wrongs, and alleviating the calamities which happened to fall upon any part of his dominions, he displayed his taste by the erection of several noble and useful public edifices. In short, in every respect of public or private character, he is celebrated as one of the greatest and best characters in ancient times. Whatever is amiable, generous, and magnanimous, has been ascribed to him; but what ought to endear his memory even to the present day, was his conduct towards the Christians.