This bronze statue depicts the pensive and philosophical Marcus Aurelius. He reigned as co-emperor with Lucius Verus for a while, until Verus's early death. Aurelius was forced to rule alone during an incredibly difficult period. Rome was under threat by foreign invaders. He is often depicted in art as the weary, war-town philosopher he was in life. He reflected on issues of war, violence, and justice. In this statue, he stretches his arm in a gesture of mercy toward a cowering enemy.