Marcus was three months old when his father died, and was thereupon adopted by his grandfather.
Hadrian adopted, as his successor, Titus Antoninus Pius (uncle of Marcus), on condition that he in turn adopted both Marcus (then seventeen) and Lucius Ceionius Commodus, the son of Aelius Caesar, who had originally been intended by Hadrian as his successor, but had died before him.
Her beauty attracted the notice of the decemvir Appius Claudius, who instructed Marcus Claudius, one of his clients, to claim her as his slave.
Virginius presented himself with his daughter before the tribunal of Appius, who, refusing to listen to any argument, declared Virginia to be a slave and the property of Marcus.
His original name was Marcus Annius Verus.'