Marcus Aurelius Carus, Roman emperor (282-283), was born probably at Narbona (more correctly, Narona) in Illyria, but was educated at Rome. He was a senator, and had filled various civil and military posts before he was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard by the emperor Probus. After the murder of Probus at Sirmium, Carus was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers.
Although Carus severely avenged the death of Probus, he was himself suspected of having been an accessory to the deed. He does not seem to have returned to Rome after his accession, but contented himself with an announcement of the fact to the Senate.
Bestowing the title of Caesar upon his sons Carinus and Numerian, he left Carinus in charge of the western portion of the empire, and took Numerian with him on the expedition against the Persians which had been contemplated by Probus. Having defeated the Quadi and Sarmatians on the Danube, Carus proceeded through Thrace and Asia Minor, conquered Mesopotamia, pressed on to Seleucia and Ctesiphon, and carried his arms beyond the Tigris.
His hopes of further conquest were cut short by his death. One day, after a violent storm, it was announced that he was dead. His death was variously attributed to disease, the effects of lightning, or a wound received in a campaign against the Huns. However it seems more probable that he was murdered by the soldiers, who were averse to further campaigns against Persia, at the instigation of Arrius Aper, prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Carus seems to have belied the hopes entertained of him on his accession, and to have developed into a morose and suspicious tyrant.