(Note: we haven't quite finished this chapter yet, we still have a long pope biography and a long emperor biography to finish going through if/when we are able to.)
"Pope Eleutherius" is a fake, he really matches emperor Lucius Verus.
There is no doubt from the evidence that the first 46+ "popes/bishops" match the Roman emperors. However for some popes/emperors the exact correct candidate match is not necessarily overly certain unless/until much more intense research/study is able to be conducted.
At present it seems that the most likely best match for pope Eleutherius is emperor L(ucius) Aurelius Verus.
-- Eleutherius: name Eleutherius/Eleuterus ["arrival/coming"??] (or Evaristus/Eucharistus). -- Lucius (Aurelius) Verus: name L(ucius) (Aurelius) Verus. -- Commodus: name L(ucius) Aelius Aurelius? -- "These name-swaps have proven so confusing that even the Historia Augusta, our main source for the period, cannot keep them straight. The 4th-century ecclesiastical historian Eusebius of Caesarea shows even more confusion."
-- Eleutherius: ruled 161/167 or 171/174/175/177-185/189/193. [Deacon under Anicetus 154-164; & deacon under Soter -174.] -- Lucius Verus: co-ruled 161-169. "The mistaken belief that Lucius had the name "Verus" before becoming emperor has proven especially popular." [LV's end date 169 close to Eleutherius' start date 171? LV 161-169 similar to Eleutherius 171-189 (10 years difference)?] -- Marcus Aurelius: ruled 161-169-177-180. [The popes list maybe has co-emperor Lucius Verus after Marcus Aurelius (as he is in some Roman emperors lists), though Marcus is actually more after Lucius dates-wise?] -- Commodus: ruled 177-180-192. [Popes list may have omitted Commodus "Hercules" and so juggled the dates abit?]
-- Eleutherius: was a "saint". Depicted with a halo/aura. -- Lucius Verus: Was deified/"divine".
-- Eleutherius: mission to king Lucius of the Britons/Britain [or Abgar 9 of Edessa] ca 167 or .... -- Lucius Verus: i. May be contemporary with Lucius Artorius Castus [somewhere/anywhere between 121/122-166 / 175-184/185 / 196/197 / 215/232]? ii. "Lucius's dispatch and journey east". Edessa. ("Lucius at Antioch".) -- Marcus Aurelius or Commodus or Pertinax or Didius Julianus or Severus: (Lucius Ælius Septimus Megas) Abgar IX the Great of Britio/Edessa/Osroene 177/179-212/214? Commodus: Britain?
-- Eleutherius: food/dietary law. -- Marcus Aurelius &/or Lucius Aurelius Verus: Famine 162?
-- Eleutherius: Called 'Graecus'; was a Greek; born in Nicopoli, Epirus, Greece. (Compare pope Soter.) -- Marcus Aurelius: "ideal emperor in late Greek thought". MA's 'Meditations' written in Greek. -- Commodus: Commodus thought he was Hercules.
-- Eleutherius: Deacon under Anicetus, & deacon under Soter. -- Marcus Aurelius: "the choice of city councillors (decuriones)"??
-- Eleutherius: "Eleutherius, who long hesitated, but, after a conscientious and thorough study of the situation" -- Marcus Aurelius: "commendable in study of philosophy". "a most prudent and conscientiously just emperor".