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Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
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Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius

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There is something about Marcus Aurelius's brand of Stoicism that appeals to me. His almost simple belief in the power of reason and truth is comforting. His text offers helpful habits of mind that would be appreciated by anyone who values the practice of mindfulness and attention. I can easily see myself coming back to this book later in life. ( )
  johnxlibris | Jul 22, 2015 |
Rated: F
Oh, I tried. Night after night I would try to digest a few more random thoughts from this stoic Emperor of Rome. I'm not a stoic for sure. Finally gave up about 2/3 through the book. Very few nuggets could I hold up as true in more own life. I rarely give up on a book. Just had to with this one. ( )
  jmcdbooks | May 29, 2015 |
The thing that keeps being repeated in this book is don't do bad. Maybe a sign of a guilty conscience, I don't know. It is the theme for this book in any case. ( )
  Kurt.Rocourt | May 22, 2015 |
The main attraction of this book is that it is a book of philosophy written by an emperor. If it was written by someone of more lowly stature it would surely have been forgotten. It is a good insight into his mind but an unfortunate boon to those who love to think the best rulers are those who think philosophically. It would be more interesting to me if it was written by some unknown blacksmith, tailor or farm slave. At least then the question of how they acquired an education in Stoic philosophy would be interesting speculation. Nonetheless, there is some wisdom in the writings and it is encouraging to know that in the midst of such grueling military campaigns he could find time to compose a journal of something other than the progress of the legions against the barbarians. ( )
  riskedom | Mar 21, 2015 |
Marcus Aurelius was Emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 CE. Considered the last of the Five Good Emperors, he oversaw his empire with stoicism and equality. In his Meditations, written while on a military campaign in the last decade of his life, he sets forth a series of aphorisms, letters, and principles that he tried to live by. As a stoic, he thought that powerful emotions were the cause of errors in life and so sought to live a life of a more moral and intellectual manner.

The Meditations aren’t really written for an audience, and this translation is a little stilted. But what you can tell is that Marcus Aurelius is trying to reflect upon a rather interesting life. There are times when he is contented in good memories and times when the ennui of his stoic life gets to him. But the overall message is to live a good life (“Death hangs over you: while you live, and while you may, be good”) and try not to be too overly swayed by things outside of one’s control. “It is not right to vex ourselves at things,” he says, “for they care not about it.”

In the end, Marcus Aurelius’s message is both honorable and interesting. The writing takes a little getting used to, so it would behoove readers to find a good translation. It is, however, a rather good beginning look into stoicism and its effectiveness in the proper hands. Marcus Aurelius, when set against the likes of Nero and Domitian, rules in the vein of a philosopher king and tries desperately to do right by his people. All in all, a refreshing and intellectual book. ( )
1 vote NielsenGW | Nov 12, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (112 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marcus Aureliusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ahonen, MarkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clay, DiskinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Collier, JeremyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
García Gual, Carlossecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hammond, MartinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hard, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hicks, C. ScotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hicks, David V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Long, GeorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Needleman, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piazza, John P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segura Ramos, BartoloméTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staniforth, MaxwellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wester, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My grandfather Verus: Character and self control.
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Book description
Marcus Aurelius wrote 'Meditations' around 170 - 180, whilst on a campaign in central Europe, most probably in what is now Serbia, Hungary and Austria.
The 12 books that make up 'Meditations' were not written as an exercise in explaining his philosophy but rather as a personal notebook for self-improvement and study.
'Meditations' illustrates just how important the Stoic Epictetus was to Marcus as he quotes the Greek philosopher's famed 'Discourses' on more than one occasion. Epictetus was a legendary figure in Greek philosophy and many claim he is the greatest of the Stoics; texts that remain in existence from the period suggest that in his native Greece, he was even more popular than Plato.
As was previously mentioned, 'Meditations' was not written for public consumption but rather as an aid to personal development. Marcus wanted to change his way of living and thinking and to do this he embarked on a set of philosophical exercises. He would reflect on philosophical ideas and by writing them down and by repeating them he hoped to re-programme his mind and find his own philosophy to live by.One of the key exercises in the book discusses Marcus attempting to look at the world from 'the point of view of the cosmos' in a bid to try and look at life and the universe outside of the common and limited parameters of individual concerns.
“You have the power to strip away many superfluous troubles located wholly in your judgment, and to possess a large room for yourself embracing in thought the whole cosmos, to consider everlasting time, to think of the rapid change in the parts of each thing, of how short it is from birth until dissolution, and how the void before birth and that after dissolution are equally infinite.”
Marcus Aurelius died on March 17, 180, in the city of Vindobona which was situated where Vienna is today.
Haiku summary
Live life with reason. / The cosmos doesn't need you. / Be still. Watch. Listen. (johnxlibris)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140449337, Paperback)

A new translation of the philosophical journey that has inspired luminaries from Matthew Arnold to Bill Clinton

Written by an intellectual Roman emperor, the Meditations offer a wide range of spiritual reflections developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and the universe. Marcus Aurelius covers topics as diverse as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods, and his own emotions, spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation.
* Includes an introduction, chronology, explanatory notes, general index, index of quotations, and index of names

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:02 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

"Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exultation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and Aurelius's own emotions. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years." -- Publisher's website.… (more)

» see all 10 descriptions

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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449337, 0141018828, 0143566326

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