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Meditations by Marcus Aurelius


by Marcus Aurelius

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,52592620 (4.11)1 / 139
A new translation, the first in thirty-five years, of one of the most influential and admired books of the ages, the reflections of Marcus Aurelius, Stoic philosopher and emperor of Rome 161-180 A.D., few books have meant as much to as many as Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. It remains a life-enhancing work of the basics of Stoic doctrine, Aurelius's life and career, the recurring themes and structure of the work's ongoing influence.… (more)

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English (84)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (92)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Taken in small doses this can be interesting. ( )
  easytarget | Feb 6, 2020 |
Marcus Aurelius reminds us that life is short so we must make best use of the time we have remaining. ( )
  sharonandjerry | Dec 31, 2019 |
This is not a traditional book with plot and characters and I wouldn't recommend sitting down and reading it straight through. It is a list of advice from one of the greatest Emperors of Rome during the height of it's power. Some of the advice seems a bit contrite, like you would see on a hanging cat poster in someones office, but put all together it is inspiring. It also humanizes one of the most powerful people on the planet (at the time) when he is writing things like "don't sweat the small stuff" and "don't stress out about things you can't control".

I would recommend this to people who have no philosophy background but would like to get their feet wet in the subject. ( )
  nmorse | Dec 3, 2019 |
This is not a book that was intended to be read all the way through: it’s a collection of notes to self, kept over a fairly long timeframe and across multiple locations, written in a terse, almost abbreviated style sometimes that would only have made sense to the author himself, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, Emperor of Rome in the middle of the second century. Much of it is understandable, though, and even setting aside that the text is some eighteen hundred years old, it is a fascinatingly in-depth insight into a real person from Antiquity.

The Emperor, in his diary, tried his very best to be honest with himself and with others, and to treat his fellow human beings with the respect they cosmically deserve. He is nothing but frank and direct with himself; he is his own stern teacher and Superego.

Some bits are repetitive, in that there are things that Marcus Aurelius keeps reminding himself of over and over again: of his own mortality, first and foremost; of being ever rational; of his relative insignificance in view of time, space and the human multitudes; but also of the importance of maintaining mindfulness and humility while fulfilling his duties, or doing anything at all, for that matter. Above all he is concerned with occupying his rightful place in the order of things, both in the Universe and in Society. Presumably these were some of the things he struggled with most, or found hardest to implement consistently in his life.

Interestingly, there are many aphorisms strewn through the text, along with allusions to anecdotes or lines and characters from plays that illustrate a particular point: these Marcus Aurelius frequently does not elaborate upon and are merely there to serve as quick mnemonics for the larger lesson they remind him of. Some of these references are obscure, but others are to texts that have come down to us. That means it is important to find an edition with good footnotes! And my edition, edited and translated by Gregory Hays, was indeed wonderful. The translation really flowed: Hays clearly took pains to render the Emperor’s Greek into contemporary language. The footnotes and the explanatory introduction were great, as well. ( )
1 vote Petroglyph | Nov 28, 2019 |
How do I rate this? I find this translation and writings of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius to be quite easy to read and perhaps closer to what the author meant to elucidate. There is no question that Marcus Aurelius' writings rate five stars as does the translation. I must preface before you read on that this is a book you will wish to read more than once. I will not let the editors introduction take away from my rating. Remember we are here to read the writings of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.

This is the editors George Long’s version of ‘The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius’. The editors introduction I found somewhat wanting but his translation along with inserted notes and prime sources were much welcomed. It is believed that these words were not written to be published and were the thoughts of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and thus may give us the insights of the most powerful man in the world of his time. His writing is a masterpiece of Stoic philosophy and once you start reading his actual writings you will find them well thought out and easy to read.

Stoicism was considered system of philosophy that consisted of three distinct disciplines that included logic, ethics, and physics. Stoics in this time treated all philosophical problems by subjecting them to analysis using each of these disciplines in combination as equal parts of the Stoic system. And these writings do an excellent job of lettings us see this and glimpse some of understanding of the philosophy the emperor lived his life by. I spent much time interacting with generals of various armed forces and almost all of them has read ‘The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius’. ( )
  hermit | Nov 21, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
The translation doesn't shrink from anachronism (there's talk of atoms) and sometimes verges on the new age: "Stay centred on that", "Let it hit you". But it's sparky and slangily readable, and for those who know Marcus only as the Richard Harris character in Ridley Scott's Gladiator, this is a chance to become better acquainted.

As a critic once said, the Meditations are an "unassailable wintry kingdom". But in the desert of 2003, their icy blasts are refreshing and restorative. They tell you the worst. And having heard the worst, you feel less bad.

» Add other authors (135 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marcus Aureliusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hays, GregoryTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Long, GeorgeTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ahonen, MarkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ķemere, InāraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brett, SimonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cīrule, BrigitaTranslatorsecondary 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
McPharlin, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Needleman, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piazza, John P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubene, MāraForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubenis, AndrisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segura Ramos, BartoloméTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staniforth, MaxwellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wester, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wittstock, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My grandfather Verus: Character and self control.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Steeds weer verbaas ik mij erover dat, hoewel mensen vooral zichzelf liefhebben, zij meer waarde hechten aan wat anderen van hen denken dan aan hun eigen opvatting. Als een godheid of een wijze leraar ons zou vragen ons geen ideeën over onszelf in het hoofd te halen en te koesteren die wij niet hardop durven te zeggen, dan zouden we dat geen dag volhouden. Hieruit blijkt dat wij wat anderen van ons vinden hoger aanslaan dan ons eigen inzicht.
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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)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449337, 0141018828, 0143566326

Liberty Fund, Inc

2 editions of this book were published by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Editions: 0865975116, 0865975108

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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