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Meditations
     

Meditations

4.1 66
by Marcus Aurelius
 

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Marcus Aurelius is considered to one of the great Emperors of Rome who was not only a skilled military leader, but also a great philosopher in the Stoic tradition.

Although he spent almost all of his reign on campaigns in foreign territories, he managed to write down his thoughts and these became what are now considered a masterpiece of Roman philosophy, the

Overview

Marcus Aurelius is considered to one of the great Emperors of Rome who was not only a skilled military leader, but also a great philosopher in the Stoic tradition.

Although he spent almost all of his reign on campaigns in foreign territories, he managed to write down his thoughts and these became what are now considered a masterpiece of Roman philosophy, the discourses entitled Meditations.

Marcus wrote them around AD 170 to 180, while 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 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.

The book 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, Meditations

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013713529
Publisher:
White Crow Productions Ltd
Publication date:
01/04/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
164
File size:
587 KB

Meet the Author

Marcus Aurelius was born in AD 121 and both his parents came from wealthy backgrounds. His father died when Marcus was three years old, and by the time he was six, he had gained the attention of the Emperor Hadrian who oversaw his education. Hadrian ensured that Marcus was taught by some of the greatest scholars in Rome who educated him in literature, drama, geometry, Greek oratory, Greek and Latin.

Marcus later abandoned most of those subjects in favour of philosophy, with the work of the Greek philosopher Epictetus being a major influence on his thinking.

In 138, while still a young man, the Emperor Antoninus Pius adopted Marcus, and in 161 he himself became Emperor. Marcus insisted he would only take up the Emperorship if Lucius Verus were also installed. Marcus’s insistence on Lucius joining him as Emperor was a military one. At that time Rome was fighting wars on multiple fronts and Marcus wanted someone he could trust to marshal the troops who he knew would not at some point lead a revolt against him. Lucius and Marcus were loyal to each other up until Lucius’ death in AD 169.

After Lucius’ death, Marcus was the sole emperor, and due to the incessant wars in the provinces he was unable to spend much time indulging his philosophical pursuits. He did manage to found four chairs of philosophy in Athens, one for each of the main philosophical schools of thought, Aristotelian, Epicurean, Platonic and Stoic.

Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180 AD in the city of Vindobona, which was situated where Vienna is today. History remembers him as the last of the ‘five good emperors’ of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty.

Marcus’ son Commodus replaced his father as emperor and although he reigned over a relatively stable period in Roman history, in terms of war and peace, his personal behaviour and antics were not in the spirit of those Emperors that came immediately before him. Commodus was eventually murdered in a plot that involved his mistress Marcia, thus bringing to an end the highly regarded Nervan-Antonian dynasty

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Meditations 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
JWL More than 1 year ago
After reading this book I felt very inquisitive. A lot of the topics discussed by Marcus were topics in which we do not discuss often in philosophy. I had to do some outside research on topics such as "logos" and "stoicism". Overall, this was one of the most fascinating readings I have picked up in a long time. It was thrilling to read the writings of Marcus and to get an inside feel towards his life and philosophies regarding life. I honestly would recommend this book to any student of philosophy, who is looking to gain an intricate perspective regarding early philosophy. The only caution I would address in this book is the fact that Marcus Aurelius appears a little on the dark side of things. While reading his meditations you will find that he, at time, was slightly sinister in his thought; however, I do believe that he never thought they would get published. I am under the impression he believed his meditations would be personal, and for his eyes alone to read. Overall, this is a tremendous read, and I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a conservative politician with a deep respect for the republic, religion and the call of duty above self this remarkable thin book has been a great inspiration. The book was writen by Marcus, one the best emperors Rome knew, about 1,800 years ago The true begining of the book is 'Book II': ' ...I shall meet today inquisitive, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men.' are the opening line. Marcus hits you hard with just how difficult it is to rule in a just manner. How does one get up each morning and look into the unfathomable chaos that wants to be and attempt to make 'good and right' of it? This is the goal of this great man. How should we live in order to accomplish this? How should we behave? How to we look upon and deal with those that attempt to bring this chaos? This book is excellent reading for anyone who has an interest in political leadership and I don't mean the 90% of elected officials that are in it for personal gain or vanity. This book is also excellent reading for anyone who has an interest in supporting a political leader because by reading this book you will learn to recognize what true leadership is and the way in which a true leader behaves. This is a wonderful thin little book that you will reflect on for a long, long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent insight into the mind of a thoughtful Roman emperor in the age just after Christ. It appears he was not influenced much by Christianity, yet many of his Stoic observations are secularly parallel to Christian theology. This book was an unpretentious collection of philosophical observations that remind me of just how similar mankind's thought, hopes, concerns, etc. remain down the Ages.
Pengiun222 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book from way back that is filled with wisdom and suggestions on how to live right and harmoniously. I would reccomend this to book everyone.
Truejabber More than 1 year ago
The content is timeless and anyone interested in leading a meaningful life should read it. Unfortunately the formatting from MobileReference stinks; not any better than the free versions available, and was sometimes very difficult to read. This was disappointing since I have purchased other classic ebooks done by them which were fine. Content ***** Formatting *
Anonymous 8 months ago
After having read The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, I was compelled to dive into stoicism and see what all the fuss was about. I looked into Holiday's The Daily Stoic website and was recommended this book as a starting point. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Can't wait to check out the works of Seneca and Epictetus!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read to mull over
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manirul01 More than 1 year ago
Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!
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Avelee More than 1 year ago
I have the paperback version and really wanted one on my nook, which can also be read on my iPad through the nook app. I need the Martin Hammond translation as that is what we are using in class. Though the paperback is that of Martin Hammond, the nook book version is not. I wish I was informed of this before I purchased it, the cover is completely different in my nook library because it is a different book. If I would have paid more than $.95 I would be much more upset, but I do not appreciate false advertising. I know this is most likely a technical issue, but it needs to be fixed. I usually spend at least $10 on school-related nook books (not textbooks). It makes me want to switch to the kindle, where I can pay with my checking account and am not limited to credit cards.
AdamZ1 More than 1 year ago
I pick up this book and reread selections whenever I'm feeling depressed. Time and time again the book reminds you that life is fleeting, but Aurelius' approach to this truth is different than our modern "so make the most of it" attitude. Instead, he focuses on the fact is itself, on the insignificance of life, so as to make a person with context. You'll have to read the book to understand what I mean.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Exactly what I was looking for!
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