The study of philosophy and other scholarly pursuits were the things that Marcus Aurelius loved most of all, but it was his lot, as emperor of Rome between 161 and 180 A.D., to spend most of his reign fighting barbarians far from home. The hardships of living in an army camp did not stop him from writing, though. His Meditations have survived and are popular amongst those who study the Stoic philosophers. Stoicism is a fundamental world view. It was most vigorously espoused and popularized by the best of Rome's hard-headed intellectuals. The Meditations praise independence of thought. They demonstrate the importance of the idea that a person is responsible for his own actions and that everything beyond his control is not worth worrying about. For Aurelius and for us, life is a matter of choices, and one must always choose the good.