The second century CE Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was also a Stoic philosopher, and his private Meditations, written in Greek, gives readers a unique opportunity to see how an ancient person (indeed an emperor) might try to live a Stoic life, according to which only virtue is good, only vice is bad, and the things which we busy ourselves with are all indifferent. The difficulties Marcus faces putting Stoicism into practice are philosophical as well as practical, and understanding his efforts increases our philosophical appreciation of Stoicism.
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About the Author
Long was born at Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, and educated at Macclesfield grammar-school and Trinity College, Cambridge.
He was Craven university scholar in 1821 (bracketed with Lord Macaulay and Henry Maiden), wrangler and senior chancellor's medallist in 1822 and became a fellow of Trinity in 1823. In 1824 he was elected professor of ancient languages in the new university of Virginia at Charlottesville, but after four years returned to England as the first Greek professor at the newly founded University College.
In 1842 he succeeded TH Key as professor of Latin at University College; in 1846-1849 he was reader in jurisprudence and civil law in the Middle Temple, and finally (1849-1871) classical lecturer at Brighton College. Subsequently he lived in retirement at Portfield, Chichester, in receipt (from 1873) of a Civil List pension of £100 a year obtained for him by Gladstone.
He was one of the founders (1830), and for twenty years an officer, of the Royal Geographical Society; an active member of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, for which he edited the quarterly Journal of Education (1831-1835) as well as many of its text-books; the editor (at first with Charles Knight, afterwards alone) of the Penny Cyclopaedia and of Knight's Political Dictionary; and a member of the Society for Central Education instituted in London in 1837.
He contributed the Roman law articles to Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, and wrote also for the companion dictionaries of Biography and Geography. He is remembered, however, mainly as the editor of the Bibliotheca Classica series-the first serious attempt to produce scholarly editions of classical texts with English commentaries-to which he contributed the edition of Ciceros Orations (1851-1862).