Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD), was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire; Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, but the threat of the Germanic tribes began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately.
Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …
Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.
“People try to get away from it all-to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it any time you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions-than your own soul.”