HISTORY OF IDEAS: Emperor-Philosopher Marcus Aurelius' Meditations


HISTORY OF IDEAS: Emperor-Philosopher Marcus Aurelius' Meditations
by Darius Kadivar

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was the Roman emperor from 161 to his death in 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Lucius' death in 169. He was the last of the "Five Good Emperors", and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. His tenure was marked by wars in Asia against a revitalized Parthian Empire, and with Germanic tribes along the Limes Germanicus into Gaul and across the Danube. A revolt in the East, led by Avidius Cassius who previously fought under Lucius Verus against the Parthians, failed.

Marcus Aurelius' work Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. It serves as an example of how Aurelius approached the Platonic ideal of a philosopher-king and how he symbolized much of what was best about Roman civilization.

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BOOK: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius available on amazon.com

The Virtual University: Marcus Aurelius:

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Part V:

Quotations from Marcus Aurelius:

Pillars of Culture: Marcus Aurelius the last of the "Five Good Emperors":

Marcus Aurelius ( Alec Guiness) in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964):

A family of equal nations -- that is what lies ahead." -Marcus Aurelius' Globalization retrieved from "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964)

Trailer to The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964):

Richard Harris as Marcus Aurelius in Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000):

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