Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Book PDF Free Download
Marcus Aurelius is said to have been fond of quoting Plato’s dictum, and those who have written about him have rarely been able to resist applying it to Marcus himself.
And indeed, if we seek Plato’s philosopher-king in the flesh we could hardly do better than Marcus, the ruler of the Roman Empire for almost two decades and author of the immortal Meditations.
Yet the title is one that Marcus himself would surely have rejected. He never thought of himself as a philosopher.
He would have claimed to be, at best, a diligent student and a very imperfect practitioner of a philosophy developed by others.
As for the imperial throne, that came almost by accident. When Marcus Annius Verus was born, in A.D. 121, bystanders might have predicted a distinguished career in the Senate or the imperial administration.
They could hardly have guessed that he was destined for the imperial purple, or seen in their mind’s eye the lonely bronze horseman.
Whose upraised hand greets us from the Capitoline hill in Rome across two thousand years.
Marcus sprang from a distinguished enough family. The year of his birth coincided with his grandfather’s second tenure of the consulship, in theory,
Rome’s highest office, though now of largely ceremonial importance. And it was to be his grandfather who brought him up, for his father died when he was very young.
Marcus makes reference in the Meditations to his father’s character as he remembered it or heard of it from others, but his knowledge must have been more from stories than from actual memories.
Of the remainder of his childhood and his early adolescence we know little more than can be gleaned from the Meditations.
The biography of him in the so-called Historia Augusta (a curious and unreliable work of the late fourth century).
1. The example of my grandfather Verus gave me a good disposition, not prone to anger.
- By the recollection of my father’s character, I learned to be both modest and manly.
- As for my mother, she taught me to have regard for religion, to be generous and open-handed, and not only to forbear from doing anybody an ill turn but not so much as to endure the thought of it. By her. likewise, I was bred to a simple, inexpensive way of living, very different from the common luxury of the rich.
- I have to thank my great-grandfather that I did not go to a public school, but had good masters at home, and learned to know that one ought to spend liberally on such things.
- From my governor I learned not to join either the green or the blue faction on the race-ground, nor to support the Parmularius or Scutarius at the gladi ators’ shows. He taught me also to put my own hand to business upon occasion, to endure hardship and fatigues, and to throw the necessities of nature into a little compass; that I ought not to meddle with other people’s business, nor be easy in giving credit to informers.
- From Diognetus, to shun vain pursuits, not to be led away with the impostures of wizards and sooth sayers, who pretend they can discharge evil spirits, and do strange feats by the strength of a charm; not to keep quails for the pit, nor to be eager after any such thing. This Diognetus taught me to bear freedom and plain-dealing in others, and apply myself to philosophy. He also procured me the instruction of Bacchius, Tandasis, and Marcianus. He likewise put me upon improving myself by writing dialogues when I was a boy; prevailed with me to prefer a couch covered with hides to a bed of state; and reconciled me to other like rigours of the Grecian discipline.
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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Book PDF Free Download