The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Автор(и) : Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2008
ISBN : 978-0-86597-510-1
Брой страници : 213
Език : английски
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Marcus Aurelius' work 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 meditations serve 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
The title of this work was added posthumously—originally he entitled his work simply: 'To Myself'. He had been a priest at the sacrificial altars of Roman service and was an eager patriot. He had a logical mind and his notes were representative of Stoic philosophy and spirituality. Meditations is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The book has been a favourite of Frederick the Great,John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, Goethe and Wen Jiabao.
It is not known how far Marcus' writings were circulated after his death. There are stray references in the ancient literature to the popularity of his precepts, and Julian the Apostate was well aware of Marcus' reputation as a philosopher, though he does not specifically mention the Meditations. The book itself, though mentioned in correspondence by Arethas of Caesarea in the 10th century and in the Byzantine Suda, was first published in 1558 in Zurich by Wilhelm Holzmann, from a manuscript copy that is now lost. The only other surviving complete copy of the manuscript is in the Vatican library.
This 1742 translation is a collaborative work by Frances Hutcheson and a colleague at Glasgow University, the classicist James Moor. Although Hutcheson was secretive about the extent of his work on the book, he was clearly the leading spirit of the project. This influential classical work offered a vision of a universe governed by a natural law that obliges us to love mankind and to govern our lives in accordance with the natural order of things. In their account of the life of the emperor, prefaced to their translation from the Greek, Hutcheson and Moor celebrated the Stoic ideal of an orderly universe governed by a benevolent God. They contrasted the serenity recommended and practiced by Marcus Aurelius with the divisive sectarianism then exhibited by their fellow Presbyterians in Scotland and elsewhere. They urged their readers and fellow citizens to set aside their narrow prejudices.
"From my grandfather Verus I learned to relish the beauty of manners, and to restrain all anger. From the fame and character my father obtain’d, modesty, and a manly deportment. Of my mother; I learned to be religious, and liberal; and to guard, not only against evil actions, but even against any evil intention’s entering my thoughts; to content myself with a spare diet, far different from the softness and luxury so common among the wealthy. Of my great- grandfather; not to frequent public schools and auditories; but to have good and able teachers at home; and for things of this nature, to account no expence too great.
...5. From Apollonius I learned true liberty, and invariable stedfastness; and to regard nothing else, not even in the smallest degree, but right and reason; and always to remain the same man, whether in the sharpest pains, or after the loss of a child, or in long diseases. To him I owe my seeing in a living example, that it was possible for the same man to be both vehement and remiss, as occasion requir’d. I learn’d of him, not to fret when my reasonings were not apprehended. In him I saw an instance of a man, who esteem’d his excellent skill and ability in teaching others the principles of philosophy, the least of all his endowments. Of him also I learned how to receive from friends, what are thought favours, so as neither to be on that account subjected to them, nor yet seem insensible and ungrateful."
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180), was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. 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 Marcomanic 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' work
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 meditations serve 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.