Meditations

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Wordsworth Editions, 1997 - Fiction - 200 pages
The "Meditations" of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius are a readable exposition of the system of metaphysics known as stoicism. Stoics maintained that by putting aside great passions, unjust thoughts and indulgence, man could acquire virtue and live at one with nature.
 

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Also part of the "Great Ideas" series, this is the writings of the Roman philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius, and it was very, very interesting. Oddly enough, there was a lot of it that meshed with the Zen that I had been reading about earlier - no past, no future, only now. You can only control yourself in this world, so do that. What other people think or do is of no importance. And besides, you're all going to be dead soon anyway.
Yeah, he talks a lot about death. But he uses it to provide perspective, something it is nice to know was lacking even two thousand years ago. Rather than worrying about living up to the examples of your forebears - who are dead - or being a good example to your descendants - who will never even meet you - do the right thing, the best thing, right now.
It's a beautiful, if somewhat repetitive, philosophy on how to live a good and contented life. I can understand how it lasted so long....
 

Contents

Book 3
3
23
4
34
5
45
6
57
7
Book 8
69
Book 9
81
Book 10
92
Book 11
103
Book 12
113
Notes
121
APPENDICES
155
An Essay on Marcus Aurelius by Matthew Arnold
157
Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism
181
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About the author (1997)

Born in Rome, in 121, Marcus Aurelius was one of the most respected emperors in Roman history. When he was 17, Aurelius was adopted by emperor Antonius Pius and succeeded him in A.D. 161. He ruled jointly with his adoptive brother, Lucius Verus, until 169, when he became sole emperor after Verus died. Although Aurelius was a humanitarian ruler, he accepted the view that Christians were the enemies of Rome. Aurelius was dovoted to the Stoic philosophy. Meditations, his spiritual reflections, is considered a classic work of stoicism. Written in Greek, the work comprises of twelve books and records his innermost thoughts. Meditations is his only surviving work. Aurelius died in 180 while prosecuting war against the Marcomanni who lived along the northern limits of the Roman Empire. After his death Aurelius was idealized as the perfect emperor whose reign contrasted sharply with the disastrous period before him and the reigns that followed.

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