About this topic
Summary

The Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius (b. 121–d. 180) wrote a series of philosophical reflections that are best known in the English-speaking world under the title Meditations. In the Meditations Marcus reflects on a range of philosophical topics as well as challenges in his own life. The book is unlike any other philosophical text that has come down to us from Antiquity, taking the form of a collection of notebook jottings that were probably never intended for wider circulation. With the exception of Book 1, which reflects on Marcus’s debts to various people that have been important in his life, the remaining eleven books of philosophical and personal reflections are in no particular order and display no obvious structure. Many of the philosophical positions that Marcus holds, and the arguments underpinning them, remain unstated but various remarks in the text and elsewhere (especially Marcus’s correspondence with his rhetoric tutor Fronto) make it clear that Marcus was committed to Stoicism. The Meditations contains numerous examples of someone trying to respond to problems in everyday life in the light of not just Stoic ethics but also Stoic physics and Stoic logic.

Key works Marcus's Meditations has been edited and translated numerous times. The first half is translated with commentary in Gill 2013.
Introductions

For a brief but informative introduction to Marcus Aurelius see Kamtekar 2010. An older and slightly longer introduction, highly recommended, can be found in Brunt 1974. Hadot & Aurelius 1998 offers an important and philosophically rich reading of the Meditations. Giavatto 2008 and van Ackeren 2011 both offer thorough scholarly studies, in Italian and German respectively. The collection of studies in van Ackeren 2012 covers many important topics and is accessible. For an annotated guide to further work on Marcus see Sellars 2015.

Related categories

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  1. added 2018-08-24
    The Puppet and the Sage: Images of the Self in Marcus Aurelius.Sylvia Berryman - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 38:187-209.
  2. added 2018-08-23
    Star Trek’s Stoics: The Vulcans.Steven Umbrello - 2015 - Philosophy Now 106:29.
    In 1966 Gene Roddenberry, then a relatively unknown TV writer, created what was to become a cultural sensation. From cell phones and tablets, to MRI machines and medical jet injectors, Star Trek has undoubtedly anticipated much of the technology that we take for granted today. Moreover, the disagreements, fights and jokes between Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy) were expertly crafted for dramatic impact. But I’m not writing this to confess to (...)
  3. added 2017-11-01
    A History of Ancient Philosophy Iv: The Schools of the Imperial Age.John R. Catan (ed.) - 1989 - State University of New York Press.
    This book covers the first 500 years of the common era. These years witnessed the revivals of Aristotelianism, Epicureanism, Pyrrhonism, Cynicism, and Pythagoreanism; but by far the most important movement was the revival of Platonism under Plotinus. Here, the historical context of Plotinus is provided including the currents of thought that preceded him and opened the path for him. The presuppositions of the Enneads are made explicit and the thought of Plotinus is reconstructed. The author reorients the expositions of Middle (...)
  4. added 2017-08-30
    Review: Die Religionspolitik Marc Aurels. [REVIEW]A. R. Birley - 2004 - The Classical Review 54 (2):495-496.
  5. added 2017-02-15
    Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer.Lisa Heighway - 2010 - Royal Collection Publications.
  6. added 2017-02-11
    The Archpoet and the Emperor.Peter Godman - 2011 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 74 (1):31-58.
  7. added 2017-02-09
    Marcus Brutus Max Radin: Marcus Brutus. Pp. Ix+238. New York: Oxford University Press, 1939. Cloth, 14s. 6d.A. F. Giles - 1940 - The Classical Review 54 (03):164-165.
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    Three for Aurelius. Catullus - unknown - Arion 6 (1).
  9. added 2017-01-29
    CHAPTER 13. Moral Theory and Moral Improvement: Marcus Aurelius.John M. Cooper - 2009 - In Knowledge, Nature, and the Good: Essays on Ancient Philosophy. Princeton University Press. pp. 335-368.
  10. added 2017-01-29
    The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, by Pierre Hadot. Translated by Michael Chase.P. Huby - 2000 - Ancient Philosophy 20 (2):525-526.
  11. added 2017-01-29
    The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus, by Adolf Bonhoffer; Cicero. The Nature of the Gods, Translated with Introduction and Explanatory Notes by P.G. Walsh; Marcus Aurelius: Meditations, Translated by Robin Hard with an Introduction and Notes by Christopher Gill. [REVIEW]R. J. Rabel - 2000 - Ancient Philosophy 20 (2):521-524.
  12. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. [REVIEW]R. B. Rutherford - 1998 - The Classical Review 48 (2):486-487.
  13. added 2017-01-29
    Marc Aurel.Klaus Rosen - 1997
  14. added 2017-01-29
    The Meditations.George Marcus Aurelius & Long - 1997
  15. added 2017-01-29
    Aurelius Victor: "De Caesaribus" by Aurelius Victor Ed. H. W. Bird. [REVIEW]Michael Dimaio Jr - 1996 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 89:520-520.
  16. added 2017-01-29
    The Emperor Domitian by Brian W. Jones. [REVIEW]Daniel Heisey - 1994 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 87:336-336.
  17. added 2017-01-29
    The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.George Marcus Aurelius & Long - 1993
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    Marc Aurèle.Pierre Grimal - 1991
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    Macrobius Im Mittelalter Ein Beitrag Zur Rezeptionsgeschichte der Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis.Albrecht Hüttig - 1990
  20. added 2017-01-29
    Anthony Birley, "Marcus Aurelius. A Biography".Josiah B. Gould - 1989 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 27 (2):325.
  21. added 2017-01-29
    Style and Content in the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.R. B. Rutherford - 1985
  22. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus Aurelius as Ideal Emperor in Late-Antique Greek Thought.Stephen A. Stertz - 1977 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 70 (7):433.
  23. added 2017-01-29
    The Social Philosophy of Marcus Garvey.William Hollingsworth Horton - 1976 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
  24. added 2017-01-29
    The Language of Emperor Valentinian.G. Sotiroff - 1972 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 65 (7):231.
  25. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus Antonius Dominis.Ivan Supek - 1967 - Hibbert Journal 66 (60):4.
  26. added 2017-01-29
    The Opium Addiction of Marcus Aurelius.Thomas W. Africa - 1961 - Journal of the History of Ideas 22 (1):97.
  27. added 2017-01-29
    Farquharson, Marcus Aurelius.M. Harman - 1952 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 46:72.
  28. added 2017-01-29
    Little, Ed., The Institutio Oratoria of Marcus Fabius Quintilianus.J. J. Savage - 1952 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 46:109.
  29. added 2017-01-29
    A. S. L. FARQUHARSON, The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus. [REVIEW]Hilda D. Oakeley - 1944 - Hibbert Journal 43:277.
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    Emperor Julian.Hyde Hyde - 1943 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 37:26-27.
  31. added 2017-01-29
    Quintus Aurelius Symmachus and the Senatorial Aristocracy of the West.J. Quasten - 1943 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 37:211.
  32. added 2017-01-29
    Christian Attitude Toward the Emperor in the Fourth Century Especially as Shown in Addresses to the Emperor.P. Charanis - 1941 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 35:64-65.
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    Emperor Claudius.O. C. Peery - 1940 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 34:183.
  34. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus Brutus.M. Reinhold - 1940 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 34:68-69.
  35. added 2017-01-29
    MARCUS, Jew in the Medieval World. [REVIEW]Hailperin Hailperin - 1939 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 32 (21):248.
  36. added 2017-01-29
    MARCUS, Jew in the Medieval World. De Hailperin - 1939 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 32 (21):248.
  37. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus, R., Josephus, Vol. VI. [REVIEW]Sherman Sherman - 1938 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 31:231-232.
  38. added 2017-01-29
    Wright, F. A., Marcus Agrippa. [REVIEW]Brown Brown - 1938 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 31:188-189.
  39. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus Donovan, After the Tractarians. [REVIEW]Herbert J. Rossington - 1932 - Hibbert Journal 31:629.
  40. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus Caelius Rufus.Merle M. Odgers - 1929 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 23:161-166.
  41. added 2017-01-29
    The Religious Life on a Roman Farm as Reflected in the De Agricultura of Marcus Porcius Cato.Eli Edward Burriss - 1927 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 21:27-30.
  42. added 2017-01-29
    "Henderson", B. W., The Life and Principate of the Emperor Hadrian. [REVIEW]Gray Gray - 1923 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 17:213-215.
  43. added 2017-01-29
    The Sainthood of Marcus Aurelius.Archibald Weir - 1922 - Hibbert Journal 21:680.
  44. added 2017-01-29
    "Sedgwick", Henry Dwight, Marcus Aurelius. A Biography Told as Much as May Be by Letters, Together with Some Account of the Stoic Religion and an Exposition of the Roman Government's Attempt to Suppress Christianity During Marcus's Reign.Myra C. Goodale - 1921 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 16:60-61.
  45. added 2017-01-29
    "Sedgwick", Henry Dwight, Marcus Aurelius. A Biography Told as Much as May Be by Letters, Together with Some Account of the Stoic Religion and an Exposition of the Roman Government's Attempt to Suppress Christianity During Marcus's Reign. [REVIEW]Goodale Goodale - 1921 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 16:60-61.
  46. added 2017-01-29
    Sweet, Lewis Mathew: Roman Emperor Worship. [REVIEW]Boak Boak - 1920 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 14:7-8.
  47. added 2017-01-29
    Tod, Marcus Niebuhr: International Arbitration Amongst the Greeks. [REVIEW]Westermann Westermann - 1913 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 7:64.
  48. added 2017-01-29
    An Epileptic Emperor.Miriam Allen De Ford - 1911 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 5:75-77.
  49. added 2017-01-29
    Marcus Aurelius and the Later Stoics.Frederick William Bussell - 1910
  50. added 2017-01-29
    Stoic and Christian in the Second Century: A Comparison of the Ethical Teaching of Marcus Aurelius with That of Contemporary and Antecedent Christianity.Leonard Alston - 1906
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