A powerful and accessible translation of Marcus Aurelius’s timeless book on character, what it takes to be a good leader, and how to live a fulfilling life.
Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the immense wealth and absolute power that had corrupted many of his predecessors. He knew the secret of how to live the good life amid trying and often catastrophic circumstances, of how to find happiness and peace when surrounded by misery and turmoil, and how to make the right choices—even if they are more difficult—without regard for self-interest.
Offering a vivid and fresh translation of this important piece of ancient literature, Meditations brings Marcus’s inspiring words to life and shows his wisdom to be as relevant today as it was in the second century. This book speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever faced adversity or believed in a better day.
Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 AD. Born to an upper-class Roman family in 121, Aurelius was adopted by his uncle, the emperor Antoninus Pius, in 138. Aurelius studied Greek and Latin literature, philosophy, and law, and was especially influenced by the Stoic thinker Epictetus. After Pius’s death, Aurelius succeeded the throne alongside his adoptive brother, Lucius Verus. His reign was marked by plague, numerous military conflicts, and the deaths of friends and family—including Lucius Verus in 169. Despite these struggles, the Empire flourished under Marcus’s rule as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an era from 27 to 180 of relative peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire. Aurelius wrote his Meditations as spiritual exercises never intended for publication, and died at fifty-eight while on campaign against the Germanic tribes.