Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote his famous "Meditations" during his campaigns against the barbarian invaders. Composed among the reeds and mists of the swampy Danube, his private journals record the passing thoughts, maxims, and musings on life and death of a sensitive and humble mind trained in the Stoic philosophy which, to a certain extent, anticipated the development of Christianity. Philosophy was both a religion and a guiding force for Marcus Aurelius. His is a transitional phase of thought in Stoic philosophy, where diffidence and willingness to recognize failure have replaced assurance and self-sufficiency. Instead of the Stoic virtue of pride Marcus Aurelius appears to anticipate Christian humility.
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I found the introduction helpful. This is the first translation I read--and I find myself going back to it.
Because of the nature of the material parts of Meditations will always remain cryptic and untranslatable.
It would be helpful for people to know:
Marcus Aurelius wrote (and probably thought) in Greek. Because that is a language rich in expression and nuance it can lend itself well to express complex thought but requires greater demand of translator(and reader).
Meditations was a private journal not meant for posterity.
THE HYMN OF CLEANTHES