Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed

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A&C Black, Nov 17, 2011 - Philosophy - 208 pages
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This book is a clear and concise introduction to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. His one major surviving work, often titled 'meditations' but literally translated simply as 'to himself', is a series of short, sometimes enigmatic reflections divided seemingly arbitrarily into twelve books and apparently written only to be read by him. For these reasons Marcus is a particularly difficult thinker to understand. His musings, framed as 'notes to self' or 'memoranda', are the exhortations of an earnest, conscientious Stoic burdened with the onerous responsibilities of ruling an entire, enormous empire.
William O. Stephens lucidly sketches Marcus Aurelius' upbringing, family relations, rise to the throne, military campaigns, and legacy, situating his philosophy amidst his life and times, explicating the factors shaping Marcus' philosophy, and clarifying key themes in the Memoranda. Specifically designed to meet the needs of students seeking a thorough understanding of this key figure and his major work, Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed is the ideal guide for understanding this Stoic author - the only philosopher who was also an emperor.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER 1 THE MAN THE EMPEROR THE THINKER
1
CHAPTER 2 THE INFLUENCE OF HERACLITUS AND EPICTETUS
42
CHAPTER 3 WHOLES AND PARTS
71
CHAPTER 5 VIRTUES VICES AND JUNK
125
THE SOUL OF A STOIC
159
MARCUS MAXIMUS AND STOICISM IN GLADIATOR 2000
161
NOTES
171
GLOSSARY
176
FURTHER READING
184
SUBJECT INDEX
185
NAME INDEX
189
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About the author (2011)

William O. Stephens is a Professor of Philosophy and of Classical & Near Eastern Studies at Creighton University, Nebraska, USA.

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