Marcus Aurelius: Meditations

(ca. 170-180)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations reflect the emperor’s adoption of Stoic philosophy and his daily struggle to live according to its tenets. Originating in the Hellenistic Age and further developed during the Roman Imperial Age, the philosophy of Stoicism espoused the belief that virtue could be achieved by understanding and acting according to one’s nature. This was done by actively trying to understand what we (as individuals and in the aggregate, as humankind) and the world (all matter) are and, through this understanding, to define and...

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Bust of Marcus Aurelius (Yale University Art Gallery)

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