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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius are treasured today--as they have been over the centuries--as an inexhaustible source of wisdom. And as one of the three most important expressions of Stoicism, this is an essential text for everyone interested in ancient religion and philosophy. Yet the clarity and ease of the work's style are deceptive. Pierre Hadot, eminent historian of ancient thought, uncovers new levels of meaning and expands our understanding of its underlying philosophy. Written by the Roman emperor for his own private guidance and self-admonition, the Meditations set forth principles for living a good and just life. Hadot probes Marcus Aurelius's guidelines and convictions and discerns the hitherto unperceived conceptual system that grounds them. Abundantly quoting the Meditations to illustrate his analysis, the author allows Marcus Aurelius to speak directly to the reader. And Hadot unfolds for us the philosophical context of the Meditations, commenting on the philosophers Marcus Aurelius read and giving special attention to the teachings of Epictetus, whose disciple he was. The soul, the guiding principle within us, is in Marcus Aurelius's Stoic philosophy an inviolable stronghold of freedom, the "inner citadel." This spirited and engaging study of his thought offers a fresh picture of the fascinating philosopher-emperor, a fuller understanding of the tradition and doctrines of Stoicism, and rich insight on the culture of the Roman empire in the second century. Pierre Hadot has been working on Marcus Aurelius for more than twenty years; in this book he distills his analysis and conclusions with extraordinary lucidity for the general reader.
This study of Aurelius's thought offers a fresh picture of the fascinating philosopher-emperor, a fuller understanding of the tradition and doctrines of Stoicism, and a rich insight on the culture of the Roman Empire in the second century.
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (a.d. 121—180) embodied in his person that deeply cherished, ideal figure of antiquity, the philosopher-king. His Meditations are not only one of the most important expressions of the Stoic philosophy of his time but also an enduringly inspiring guide to living a good and just life. Written in moments snatched from military campaigns and the rigors of politics, these ethical and spiritual reflections reveal a mind of exceptional clarity and originality, and a spirit attuned to both the particulars of human destiny and the vast patterns that underlie it. From the Hardcover edition.
In this short essay, Elen Buzar examines ancient sources for clues to how Stoics of the Roman era used psychological techniques for turning doctrine into practical daily living, securing for themselves lives that flourished, free from troubles, enjoying an unshakeable peace of mind. With the help of this short guide, modern readers can similarly train themselves to live as Stoics, making progress towards the same 'good flow of life' and serenity, and develop a mindfulness that is immune to all harm, joyous in response to all that fate might bring. Especially suited to those who have already introduced themselves to the basics of Stoic doctrine, this little book will serve as inspiration and guide for anyone wanting to advance further on the Stoic way.
Exploration of the life and philosophical reflections of this complex Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor.
Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor who ruled the Roman Empire between AD 161 and 180, is one of the best recorded individuals from antiquity. Even his face became more than usually familiar: the imperial coinage displayed his portrait for over 40 years, from the clean-shaven young heir of Antonius to the war-weary, heavily bearded ruler who died at his post in his late fifties. His correspondence with his tutor Fronto, and even more the private notebook he kept for his last ten years, the Meditations, provides a unique series of vivid and revealing glimpses into the character and peoccupations of this emporer who spent many years in terrible wars against northern tribes. In this accessible and scholarly study, Professor Birley paints a portrait of an emporer who was human and just - an embodiment of the pagan virtues of Rome.
Readers who enter upon this practical course in the Stoic art of living will learn how Stoic principles are linked to real life, and how to enjoy the 'smooth flow of life' of the Stoic Sage who follows nature and holds to virtue, finding fearlessness, inner peace, and freedom from troubles. Readers will gain maximum advantage from the course if they acquire copies of Seneca's Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Books), and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (the Robin Hard translation from Wordsworth Editions is recommended). The text expands on a correspondence course previously made available by the Stoic Foundation. One student commented: 'I believe this course has changed my life, and I cannot thank you enough' -- DN, Australia. The book is illustrated with pen and ink drawings.

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