You have made many efforts and wandered much, but you have nowhere found happiness; not in syllogisms, not in riches, not in fame or pleasure, not in anything. Where, then, is it?
Marcus Aurelius, also known as Marc Aurel or Marcus Aurelius, was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and, as a philosopher, the last important representative of the younger Stoa. As princeps and successor of his adoptive father Antoninus Pius, he called himself Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus.
The Self-Reflections of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius are the last significant legacy from the philosophical school of the younger Stoa. They are counted among the world literature. The decisive guideline for his own thinking and acting was the classification in and the agreement with the "all-nature". The guidance of reason and the orientation towards the common good are among the constants of the self-observations, which are varied in numerous turns of phrase.
Marcus Aurelius, also known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, was a Roman Emperor and philosopher who lived from April 26, 121 AD, to March 17, 180 AD. He was born in Rome to a prominent and wealthy family, and he came from a line of distinguished ancestors.
As a young man, Marcus Aurelius received an excellent education in literature, rhetoric, and philosophy. He studied under skilled tutors and showed a particular interest in Stoic philosophy. His philosophical pursuits influenced his worldview and ethical principles throughout his life.
In 138 AD, Marcus Aurelius married Faustina the Younger, and they had several children together. He was appointed as consul in 140 AD, and over the years, he held various administrative and political positions.
In 161 AD, upon the death of his adoptive father and predecessor, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius became the Roman Emperor. Despite his deep philosophical inclinations, he felt a sense of duty to serve as the ruler of the Roman Empire during a period of significant challenges and military conflicts.
As Emperor, Marcus Aurelius was known for his commitment to justice, moral responsibility, and public service. He actively participated in military campaigns, particularly against Germanic tribes in the northern borders of the Roman Empire.
Throughout his reign, Marcus Aurelius continued to engage in philosophical pursuits and self-reflection. He wrote a series of personal reflections and philosophical insights, known as "Meditations" or "The Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius." These writings served as a form of self-examination and guidance for his own ethical and spiritual development.
Marcus Aurelius died on March 17, 180 AD, while on a military campaign in what is now Austria. He was succeeded by his son, Commodus, whose rule diverged significantly from the ethical principles and philosophies espoused by his father.
Posthumously, Marcus Aurelius is remembered as one of the most renowned Stoic philosophers and one of the "Five Good Emperors" of Rome. His "Meditations" continue to be widely read and studied for their profound insights into Stoic philosophy, personal ethics, and the pursuit of inner peace and resilience. Marcus Aurelius's legacy endures as a philosophical and moral exemplar, emphasizing the importance of living a virtuous life and cultivating inner strength and tranquility.
The primary and most famous work of Marcus Aurelius is his collection of personal reflections and philosophical insights known as "Meditations" (or "The Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius"). This work, written in Greek, is a series of notes and reflections that Marcus Aurelius composed for his own guidance and self-improvement. It is considered one of the greatest works of Stoic philosophy and one of the most influential works in the history of Western philosophy. In "Meditations," Marcus Aurelius contemplates various philosophical themes and ethical principles, offering insights on how to live a virtuous and meaningful life.
Apart from "Meditations," Marcus Aurelius engaged in extensive correspondence during his reign as Roman Emperor. Unfortunately, only a small portion of his letters has survived, but some of his correspondences are still preserved in the "Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus Correspondence" and the "Marcus Aurelius and Fronto Correspondence." These letters addressed various topics, including political affairs, administrative matters, and philosophical discussions.
In addition to his personal writings and correspondence, as an emperor, Marcus Aurelius delivered speeches and issued edicts related to governance and the administration of the Roman Empire. These speeches and edicts covered a wide range of topics, including justice, public morality, military matters, and policies aimed at maintaining social order and stability.
While the "Meditations" remains the primary and most well-known work of Marcus Aurelius, his writings and philosophical insights continue to be studied and admired for their wisdom, guidance, and profound understanding of Stoic principles and ethical living.