- File Size: 367 KB
- Print Length: 96 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477660909
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: May 12, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0082XKGGU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,716 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This edition was originally translated into English by George Long in 1862 and edited by Edwin Ginn in 1893. Ginn has written the first 8% of the Kindle edition (preface, biographical sketch), and the last 15% (on the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus). The 'Thoughs' of Marcus Aurelius are grouped in 12 'books' (chapters). The first book is clearly different from the other eleven; it is a 'thank you' to people who have had a good influence on him. For example: 'From my grandfather Verus (I learned) good morals and the government of my temper.' (I.1). The other eleven books contain his notes. His Stoic philosophy emphasizes ethics, especially everyday problems. This book is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from several websites.
Some quotations from this book:
Since it is possible that thou mayest depart from life this very moment, regulate every act and thought accordingly. (II.11)
Be cheerful also, and seek not external help nor the tranquillity which others give. A man then must stand erect, not be kept erect by others. (III.5)
Always run to the short way; and the short way is the natural: accordingly say and do everything in conformity with the soundest reason. For such a purpose frees a man from trouble, and warfare, and all artifice and ostentatious display. (IV.51)
The content and tone of these writings belies the fact that Marcus Aurelius governed an area that reached from Britain to Egypt (most of modern Europe and the Middle East). "Alone of the emperors," wrote the historian Herodian, "he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life." (From Wikipedia). There is a tone and tenor to his writings that aligns well the Christian doctrines that will soon transform Europe. "If any man has done wrong, then the harm is his own" (location 1403-7, Kindle Edition).
So much of the modern western world owes its foundation to the Roman Republic and Empire. If you wish to better understand the decline and fall of modern republics (and empires), then all roads still lead to Rome as the model for the demise of democratic governments. The distance of nearly 2000 years melts away and you might find yourself wishing for an opportunity to meet the man who many consider the greatest Roman Emperor.
First, this book is a tough read (compared to modern books) because it's written in the ancient English of its day, with lots and lots of thous, xxest verbs (doest, thinkest, etc), and abstract words such as Nature, Virtue, (and others) that had different meanings in Roman times than we assign to them today. So I found that I had to force myself through the book.
Even the translator's comments say that much of Aurelius' text and thoughts was disorganized, obscure (no easy meaning could be found in his words), and corrupt (undecipherable) in places. So it's definitely not an easy read.
The last section of the book contains a summary of Aurelius' views and thoughts, written mostly in modern day language. I recommend that you read it first to get an overview of the main book content.
The main value of the work seems to be in the Stoic principles and personal thoughts that are made visible by the personal writings of an Emperor of Rome. Reading this work disabuses you of the notion that emperors had an easy life just because they were emperors.
As for a more interesting and accessible explanation of Stoic principles, I recommend A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, which is a professionally written, much easier, and more thought-provoking read than either Aurelius or Epictetus. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Stoic school of thought.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think everyone should read this once in their life. Even if you hate it you will take something away from it.Published 5 months ago by Justin T. Eilar
No study of philosophy is complete without inclusion of works attesting to the insight of Marcus Aurelius. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tom Roberson
How fortunate are we to have these notes available to us, helping us to put life into perspective and guide us towards wisdom... if we choose to.....Published 8 months ago by Angelique
I read a good deal of popular prose. I have tried very hard to comprehend some of the more complicated writings of various individuals such as poets and philosophers. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Francis C. Donnelly
It is a book about a man's lessons through life and what he learned. A good way to remember the wise teachings is to rephrase in your mind the teaching in a simple, easy to... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Joe
Outlined here are considered thoughts of Marcus Aurelius on life, living, and death. While he touches on many subjects, his breakdown of the basics, the fundamentals, of living a... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Eric Tinkle