The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: A Study

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Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from AD 161 to 180, is renowned for his just rule at home and for his long frontier wars. But his lasting claim to fame rests on the work known as the Meditations - a bedside book of reflections and self-admonitions composed in Greek (the language of philosophy) during his last years and partly while on campaign. These sparse notes, intended for the author's eyes alone, give unique access to the mind of an ancient ruler; they also contain many passages of pungent epigram and poetic imagery. In this study, Dr Rutherford seeks to make the Meditations more approachable to the modern reader by explaining the historical and philosophical background, charting the main themes and tendencies of Marcus' thought, and relating stylistic detail to the intellectual and moral outlook of the author.