PDF Marcus Aurelius: A Biography (Roman Imperial Biographies)

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Given that acknowledged reality, as well as the manifest difficultly in establishing the facts of any of the events eighteen centuries past, a bit more circumspection might have been beneficial for the unwary reader. Instead McLynn is given to aggressive conclusions on topics about which there might be reasonable differences of opinion. Although it is generally conceded that the earlier biographies in the series, which begin with that of the Emperor Hadrian, tend to be more reliable, they are hardly straightforward contemporary sources. It may well have been that the Emperor Lucius Aurelius Commodus was a monster of the first order, but one wonders if simply retelling the lurid tales of the Historia Augusta as unproblematic is entirely appropriate.

More restraint, qualification, and source discussion within the narrative would have been welcome. Although justly respected, these works are all at least forty years old.


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Given the track record of relatively transient modern imperial powers, it is a dubious proposition that the period AD was three centuries of constant and inevitable decline. Perhaps unconsciously, McLynn perpetuates certain anachronisms that more recent scholarship eschews.

There is not much new here for specialists, although McLynn does provide an engaging resume of events.

Marcus Aurelius

What does jar a bit are the occasional narrative inconsistencies. To be fair, it is unlikely that McLynn or Da Capo Press intended this volume for a specialist audience or as an undergraduate textbook. Despite the reservations noted above, the dedicated and wary nonspecialist who chooses to peruse the endnotes carefully may read the work with enjoyment and possibly some profit. A good introduction to the debate is Jeanne Rutenburg and Arthur M.

War, Plague, Opium and Stoicism: The Life of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Jones and the Later Roman Empire , ed. Just one thing prevented him from being completely happy, namely, that after rearing and educating his son in the best possible way he was vastly disappointed in him. It is important to realize the gravity of that position and the magnitude of power that Marcus possessed. He held one of—if not the most—powerful positions in the world at the time.

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If he chose to, nothing would be off limits. He could indulge and succumb to temptations, there was nobody that could restrain him from any of his wishes. There is a reason the adage that power in absolute absolutely corrupts has been repeated throughout history—it unfortunately tends to be true. And yet, as the essayist Matthew Arnold remarked, Marcus proved himself worthy of the position he was in. And it was not only him who offered that verdict.

The guidance of wisdom and virtue.

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Just think of the diary that he left behind, which is now known as his Meditations which we discuss below: the private thoughts of the most powerful man in the world, admonishing himself on how to be more virtuous, more just, more immune to temptation, wiser. And for Marcus, Stoicism provided a framework for dealing with the stresses of daily life as a leader of one of the most powerful empires in human history.

It is not surprising that he wrote his Meditations in the last decade of his life, while on campaigning against foreign invaders. Passed down from his mentors and teachers, Marcus embraced the studies of Stoicism which we see in him thanking his teacher Rusticus for introducing him to Stoicism and Epictetus inside Meditations.

Another influence on Marcus came from Heraclitus, whose concepts we can see throughout Meditations and who had a strong influence on Stoic thought. Given the literary world at the time, Marcus was mostly likely not exposed to Seneca, another one of the three most prominent Stoics. It is important to remind ourselves that we are lucky to have access to these. And if you want more on the topic, Marcus inspired The Obstacle is the Way , which you can get a free chapter of if you sign up for the Daily Stoic newsletter. We need to catch ourselves when we do so.

Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, - Credo Reference

We need instead to focus on the things that are always within us: our capacity and potential for virtuous action. As Marcus wrote to himself,. And yet you still settle for less. As discussed earlier, Marcus most likely wrote the notes to himself which are now Meditations on the battlefield, during the last decade of his life. Geschichte, 7. Klasse, Gymnasium German Edition. Free Ebook Early Christians and Animals. Free download Nine Hours Before Death. Free download Le Chatelet de Paris: Son organisation, ses privileges : prevots, conseillers, chevaliers du guet French Edition. Hans-Dieter von Senff.

Part II. Grote's History of Greece Volume 1. Free Ebook The Heretic Magazine. Section Jurisprudence Damages , Dereck Eretz Rabba, and Zuta. Volume I IX.

I, to the Mids. Prompsault French Edition.