The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: A Study

Oxford University Press (1989)


Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 A.D., is renowned for his just rule and long frontier wars. But his lasting fame rests on his Meditations, a bedside book of reflections and self-admonitions written during his last years, that provide unique insights into the mind of an ancient ruler and contain many passages of pungent epigram and poetic imagery. This study is designed to make the Meditations more accessible to the modern reader. Rutherford carefully explains the historical and philosophical background, charts the main themes and tendencies of Marcus's thought, and relates stylistic detail to the intellectual and moral outlook of the author. His goal is to define Marcus's aims, attitudes, and styles more precisely and restore his work to the position it held in the past, that of a spiritual classic which can be read and enjoyed by people who are not professional scholars.

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