Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK I - The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
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BOOK I - Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 
The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, trans. Francis Hutcheson and James Moor, edited and with an Introduction by James Moore and Michael Silverthorne (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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1. From1 my grandfather * Verus I learned to relish the beauty of manners, and to restrain all anger. From the fame and character my † father obtain’d, modesty, and a manly deportment. ‡ Of my mother; I learned to be religious, and liberal; and to guard, not only against evil actions, but even against any evil intention’s entering my thoughts; to content myself with a spare diet, far different from the softness and luxury so common among the wealthy. Of my great- § grandfather; ** not to frequent public schools and auditories; but to have good and able teachers at home; and for things of this nature, to account no expence too great.
2. He who had the charge of my education, taught me not to be fondly attached to any of the contending parties †† in the chariot-races, or in the combats of the gladiators.2 He taught me also to endure labour; not to need many things; to serve myself, without troubling others; not to intermeddle with the affairs of others, and not easily to admit of accusations against them.
3. Of Diognetus;4 not to busy myself about vain things, not to credit the great professions of such as pretend to work wonders, or of sorcerers, about their charms, and their expelling Demons; and the like. Not to keep * Quails, nor to be keen of such things; to allow others all freedom in conversation; and to apply myself heartily to philosophy. Him also I must thank, for my hearing first Bacchius, then Tandasis, and Marcianus;5 that I wrote dialogues in my youth, and took a liking to the philosopher’s little couch and skins, and such other things, which by the Grecian discipline belong to that profession.
4. To Rusticus6 I owe my first apprehensions, that my temper needed redress and cure, and that I did not fall into the ambition of the common Sophists, either in writing upon the sciences, or exhorting men to philosophy by public harangues; as also, that I never affected to be admired by ostentation of great patience in an ascetic life, or of activity and application; and that I gave over the study of rhetoric, poetry, and the elegance of language; that I did not affect any airs of grandeur, by walking at home in my senatorial robe, or by any such things. I observed also the simplicity of style in his letters, parti-cularly in that, which he wrote to my mother from Sinuessa. I learned also from him an easiness and proneness to be reconciled and well pleased again with those who had offended me, as soon as any of them inclined to be reconciled; to read with diligence; not to rest satisfied with a light and superficial knowledge; nor quickly to assent to great talkers: Him also I must thank, that I met with the discourses of Epictetus7 which he gave me.
5. From Apollonius8 I learned true liberty, and invariable stedfastness; and to regard nothing else, not even in the smallest degree, but right and reason; and always to remain the same man, whether in the sharpest pains, or after the loss of a child, or in long diseases. To him I owe my seeing in a living example, that it was possible for the same man to be both vehement and remiss, as occasion requir’d. I learn’d of him, not to fret when my reasonings were not apprehended. In him I saw an instance of a man, who esteem’d his excellent skill and ability in teaching others the principles of philosophy, the least of all his endowments. Of him also I learned how to receive from friends, what are thought favours, so as neither to be on that account subjected to them, nor yet seem insensible and ungrateful.
6. From Sextus9 a pattern of a benign temper, and of a family, governed with true paternal affection and a stedfast purpose of living according to nature; to be grave and venerable, without affectation; to observe sagaciously the several dispositions and inclinations of my friends; not to be offended with the ignorant, or with those who follow the vulgar opinions without examination: His conversation was an example, how a man may accomodate himself to all men and companies; for tho’ his company was sweeter, and more pleasing than any sort of flattery, yet he was at the same time highly respected and reverenced. No man was ever more happy than he in comprehending, finding out, and arranging in exact order, the great maxims necessary for the conduct of life. He taught me by his example, to suppress even the least appearance of anger, or any other passion; but still, not withstanding this perfect tranquillity, to possess the tenderest and most affectionate heart; and to be apt to approve and applaud others, and yet with-out noise: to desire much literature, without ostentation.
7. From Alexander the critic,10 to avoid censuring others, or flouting at them for a barbarism, solecism, or any false pronounciation; but dextrously to pronounce the words as they ought, in my answering, approving, or arguing the matter, without taking direct notice of the mistake; or by some other such courteous insinuation.
8. From Fronto;11 to be sensible, how much envy, deceit, and hypocrisy, surrounds princes; and that generally those we account nobly born, have somehow less natural affection.
9. Of Alexander the platonist;12 not often, nor without great necessity, to say, or write to any man in a letter, that I am not at leisure, nor thus under pretext of urgent affairs, to decline or defer the duties, which, according to our various ties, we owe to those among whom we live.
10. Of Catulus;13 not to contemn any friend’s expostulation, tho’ injust; but to strive to reduce him to his former disposition: freely and heartily to speak well of all my masters, upon any oc-casion, as it is reported of * Domitius, and Athenodotus; and to love my children with true affection.
11. From my brother * Severus, to love my kinsmen, and to love truth and justice. To him I owe my acquaintance with † Thraseas, Helvidius, Cato, Dion, and Brutus. He gave me also the first conception of a republic, founded upon equitable laws, and administred with equality of right; and of a monarchic government, which chiefly regards the liberty of the subjects. Of him I learned likewise, to maintain a constant, disengaged, and uninterrupted study and esteem of philosophy; to be bountiful and liberal in the largest measure; always to hope the best; and to be unsuspicious about the affections of my friends. I observed in him a candid openness in declaring what he disliked in the conduct of others; and that his friends might easily see, without the trouble of conjectures, what he liked or disliked; so open and plain was his behaviour.
12. From Claudius Maximus;15 in all things to have power over myself, and in nothing to be hurried away by any passion: to be chearful and couragious in all sudden accidents, as in sicknesses to have an easy command of my own temper; to maintain a kind, sweet, and yet grave deportment; to execute my designs vigorously without freting. Whatever he said, all men believed, he spake, as he thought; and that whatever he did, it was with a good intent. He taught me, not to be easily astonished or confounded with any thing, never to seem in a hurry, nor yet to be dilatory, or perplexed, without presence of mind, or dejected, fretful, angry, or suspicious; and to be ready to do good to others, to forgive, and to speak truth; and in all this, to appear rather like one who had always been straight and right, than ever rectified or redressed; nor was there any, who thought himself undervalued by him, or who could find in his heart to think himself a better man than him: Nor did he ever affect the praise of being witty.
13.‡ From my father I learned meekness, and constancy, without wavering in those things, which after a due examination and deliberation were determined; to be little solicitous about the common honours; patience of labour, and assiduity, and readiness to hear any man, who offered any thing tending to the common good; an inflexible justice toward all men; a just apprehension when rigour and extremity, or when remissness and moderation were in season; abstinence from all impure lusts: and a sense of humanity toward others. Thus he left his friends at liberty, to sup with him or not, to go abroad with him or not, as they inclined; and they still found him the same, after their affairs had hindered them to attend him. I learned of him accuracy and patience of inquiry in all deliberations and counsel. He never quitted the search, satisfied with the first appearances. I observed his zeal to retain his friends, without cloying them, or shewing any foolish fondness; his contentment in every condition; his chearfulness; his fore-thought about very distant events; his exact care even about small matters, without noise. How he restrained all acclamations and flattery: How vigilantly he observed all things necessary to the government, and managed accurately the public revenue, and bore patiently the censures of others about these things: How he was neither a superstitious worshipper of the Gods, nor an ambitious pleaser of men, nor studious of popularity; but sober in all things, stedfast, well-skilled in what was honourable, never affecting novelties. As to these things which are subservient to ease and conveniency, of which his fortune supplied him with great affluence; he used them without pride, and yet with all freedom; enjoyed them without affectation when they were present; and when absent, he found no want of them. He was not celebrated, either as a learned acute man, or one of a sharp wit, or as a great declaimer; but a wise, experienced, complete man; one who could not bear to be flattered; able to govern both himself and others; I further observed the great honour he paid to all true philosophers, without upbraiding those who were not so; his sociableness, his gracious and delightful conversation, without cloying. His regular moderate care of his body, neither like one desirous of long life, or over studious of neatness, and elegancy; and yet not as one who despised it: Thus, through his own care, he seldom needed any internal medicines, or outward applications: But especially how ingenuously he would yield without envy, to any who had obtained any peculiar faculty, as either eloquence, or the knowledge of the laws, or of ancient customs, or the like; and how he concurred with them strenuously, that every one of them might be regarded and esteemed, for that in which he excelled; and altho’ he observed carefully the ancient customs of his fore-fathers, yet it was without ostentation. Again, how he was not fickle and capricious, but loved to continue both in the same places and businesses; and how after his violent fits of the headach, he returned fresh and vigorous to his wonted affairs. Again, that he neither had many secrets, nor often; and such only as concerned public matters: His discretion and moderation, in exhibiting of shows for the entertainment of the people, in public buildings, largesses, and the like. In all these things he acted like one who regarded only what was right and becoming in the things themselves, and not the applauses which might follow. He never bathed at unseasonable hours; had no vanity in building; was never solicitous, either about his meat, or about the nice workmanship or colour of his cloaths, or about the beauty of his servants. His apparel was plain and homely, such as that he chose to wear at Lorium, cloath made at Lunuvium;18 and at Tusculum, he wore a short cloak, sometimes making apologies for the plainness of his dress. His conversation was far from any inhumanity; or incivility, or impetuosity; never doing any thing with such keenness that one could say * he was sweating about it; but on the contrary, in all things, he acted distinctly, as at leisure, without confusion, regularly, resolutely, and gracefully. A man might have applied that to him which is recorded of Socrates, that he knew both how to abstain from or enjoy those things, in want whereof most men shew themselves weak; and in the fruition, intemperate: He remained firm and constant in both events, with a just self-government, and shewed a perfect and invincible soul; such as appeared in him during the sickness of Maximus.
14. To the Gods I owe my having good grand-fathers, and parents, a good sister, good masters, good domesticks, affectionate kinsmen, and friends, and almost all things good: and that I never thro’ haste and rashness offended any of them; tho’ I had such a temper as might have led me to it, had occasion offer’d; but by the goodness of the Gods, no such concurrence of circumstances happen’d as could discover my weakness: that I was not long brought up with my father’s concubine; that I retained my modesty, and refrained from all venereal enjoyments, even longer than was necessary; that I lived under the government of such a prince and father, who took away from me all pride and vain-glory, and convinced me, that it was not impossible for a prince to live in a court, without guards, extraordinary apparel, torches, statues, or such pieces of state and magnificence; but that he may reduce himself almost to the state of a private man, and yet not become more mean or remiss in those publick affairs, wherein power and authority are requisite. That I have had such a brother, * as by his disposition might stir me up to take care of myself; and yet by his respect and love delighted me; that my children wanted not good natural dispositions, nor were distorted or deformed in body; that I was no great proficient in the studies of rhetoric and poetry, and in other faculties, which might have engrossed my mind, had I found myself successful in them; that I prevented the expectations of those, by whom I was brought up, in promoting them to the places and dignities, they seem’d most to desire; that I did not put them off, in the common way, with hopes and excuses that since they were but young I would do it hereafter. I owe to the Gods that ever I knew Apollonius, Rusticus and Maximus; that I have had occasion often and effectually to meditate with myself and inquire what is truly the life according to nature; so that, as for the Gods, and such suggestions, helps and inspirations, as might be expected from them, I might have already attained to that life which is according to nature; and it was my own fault that I did not sooner, by not observing the inward motions and suggestions, yea, and almost plain and apparent instructions of the Gods; that my body, in such a life, hath been able to hold out so long; that I never had to do with † Benedicta and Theodotus, yea, and afterwards, when I fell into some foolish passions, that I was soon cured; that, having been often displeased with Rusticus, I never did any thing to him, for which afterwards I had occasion to repent: that since it was my mother’s fate to die young, she lived with me all her latter years: that as often as I inclined to succour any who were either poor, or fallen into some distress, I was never answered by the managers of my revenues that there was not ready mo-ney enough to do it; and that I myself never had occasion for the like succour from any other; that I have such a wife, so obedient, so loving, so ingenuous; that I had choice of fit and able men, to whom I might commit the education of my children; that by dreams I have received divine aids, as, for other things, so, in particular, how I might stay my spitting of blood, and cure my vertigo, which happen’d successfully to me at Cajeta; and, that, when I first applied myself to philosophy, I did not fall into the hands of some sophist, nor spent my time in reading many volumes, nor embarrassed myself in the solution of sophisms, nor dwelt upon the study of the meteors. All these things could not have thus concurred, without the assistance of the Gods and * fortune.
These things in the country of the Quadi near Granua.19
[* ] Annius Verus, who had been thrice Consul, and was made a Senator under Vespasian.
[† ] Annius Verus, who died when Antoninus was a child.
[‡ ] Domitia Calvilla Lucilla, daughter of Calvisius Tullus, who had been twice Consul.
[§ ] Probably by the mother, viz. Catilius Severus.
[†† ] The keenness of these contentions among the Romans in that age, is abundantly known.
[* ] For fighting, or incantations.
[‡ ] Antoninus Pius, his father by adoption.
[* ] This was a proverbial expression.
[* ] Probably Verus, whose vicious passions might rouse this excellent man’s attention to himself, or perhaps Antoninus did not know his vices for a great part of his life, and ’tis certain Verus had a great esteem for Antoninus, and was a man of ability.
[† ] These two persons are unknown, ’tis possible they have been remarkably dangerous to the youth at court.
[* ] See, B. II. art. 3.
[Page 51. line 8] [this edition: p. 27, line 22]. for confirming read arguing.
[1.] Hutcheson and Moor’s first paragraph contains the first three paragraphs of all other editions, including Gataker’s, who first established the numbering for Marcus. Hence all their numbers in the first book from paragraph 2 onward are three lower than in other editions and translations.
[2.] Hutcheson and Moor are paraphrasing here; they omit the names of “the contending parties.”
[3.] Gataker prints the negative particle in his Greek text, discusses a proposal to delete it in his annotation to this passage (p. 3), and omits it from his Latin translation. All references to Gataker are to the 1697 edition.
[4.] This Diognetus was Marcus’s painting instructor, as Gataker, p. 5, reports from the “Life of Marcus,” chap. 4, sec. 9, in Scriptores historiae Augustae (Loeb ed., vol. I, p. 143). See also Birley, Marcus Aurelius, pp. 37–38.
[5.] Baccheios was “a Platonic philosopher of the day” (The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, trans. Farquharson, 146); the others are unknown.
[6.] Quintus Junius Rusticus (cos. II, 162) was the man primarily responsible for arousing Marcus’s devotion to philosophy (see I.14). He was descended from the Rusticus who was executed by Domitian in 93 ad as a member of a group of aristocratic Stoics who opposed tyranny. Marcus mentions him in I.17 as one of the three men whom he is most grateful to the gods to have known (the others being Apollonius [endnote 8, below] and Maximus [endnote 15, p. 171]).
[7.] Epictetus (ca. 55–ca. 135), a freed slave, who taught Stoic philosophy. His lectures and discussions were written up by Arrian in the Discourses, to which Marcus refers here, and an outline of his principles is given in his Manual (Encheiridion). He and Marcus are bracketed together in the revival of interest in Stoicism in the early eighteenth century (see, for example, Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment, vol. II, pp. 91–92, 118–19, 184–86).
[8.] Apollonius of Chalcedon was invited to Rome by the emperor Antoninus to instruct the young Marcus in philosophy. Gataker, p. 12, repeats the story found in the “Life of Marcus” in the Historia Augusta that even when Marcus had been adopted into the imperial family, he used to visit the house of Apollonius for philosophical instruction (“Life of Marcus,” chap. 3 in Scriptores historiae Augustae, vol. I, p. 137).
[9.] Stoic philosopher, nephew of Plutarch.
[10.] Alexander was a sophist and grammarian from Cotiaeon, a great authority on Homer, who taught Marcus literature.
[11.] Marcus Cornelius Fronto taught Marcus rhetoric. Some of the correspondence between Marcus and Fronto survived in a manuscript that had been overwritten with another text (a palimpsest). This was not discovered until the early nineteenth century and would not have been known to Hutcheson and Moor. The correspondence is translated in Fronto, Correspondence.
[12.] Philosopher and orator, Marcus’s Greek secretary.
[13.] Cinna Catulus, reported to have been a Stoic.
[14.] Athenodotus was a Stoic, a pupil of the famous Musonius Rufus, who also taught Fronto, Marcus’s tutor in rhetoric and correspondent (Birley, Marcus Aurelius, pp. 97–98, 105).
[15.] Claudius Maximus, Stoic senator, consul ca. 142, provincial governor; described as “a man of austere principles and long military service” (Apuleius, Apology, 19). See Birley, Marcus Aurelius, pp. 96–97.
[16.] Gnaeus Claudius Severus Arabianus, consul 146; his son married one of Marcus’s daughters (Birley, Marcus Aurelius, pp. 96–97).
[17.] These were all men who won fame by opposing tyranny. Most of them were Stoics. Thrasea Paetus was forced to commit suicide by Nero. Helvidius Priscus was executed by Vespasian; his son, also Helvidius, by Domitian. M. Porcius Cato committed suicide after the battle of Thapsus rather than submit to Julius Caesar. Brutus is the assassin of Julius Caesar who killed himself after being defeated by Octavian at Philippi. Dio is probably the disciple of Plato who deposed the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse; he is usually now called Dion.
[18.] An error for Lanuvium; it is spelled correctly in Gataker’s Greek text and in his Latin translation (1697, p. 6).
[19.] The river Gran or Hron, a tributary of the Danube in Slovakia. Marcus had his winter quarters here during his campaign against the Quadi, a Germanic tribe.