Marcus Aurelius: a guide for the perplexed

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, one the few philosopher-kings (well, okay, emperor) in the history of the world, is a fascinating figure. Despite being one of the most famous Stoics, he was not a philosopher and teacher like Zeno, Chrysippus, or Epictetus. Unlike Seneca, he wrote just one book, the Meditations, which was actually addressed to […]

Marcus Aurelius and the Christians

I’m going to conclude this mini-series on Marcus by briefly addressing the question of whether he persecuted the then novel Christian sect. (Part I of the mini-series was on Marcus’ speeches, and part II on his sayings. Check this link for all my writings about Marcus.) If you have a particular interest on this topic, […]

The sayings of Marcus Aurelius

I have recently examined three surviving speeches by Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic emperor. Here I will take a look at a number of scattered sayings — i.e., bits that do not appear either in the speeches or in the Meditations — collected as part of the excellent Delphi’s Complete Works of Marcus Aurelius and translated […]

The speeches of Marcus Aurelius

We are all familiar with Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, one of the most famous books of practical philosophy of all ages. But did you know that we also have three speeches attributed to Marcus? They are collected in Delphi’s Complete Works of Marcus Aurelius, and it’s worth to take a look even though they only indirectly […]

Marcus Aurelius, a life

Time to start reporting my thoughts about the recent biography of Marcus Aurelius, by Frank McLynn (Da Capo Press, 2009). I am about halfway through it, and will comment on a number of aspects of it, but I can already tell you that it is a missed opportunity. McLynn both hates (with gusto!) and does not […]

Marcus Life: how he got into Stoicism

It has been a while since I published my first thoughts on Frank McLynn’s biography of Marcus Aurelius. As you might recall, the initial impression wasn’t too positive, especially with regard to the author’s highly uncharitable, and somewhat misinformed, treatment of Stoicism. One doesn’t have to like or endorse the philosophy, but rejecting it out of hand will […]