Marcus Aurelius quotes

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Marcus Aurelius

Birthdate: 26. April 121
Date of death: 17. March 180
Other names: Antonius Marcus Aurelius, Аврелий Марков, Mark Aurel

Marcus Aurelius was Roman emperor from 161 to 180, ruling jointly with Lucius Verus until Verus' death in 169 and jointly with his son, Commodus, from 177. He was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors.

He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations, is a significant source of our modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. It is considered by many commentators to be one of the greatest works of philosophy.

During his reign, the Roman Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East: Aurelius' general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, although the threat of the Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately. Persecution of Christians increased during his reign.

His death in 180 is considered the end of the Pax Romana and the increasing instability in the west that followed has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the eventual Fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Works

Meditations
Meditations
Marcus Aurelius

„The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

The universe is flux, life is opinion.
The universe is transformation: life is opinion. (Long translation)
ὁ κόσμος ἀλλοίωσις, ὁ βίος ὑπόληψις.
IV, 3
Variant: Our life is what our thoughts make it.
Source: Meditations (c. 121–180 AD), Book IV

This quote waiting for review.

„The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts; therefore guard accordingly.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

Variant: The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
Source: Meditations

„Look within. Within is the fountain of the good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

VII, 59
Source: Meditations (c. 121–180 AD), Book VII

„A man standing by a spring of clear, sweet water and cursing it. While the fresh water keeps on bubbling up. He can shovel mud into it, or dung, and the stream will carry it away, wash itself clean, remain unstained.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

Hays translation
Suppose that men kill thee, cut thee in pieces, curse thee. What then can these things do to prevent thy mind from remaining pure, wise, sober, just? For instance, if a man should stand by a limpid pure spring, and curse it, the spring never ceases sending up potable water; and if he should cast clay into it or filth, it will speedily disperse them and wash them out, and will not be at all polluted. How then shalt thou possess a perpetual fountain? By forming thyself hourly to freedom conjoined with contentment, simplicity and modesty.
VIII, 51
Meditations (c. 121–180 AD), Book VIII

„Depart then satisfied, for he also who releases thee is satisfied.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

XII, 36
Meditations (c. 121–180 AD), Book XII

„Whatever anyone does or says, I must be emerald and keep my colour.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

Source: Meditations

„To refrain from imitation is the best revenge.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

Source: Meditations

„The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

Misattributed
Source: The first citation appears in a translation of Leo Tolstoy's Bethink Yourselves! http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~Bethink_Yourselves/BY_chapter08.html by NONRESISTANCE.ORG. The claim made that it is from Marcus Aurelius. Nothing closely resembling it appears in Meditations, nor does it appear in a 1904 translation of Bethink Yourselves http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/bethink-yourselves/8/. The 1904 translation may be abridged, whereas the NONRESISTANCE.ORG translation claims to be unabridged.

„Adapt yourself to the environment in which your lot has been cast, and show true love to the fellow-mortals with whom destiny has surrounded you.“

—  Marcus Aurelius, book Meditations

VI, 39
Meditations (c. 121–180 AD), Book VI
Original: (el) Οἷς συγκεκλήρωσαι πράγμασι, τούτοις συνάρμοζε σεαυτόν, καὶ οἷς συνείληχας ἀνθρώποις, τούτους φίλει, ἀλλ ἀληθινῶς.

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