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Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library)

Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library) [Kindle Edition]

Marcus Aurelius , Gregory Hays
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Product Description


" Here, for our age, is [Marcus' s] great work presented in its entirety, strongly introduced and freshly, elegantly translated." --Robert Fagles

Book Description

A translation of one of the most important texts of Western philosophy.

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's an episode of Dad's Army where the English Captain Mainwaring turns out to be able to play the bagpipes. He explains his skill by revealing that he spent his two-week honeymoon in Scotland, and that there wasn't much else to do. Marcus Aurelius, who as Emperor of Rome was higher up the army ranks than Mainwaring, probably felt the same way about northern Germany, where he spent his time trying to defeat the barbarians. To pass the hours he scribbled down jottings and ideas about how to live a fulfilled life that eventually became Meditations, one of the most wonderful personal philosophies ever written.

The thoughts and ideas here are connected by Aurelius' interest in the Stoic philosophy, but they are not a narrative so the book can be opened at any page or read in any order as each paragraph is a single idea, observation or point he wished to make. Aurelius comes across as an incredibly sane, warm, open and tolerant individual and although he personally believes in a divine nature, an atheist can happily enjoy his writing.

The Stoics were interested in logic, physics and ethics. These terms didn't hold their current meanings so Logic meant closely observing the world and thinking carefully and deriving knowledge and opinions about what you have seen. Physics is essentially the idea that the universe has a force of nature running through it and there's a connectedness between all things. Finally Ethics is how to be happy, which to the stoics meant living in tune with the rest of nature. It all sounds rather new age and vague but Aurelius' genius is to boil this down to a practical formula for everyday living.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditations 22 Nov 2007
In Plato's Republic, Socrates discusses the possibility of a philosopher king; that is, a person who would rule in a way that is just, because their thoughts and desires are outgrowths of their philosophical ideologies. Socrates suggests that this would be the best of all possible rulers - and, of course, the implication is that Plato would be this greatest ruler, because the philosophy a ruler 'should' follow, was Plato's. Marcus Aurelius was Emperor of Rome from 161 A.D. until his death in 180 A.D. He was the last of the five great Emperors who ruled Rome during a period which Edward Gibbon, writing his magnificent The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, described as the time when the world was at its happiest and most prosperous. He was not, as far as anyone else knew, a philosopher - he was simply (and sufficiently) a proficient Emperor, an able ruler, a good statesmen. And yet, in those quiet moments of leisure when he was able to take off the mantle of Emperor, Marcus Aurelius composed some of the most important works of Stoic philosophy. A series of meditations, exercises for himself, admonitions to himself, exhortations of how to be a better person.

What is immediately clear about Aurelius' Meditations is that they were written for an intimate audience of one. There is no grandstanding or pompous declarations of power or influence. There are no revelations or secrets or negative comments about current affairs. Whatever Marcus Aurelius' thoughts on the world outside himself, we are left mostly in the dark for this work. Rather, what he has done - or aims to do - is to intimately examine himself, to highlight his flaws and to recognise, but not always praise, his positive qualities.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best self-help book ever written? 7 Feb 2008
Marcus's meditations never fail to make me feel better about the world and the best aspect of all is that his philosophy doesn't involve any radical lifestyle change. Indeed one of its basic assumptions is that you should have an unquestioning acceptance of who you are, whoever you are. Buy this and carry it with you at all times (it's not a big book by the way).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eXCELLENT TRANSLATION 9 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

The translation is excellent catching all the nuances of Aurelius's thoughts. It has been a long time since I read 'Meditations and book made re-visiting well worth while
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations" 25 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An interesting insight into the various spiritual dilemmas that plagued a Roman Emperor. A lot of topics are repeated throughout the book, just phrased differently, which can be a bit annoying but you just have to consider that the Meditations were never intended to be read by anyone else and these were problems which must have been constantly going through the Emperor's head throughout his life.

How small we as individuals are in the grand scheme of the Universe, how death is nothing to be feared and how best to be a good person tend to be some of the problems he tries to deal with. It's written beautifully and the meditations vary in size from short sentences to long paragraphs. A must-read if you're interested in classic philosophy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring. 5 Sep 2011
Compelling and inspiring. This should be essential reading. If everyone read this book and adopted it's principles the world would be a utopia. Perfection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It would be 5 stars but 4 is still very good.

I felt like I was being talked to by a father I never had. Loved it.

Hard to read. You have to be smart.
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