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Encyclopedia > Meditations
Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations in Greek while positioned at Aquincum on campaign in Pannonia in modern-day Hungary
This article is about the writings by Marcus Aurelius. For other uses, see Meditation (disambiguation).

Meditations (Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν, literally "thoughts/writings addressed to himself") is the title of a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius setting forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 1944 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 1944 pixel, file size: 1. ... Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (April 26, 121[1] – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to his death. ... Location of the city within the Roman Empire The ancient city of Aquincum was situated on the North-Eastern borders of the Pannonia Province within the Roman Empire. ... Position of the Roman province of Pannonia Pannonia is an ancient country bounded north and east by the Danube, conterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. ... Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (April 26, 121[1] – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to his death. ... Meditation may refer to: Meditation is the practice of quieting stresses to the mind by use of sitting and breathing techniques. ... Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (April 26, 121[1] – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to his death. ... Stoicism is a school of philosophy commonly associated with such Greek philosophers as Zeno of Citium, Cleanthes, or Chrysippus and with such later Romans as Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ...


Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations in Italian, because he was ROMAN, and NOT GREEK, you stupid people, while positioned at Aquincum on campaign in Pannonia between 170 and 180, as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. It is not clear that he ever intended the writings to be published, so the title Meditations is but one of several commonly assigned to the collection. These writings take the form of quotations varying in length from one sentence to long paragraphs. Location of the city within the Roman Empire The ancient city of Aquincum was situated on the North-Eastern borders of the Pannonia Province within the Roman Empire. ... Position of the Roman province of Pannonia Pannonia is an ancient country bounded north and east by the Danube, conterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. ... For other uses, see number 170. ... For other uses, see number 180. ...


His stoic ideas often revolve around the denial of emotion, a skill which, he says, will free a man from the pains and pleasures of the material world. He claims that the only way a man can be harmed by others is to allow his reaction to overpower him. He shows no particular religious faith in his writings, but seems to believe that some sort of logical, benevolent force organizes the universe in such a way that even "bad" occurrences happen for the good of the whole.

Contents

Reception and Influence

Marcus Aurelius has been lauded for his capacity "to write down what was in his heart just as it was, not obscured by any consciousness of the presence of listeners or any striving after effect." Gilbert Murray compares him to Rousseau and St. Augustine and their Confessions. Though Murray criticizes Marcus for the "harshness and plainness of his literary style," he finds in his Meditations "as much intensity of feeling...as in most of the nobler modern books of religion, only [with] a sterner power controlling it." "People fail to understand Marcus," he writes, "not because of his lack of self-expression, but because it is hard for most men to breathe at that intense height of spiritual life, or, at least, to breathe soberly."[1] D.A. Rees calls the Meditations "unendingly moving and inspiring", but does not offer them up as works of original philosophy.[2] Bertrand Russell found them contradictory and inconsistent, evidence of a "tired age" where "even real goods lose their savour." Using Marcus as an example of greater Stoic philosophy, he found their ethical philosophy to contain an element of "sour grapes". "We can't be happy, but we can be good; let us therefore pretend that, so long as we are good, it doesn't matter being unhappy."[3] Both Russell and Rees find an element of Marcus' Stoic philosophy in Kant's own philosophical system.[4][2] Gilbert Murray (or George Gilbert Aime) (January 2, 1866 - 1957) was a British classical scholar and diplomat. ... Rousseau is a French surname. ... “Augustinus” redirects here. ... The word Confessions has several meanings: Confessions is a series of books composed by St. ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. ... “Kant” redirects here. ...


Quotations

  • If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this that disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now. (trans. George Long)
  • A cucumber is bitter. Throw it away. There are briars in the road. Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, "And why were such things made in the world?" (trans. Gregory Long)
  • Soon you'll be ashes or bones. A mere name at most--and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, trivial. (trans. Gregory Hays)
  • Never regard something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust or lose your sense of shame or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill-will or hypocrisy or a desire for things best done behind closed doors. (trans. Gregory Hays)
  • Not to feel exasperated or defeated or despondent because your days aren't packed with wise and moral actions. But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human--however imperfectly--and fully embrace the pursuit you've embarked on. (trans. George Hays)
  • Let opinion be taken away, and no man will think himself wronged. If no man shall think himself wronged, then is there no more any such thing as wrong. (trans. Meric Casaubon)
  • (...) As for others whose lives are not so ordered, he reminds himself constantly of the characters they exhibit daily and nightly at home and abroad , and of the sort of society they frequent; and the approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes has no value for him. (trans. Maxwell Staniforth)
  • Reject your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears.
  • Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good.

Editions

Some popular English translations include:

  • The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, translated by George Long (1862); reprinted many times, including in Vol. 2 of the Harvard Classics.
  • The Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius, translated by Meric Casaubon. J.M. Dent & Co. (London). 1906-1908.
  • Meditations, translated by Maxwell Stainforth. ISBN 0-14-044140-9.
  • Meditations, translated by Gregory Hays. ISBN 0-679-64260-9.
  • The Emperor's Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations, translated by Scot and David Hicks. ISBN 0-7432-3383-2.
  • Meditations, translated by A.S.L. Farquharson. ISBN 0-19-283907-1.

George Long (November 4, 1800 - August 10, 1879), English classical scholar, was born at Poulton, Lancashire, and educated at Macclesfield grammar-school and Trinity College, Cambridge. ... The Harvard Classics, originally known as Dr. Eliots Five Foot Shelf, was a fifty-volume anthology of works selected by Charles W. Eliot. ... Florence Estienne Méric Casaubon (August 14, 1599 - July 14, 1671), son of Isaac Casaubon, was an English classical scholar. ...

See also

John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners (1467 - 1553) was a translator, born at Sherfield, Herts and educated at Oxford, held various offices of state, including that of Chancellor of the Exchequer to Henry VIII., and Lieutenant of Calais, where he died He translated, at the Kings desire, Froissarts Chronicles...

References

  1. ^ Murray, Gilbert [1912] (2002). Five Stages of Greek Religion, 3rd Edition, Dover Publications, 168-9. ISBN 0-486-42500-2. 
  2. ^ a b D.A. Rees, Introduction pp. xvii. In Farquhrson, A. S. L. [1944] (1992). Meditations. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-679-41271-9. 
  3. ^ Russell, Bertrand [1946] (2004). History of Western Philosophy. London: Routledge, 248-56. ISBN 0-415-32505-6. 
  4. ^ Ibid. 254-5

External links

Wikisource
Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Meditations
  • Multiple editions of the Meditations at the Internet Archive
  • A Man in Full: The Teachings of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus A discussion and comparison of Mediations and its influence on Tom Wolfe and modern culture.
  • Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν (Ta eis heauton), an online Greek version of the Meditations (Greek was the original language of the writings), after A.S.L.Farquharson's publication
  • The Meditations, an online version at the Internet Classics Archive
  • The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, an online version from The Harvard Classics series, published 1909-1914.
  • Meditations, an online version from Project Gutenberg (text is from The Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius, translated by Meric Casaubon, published 1906-1908.)
  • Latin Version by J. M. Schulz (1802)
  • Audio recording of George Long's translation at LibriVox.org

  Results from FactBites:
 
Meditation Handbook (7708 words)
Meditating with eyes fully closed is fine as long as the room remains brightly lit, so that enough light passes through the eyelids to keep your brain alert.
Meditation must not be thought of as something that is only done in a physically rigid state, far removed from the world of work and play.
Meditation should be a form of cosmic hedonism, not a penance one must perform as an obligation.
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Meditation is not something that a Yogi has to teach you; you already have the ability to shut out thoughts.
Meditation is an experience that cannot be described, just as colors cannot be described to a blind man. All ordinary experience is limited by Time, Space and Causation.
If it is not feasible to sit for meditation at these times, choose an hour when you are not involved with daily activities, and a time when the mind is apt to be calm.
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