At a time when Christianity was re-shaping the worldview of
theWest, only one classical belief system was strong enough to
provide a meaningful and potentially successful alternative to the
new religion. No, not paganism, neither Platonism nor
Aristotelianism . . . . Rather the harsh and unrelenting stoicism,
which finds its highest form of expression in the Meditations of
Marcus Aurelius, met the challenge by showing us the only
certain path to overcoming our frustrated hopes and ruined
ambitions. Only by restraining our desires can we be sure of
attaining what happiness is available to us. We may think of the
Roman emperors as crass hedonists -- and certainly Suetonius's
account of the twelve Caesars does not disabuse of this notion
-- yet it was one of the successors of Caesar who left us this
classic testimony to self-restraint and the power of the human
An on-line edition of this work can be found here.
The column of Marcus Aurelius, one hundred feet tall, still stands
in Rome today, and depicts his campaigns against the Germanic
tribes and Sarmatians.
View the Roman coins of Marcus Aurelius here.
QUOTES FROM MARCUS AURELIUS
"You have power over your mind - not outside events.
Realize this, and you will find strength."
"I have often wondered how it is that every man loves
himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less
value on his own opinions of himself than on the
opinions of others."
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the
majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of