Thiền Marcus Aurelius

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Marcus Aurelius

A New Translation, with an Introduction, by Gregory Hays


Title Page
Half Title Page
Introduction by Gregory Hays

Book 1: Debts and Lessons
Book 2: On the River Gran, Among the Quadi
Book 3: In Carnuntum
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6
Book 7
Book 8
Book 9
Book 10
Book 11
Book 12

Index of Persons
About the Translator
The Modern Library Editorial Board


Gregory Hays

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
States will never be happy until rulers become philosophers or philosophers become
—PLATO, The Republic

Marcus Aurelius is said to have been fond of quoting Plato’s
dictum, and those who have written about him have rarely
been able to resist applying it to Marcus himself. And
indeed, if we seek Plato’s philosopher-king in the flesh we
could hardly do better than Marcus, the ruler of the Roman
Empire for almost two decades and author of the immortal
Meditations. Yet the title is one that Marcus himself would
surely have rejected. He never thought of himself as a
philosopher. He would have claimed to be, at best, a diligent
student and a very imperfect practitioner of a philosophy
developed by others. As for the imperial throne, that came
almost by accident. When Marcus Annius Verus was born, in
A.D. 121, bystanders might have predicted a distinguished
career in the Senate or the imperial administration. They

could hardly have guessed that he was destined for the
imperial purple, or seen in their mind’s eye the lonely bronze
horseman whose upraised hand greets us from the Capitoline
hill in Rome across two thousand years.
Marcus sprang from a distinguished enough family. The
year of his birth coincided with his grandfather’s second
tenure of the consulship, in theory Rome’s highest office,
though now of largely ceremonial importance. And it was to
be his grandfather who brought him up, for his father died
when he was very young. Marcus makes reference in the
Meditations to his father’s character as he remembered it or
heard of it from others, but his knowledge must have been
more from stories than from actual memories. Of the
remainder of his childhood and his early adolescence we
know little more than can be gleaned from the Meditations.
The biography of him in the so-called Historia Augusta (a
curious and unreliable work of the late fourth century
probably based on a lost series of lives by the third-century
biographer Marius Maxim...
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