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Marcus Aurelius (AD 121–80)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A068-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 15, 2024, from

Article Summary

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Emperor of Rome, was the author of a book of philosophical reflections written in Greek and known as the Meditations. These reflections are based primarily on Stoicism, but also reveal the influence of other currents of thought and of his experience as emperor. Marcus was deeply influenced by Epictetus and shares his interest in the inner mental life and the psychology of moral improvement. He combines a deep commitment to the providential cosmology traditional in the Stoic school with a more pronounced religious sensibility and a frequent emphasis on the insignificance of human life in space and time. The Stoic recognition of the irreducibly social character of human nature is obviously pertinent to an emperor whose career consisted largely of self-sacrificing public service.

Citing this article:
Inwood, Brad. Marcus Aurelius (AD 121–80), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A068-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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