Analysis of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius –

Analysis of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius he was called “the last good emperor of Rome”. Despite being the commander of an entire empire, Marcus AurĂ©lio never abandoned the path of virtue and wisdom. Always, even in the midst of conspiracies and deposition attempts, he sought to be a virtuous person. And this can be deduced from his diary, which came to us in the form of a book, known as Meditations, of which we want to analyze its historical context and content.

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius they are an unprecedented text at the time. Are the private thoughts of the most powerful man in the world that advises himself on how to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations of his position.

Historical context of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

To understand precisely the importance of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, we have to place ourselves in its historical context. Trained in Stoic philosophy, Marcus Aurelius he devoted himself almost every night to practicing a series of spiritual exercises, reminders designed to do humble, patient, empathic, generous and strong versus whatever he was dealing with. It is imminently readable and perfectly accessible. You can’t read this book and not come out with a phrase or line that will come in handy the next time you run into trouble.

Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD, Marcus Aurelius he practiced Stoicism and wrote about his own Stoic practice in his journals. It is worth remembering that Marcus Aurelius was one of the most exemplary leaders in history who is worth emulating in our own lives. Matthew Arnold, an essayist, commented in 1863 that in Marcus Aurelius we find a man who, although he had the highest and most powerful empire in the world, and the universal verdict of the people around him, proved himself worthy of it. Machiavelli considers the time of government under Marcus Aurelius “golden time” and he the last of the “Five Good Emperors”. Machiavelli would also describe Marcus Aurelius as “unassuming, justice-lovinghateful of cruelty, understanding and kind.

Despite his privileges as emperor, Marcus Aurelius had a difficult life. The Roman historian Cassius Dio reflected that Marcus “did not meet the good fortune he deserved, since he did not have a strong body and was involved in a multitude of problems during practically his entire reign. But throughout these struggles he never gave up. It is an inspiring example for us to think about today if we get tired, frustrated or have to deal with some crisis.

And during those years of struggle, pArticularly while leading military campaigns, Marcus Aurelius would write twelve books from his private diaries, which is estimated to have been between 170 and 180 AD. They have become one of the most influential philosophy books in the history of the world. The meditations were originally untitled and were written by Marcus Aurelius for his own benefit, not for an audience. Almost every other piece of literature is a kind of performance, it is made for the public. The meditations are not. In fact, its original title (Ta eis heauton) roughly translates to For Himself.

It is for this reason that the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius is a somewhat inscrutable book: for personal clarity and not for public benefit. Writing Stoic exercises was and is also a way of practicing them, just like repeating a prayer or a mantra.

These types of thoughts, reflected in Meditations, would serve him as we say to face his position as emperor, in which great public honors were bestowed upon him in life and in death, and in his Meditations Marcus Aurelius spoke of it with love and admiration. Ancient sources accused her of infidelity and disloyalty (her complicity, in fact, with Avidius Cassius), but her charges are implausible.

In 177, Marcus Aurelius proclaimed his 16-year-old son Commodus joint emperor. Together they resumed the Danube Wars. Marcus Aurelius was determined to move from defense to offense and to an expansionist redrawing of Rome’s northern boundaries. His determination seemed to be gaining ground when, in 180, he died at his military headquarters, having had time to recommend Comfortable top advisers to the regime.

Summary of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

There are twelve books that make up The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that we can make a detailed summary of each of them.

Book I

In the Book I, Marcus Aurelius thanks those to whom he is indebted. He thanks his grandfather for teaching him to be honest, modest, and even-tempered; his father for teaching him to be humble, calm and frugal; his mother for teaching him to be generous and not materialistic; and his teachers who taught him the value of hard work, self-discipline, equanimity, rationality, humor, and tolerance. From his teachers, he too learned to love practical philosophy, rather than the metaphysics, logic, and vanity of the sophists. He also thanks his wife for being caring.

Book II

In the Book II, Marcus Aurelius reminds us that every day we will meet some terrible people. But we also have faults, so we should not be angry with them. Because we are all just pieces of blood, bones and breath; our life is fleeting; Our bodies will decompose. As for death, there is nothing to fear; It can’t hurt us. But the most important part of us is our minds. We must not let ourselves end up being slaves to selfish passions, fighting with fate or being anxious about the present or afraid of the future. We can’t guarantee fame or fortune, but we can keep our minds clear and injury-free., a state superior to both pleasure and pain. Freedom is the control of our minds.

Book III

In the Book III Marcus Aurelius tells us to keep in mind the little things like the cracks in a loaf of bread, the texture of figs and olives, and the expressions of wild animals, even mundane things have charm, he says. But we must not gossip or speculate about what others say or do. Instead, he thinks and talks only about things that you wouldn’t be ashamed of if you were found out. Think and speak with sincerity and joy, and there will be a kind of divinity within you. There is nothing more valuable than a mind that pursues truth, justice, temperance, fortitude, rationality, and the like. So be resolute in the pursuit of the good.

Book IV

In the Book IV, Marcus Aurelius tells us that we can always find solitude in our own minds. If our minds are serene, we will find peace and happiness. As for how others see us, we have little control. But virtue is still virtue even if it is not recognized. Remember, our lives are fleeting, one day we live, the next we are dead. So act virtuous, use your time well and be cheerful. Then when you fall from the tree of life, you will fall like a ripe fruit.

Book V

In the Book V, Marcus Aurelius says that we should get up every morning and do a good job. We should act naturally and contribute to society, without worrying about the reproach of others. And don’t ask or expect payment or gratitude for doing good deeds. Instead, be content to be like a vine that bears good fruit. Virtue is your own reward.

Book VI

in the LBook VI, Marcus Aurelius rejects revenge. We must do our duty, act righteously and not be bothered by the rest, since in the immensity of space and time we are insignificant. Think of good things and control your mind.

Book VII

In the book VII, Marcus Aurelius advocates patience and tolerance. Nature works like wax, continually transforming itself, so be patient. People will talk bad about you no matter what you do, but be tolerant. Evil people test our patience and tolerance, but we can remain happy by controlling our response to them.


In the Book VIII, Marcus Aurelius argues that being cut off from humanity is like cutting off one of your own limbs. Instead, live connected with natureoh other people. No matter what you find keep a moderate and controlled mind. If others curse you, don’t let it affect you any more than your curse spring affects spring.

Books IX, X and XI

In the Books IX, X and XI, Marcus Aurelius argues that we must be moderate, sincere, honest and calm. If someone reports that you are not virtuous, dispel those notions with your probity and use humor to disarm the worst people.

Book XII

In the Books XII, Marcus Aurelius asks why we don’t love each other more, and instead we value the opinion of others over our own. This is a mistake. Remember also that the fate of the greatest and the worst of human beings is the same: they all turn to ashes. Do not be proud, but humble. He dies in serenity. As Marcus Aurelius wrote from his shop, far from home and never to return: “Life is war and the stay of a stranger, and after fame, oblivion.”

Analysis by themes of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Apart from the summary of each of the chapters or books of The Meditations of Marcus Aureliussome are the specific topics that can be analyzed for a better understanding.

The evil that men do harms you only if you do evil in response.

Marcus Aurelius reminded himself not to be bothered by the misdeeds of others and to correct them if possible, but if they were stubborn and would not change, accept it. In reacting to such people, we must never allow our own principles to be violated. Furthermore, we should never be surprised by the evil deeds of others, and avoid wishing that men were not as they are (prone to evil deeds) because then we wish for the impossible. He believed that people do bad things out of ignorance of what is good and bad., and that we should forgive them for their mistakes, even when they hurt us. Marcus Aurelius emphasizes that social animals like humans are meant to live in harmony.

He compared his relationship with bad people to being different body parts of the same person. Good and bad people are part of the same universal nature and are meant to interact and cooperate. Marcus Aurelius, and indeed all Stoics, believed that we were part of an internally connected organism. That you couldn’t hurt one person without hurting everyone. “What hurts the hive hurts the bee,” he said. “The best revenge,” he said, “is not to be like that.” Meaning: When you hurt others, you hurt the group and you hurt yourself.

It is against nature to despise evil people and try to avoid them. When we find ourselves judging others, we must first consider our own faults. Then we will discover that we are less likely to blame them. Instead of judging and being picked on by others, which sets us up for disappointment and heartbreak, we should focus on self-improvement….