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The Meditations of the Emperor 

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 

Translated by 

George Long, M. A. 

The Chesterfield Society 

London New York 

5 go 


Biographical Sketch of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 1 

The Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus , , .. . ... 31 

Marcus Aurelius, from " Seekers After God." 73 

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 131 

Index. 299 



Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 




Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 

Marcus Antoninus was born at Eome a. d. 121, on 
the 26th of April. His father, Annius Verus, died 
while he was praetor. His mother was Domitia Cal- 
villa, also named Lucilla. The Emperor Titus Antoninus 
Pius married Annia Galeria Faustina, the sister of 
Annius Yerus, and was consequently the uncle of Marcus 
Antoninus. When Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius 
and declared him his successor in the empire, Antoninus 
Pius adopted both Lucius Ceionius Commodus, the son 
of Aelius Caesar, and Marcus Antoninus, whose original 
name was Marcus Annius Verus. Antoninus then took 
the name of Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus, to which 
was added the title of Caesar in a. d. 139 ; the name 
Aelius belonged to Hadrian's family, and Aurelius 
was the name of Antoninus Pius. When Marcus An- 
toninus became Augustus, he dropped the name of 
Verus and took the name of Antoninus. Accordingly 
he is generally named Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, or 
simply Marcus Antoninus. 

The youth was most carefully brought up. He thanks 
the gods (i. 17) that he had good grandfathers, good 
parents, a good sister, good teachers, good associates, 
good kinsmen ajid friends, nearly everything good. 


He had the happy fortune to witness the example of 
his uncle and adoptive father Antoninus Pius, and he 
has recorded in his work (i. 16 ; vi. 30) the virtues of 
this excellent man and prudent ruler. Like many 
young Romans he tried his hand at poetry and studied 
rhetoric. Herodes Atticus and M. Cornelius Fronto 
were his teachers in eloquence. There are extant let- 
ters between Fronto and Marcus,* which show the 
great affection of the pupil for the master, and the 
master's great hopes of his industrious pupil. Marcus 
Antoninus mentions Fronto (i. 11) among those to 
whom he was indebted for his education. 

When he was eleven years old, he assumed the dress 
of philosophers, something plain and coarse, became a 
hard student, and lived a most laborious, abstemious 
life, even so far as to injure his health. Finally he 
abandoned poetry and rhetoric for philosophy, and he 
attached himself to the sect of the Stoics. But he did 
not neglect the study of law, which was a useful prep- 
aration for the high place which he was designed to 
fill. His teacher was L. Volusianus Maecianus, a dis- 
tinguished jurist. We must suppose that he learned 
the Roman discipline of arms, which was a necessary 
part of the education of a man who afterward led his 
troops to battle against a warlike race. 

Antoninus has recorded in his first book the names 
of his teachers and the obligations which he owed to 
each of them. The way in which he speaks of what 
he learned from them might seem to savor of vanity 
or self-praise, if we look carelessly at the way in which 1 
he has expressed himself; but if anyone draws this 

*M. Cornelii Fronionis Reliquiae, Berlin, 1816. There are a few 
letters between Fronto and Antoninus Pius. 


conclusion, he will be mistaken. Antoninus means to 
commemorate the merits of his several teachers, what 
they taught and what a pupil might learn from them. 
Besides, this book like the eleven other books was for 
his own use, and if we may trust the note at the end 
of the first book, it was written during one of Marcus 
Antoninus' campaigns against the Quadi, at a time 
when the commemoration of the virtues of his illustri- 
ous teachers might remind him of their lessons and the 
practical uses which he might derive from them. 

Among his teachers of philosophy was Sextus of 
Chaeroneia, a grandson of Plutarch. "What he learned 
from this excellent man is told by himself (i. 9). His 
favorite teacher was Q. Junius Rusticus (i. 7), a philos- 
opher, and also a man of practical good sense in public 
affairs. Rusticus was the adviser of Antoninus after 
he became emperor. Young men who are destined 
for high places are not often fortunate in those who 
are about them, their companions and teachers ; and I 
do not know any example of a young prince having 
had an education which can be compared with that of 
Marcus Antoninus. Such a body of teachers distin- 
guished by their acquirements and their character will 
hardly be collected again ; and as to the pupil, we have 
not had one like him since. 

Hadrian died in July a. d. 138, and was succeeded 
by Antoninus Pius. Marcus Antoninus married 
Faustina, his cousin, the daughter of Pius, probably 
about a. d. 146, for he had a daughter born in 147. 
He received from his adoptive father the title of Caesar 
and was associated with him in the administration of 
the state. The lather and the adopted son lived 
together in perfect friendship and confidence. Anto- 


ninus was a dutiful son, and the emperor Pius loved 
and esteemed him. 

Antoninus Pius died in March a. d. 161. The Senate, 
it is said, urged Marcus Antoninus to take the sole 
administration of the empire, but he associated with 
himself the other adopted son of Pius, L. Ceionius 
Coramodus, who is generally called L. Yerus. Thus 
Rome for the first time had two emperors. Yerus was 
an indolent man of pleasure and unworthy of his 
station. Antoninus, however, bore with him, and it is 
said that Yerus had sense enough to pay to his col- 
league the respect due to his character. A virtuous 
emperor and a loose partner lived together in peace, 
and their alliance was strengthened by Antoninus 
giving to Yerus for wife his daughter Lucilla. 

The reign of Antoninus was first troubled by a 
Parthian war, in which Yerus was sent to command, 
but he did nothing, and the success that was obtained 
by the Romans in Armenia and on the Euphrates and 
Tigris was due to his generals. This Parthian war 
ended in a. d. 165. Aurelius and Yerus had a triumph 
(a. d. 166) for the victories in the east. A pestilence 
followed which carried off great numbers in Rome and 
Italy, and spread to the west of Europe. 

The north of Italy was also threatened by the rude 
people beyond the Alps from the borders of Gallia to 
the eastern side of the Hadriatic. These barbarians 
attempted to break into Italy, as the Germanic nations 
had attempted near three hundred years before ; and 
the rest of the life of Antoninus, with some intervals, 
was employed in driving back the invaders. In 169 
Yerus suddenly died, and Antoninus administered the 
state alone. 


During the German wars Antoninus resided for three 
years on the Danube at Carnuntum. The Marcomanni 
were driven out of Pannonia and almost destroyed in 
their retreat across the Danube; and in a. d. 174 the 
emperor gained a great victory over the Quadi. 

In a. d. 175 Avidius Cassius, a brave and skillful 
Roman commander who was at the head of the troops 
in Asia, revolted and declared himself Augustus. But 
Cassius was assassinated by some of his officers, and so 
the rebellion came to an end. Antoninus showed his 
humanity by bis treatment of the family and the par- 
tisans of Cassius, and his letter to the Senate in which 
he recommends mercy is extant. (Vulcatius, Avidius 
Cassius, c. 12.) 

Antoninus set out for the east on hearing of Cassius' 
revolt. Though he appears to have returned to Rome 
in a. d. 174, he went back to prosecute the war against 
the Germans, and it is probable that he marched 
direct to the east from the German war. His wife 
Faustina, who accompanied him into Asia, died sud- 
denly at the foot of the Taurus, to the great grief of 
her husband. Capitolinus, who has written the life of 
Antoninus, and also Dion Cassius accuse the empress 
of scandalous infidelity to her husband and of abom- 
inable lewdness. But Capitolinus says that Antoninus 
either knew it not or pretended not to know it. Noth- 
ing is so common as such malicious reports in all ages, 
and the history of imperial Rome is full of them. 
Antoninus loved his wife, and he says that she was 
" obedient, affectionate and simple." The same scan- 
dal had been spread about Faustina's mother, the wife 
of Antoninus Pius, and yet he too was perfectly satis- 
fied with his wife. Antoninus Pius says, after her 


death, in a letter to Fronto, that he would rather have 
lived in exile with his wife than in his palace at Rome 
without her. There are not many men who would 
give their wives a better character than these two 
emperors. Capitolinus wrote in the time of Diocletian. 
He may have intended to tell the truth, but he is a 
poor, feeble biographer. Don Cassius, the most malig- 
nant of historians, always reports, and perhaps he 
believed, any scandal against anybody. 

Antoninus continued his journey to Syria and Egypt, 
and on his return to Italy through Athens he was 
initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. It was the 
practice of the emperor to conform to the established 
rites of the age and to perform religious ceremonies 
with due solemnity. We cannot conclude from this 
that he was a superstitious man, though we might per- 
haps do so, if his book did not show that he was not. 
But this is only one among many instances that a 
ruler's public acts do not always prove his real 
opinions. A prudent governor Avill not roughly oppose 
even the superstitions of his people, and though he may 
wish that they were wiser, he will know that he can- 
not make them so by offending their prejudices. 

Antoninus and his son Commodus entered Home in 
triumph, perhaps for some German victories, on the 
23d of December, a. d. 176. In the following year 
Commodus was associated with his father in the 
empire and took the name of Augustus. This year 
a. d. 177 is memorable in ecclesiastical history. Attalus 
and others were put to death at Lyon for their adher- 
ence to the Christian religion. The evidence of this 
persecution is a letter preserved by Eusebius (E. H. v. 1; 
printed in Routh's Reliquiae SacraB, vol. i. with notes.) 


The letter is from the Christians of Vienna and 
Lugdunum in Gallia (Vienne and Lyon) to their Chris- 
tian brethren in Asia and Phrygia ; and it is preserved 
perhaps nearly entire. It contains a very particular 
description of the tortures inflicted on the Christians 
in Gallia, and it states that while the persecution was 
going on, Attalus a Christian and a Roman citizen 
was loudly demanded by the populace and brought 
into the amphitheater, but the governor ordered him 
to be reserved with the rest who were in prison, until 
he had received instructions from the emperor. Many 
had been tortured before the governor thought of 
applying to Antoninus. The imperial rescript, says 
the letter, was that the Christians should be punished, 
but if they would deny their faith, they must be re- 
leased. On this the work began again. The Christians 
who were Roman citizens were beheaded : the rest 
were exposed to the wild beasts in the amphitheater. 
Some modern writers on ecclesiastical history, when 
they use this letter, say nothing of the wonderful 
stories of the martyrs' sufferings. Sanctus, as the 
letter says, was burned with plates of hot iron till his 
bodv was one sore and had lost all human form, but 
on being put to the rack he recovered his former 
appearance under the torture, which was thus a cure 
instead of a punishment. He was afterward torn by 
beasts, and placed on an iron chair and roasted. He 
died at last. 

The letter is one piece of evidence. The writer, who- 
ever he was that wrote in the name of the Gallic 
Christians, is our evidence both for the ordinarv and 
the extraordinary circumstances of the story, and we 
cannot accept his evidence for one part and reject the 


other. We often receive small evidence as a proof of 
a thing which we believe to be within the limits of 
probability or possibility, and we reject exactly the 
same evidence, when the thing to which it refers, 
appears very improbable or impossible. But this is a 
false method of inquiry, though it is followed by some 
modern writers, who select what they like from a 
story and reject the rest of the evidence ; or if they do 
not reject it, they dishonestly suppress it. A man can 
only act consistently by accepting all this letter or re- 
jecting it all, and we cannot blame him for either. 
But he who rejects it may still admit that such a letter 
may be founded on real facts ; and he would make this 
admission as the most probable way of accounting for 
the existence of the letter : but if, as he would sup- 
pose, the writer has stated some things falsely, he can- 
not tell what part of his story is worthy of credit. 

The Avar on the northern frontier appears to have 
been uninterrupted during the visit of Antoninus to 
the East, and on his return the emperor again left 
Rome to oppose the barbarians. The Germanic people 
were defeated in a great battle a. d. 179. During this 
campaign the emperor was seized with some contagions 
malady, of which he died in the camp at Sirmium 
(Mitrovitz) on the Save in Lower Pannonia, but at 
Vindebona (Vienna) according to other authorities, on 
the 17th of March a. d. 180, in the fifty-ninth year of 
his age. His son Commodus was with him. The body 
or the ashes probably of the emperor were carried to 
Rome, and he received the honor of deification. 
Those who could afford it had his statue or bust, and 
when Capitolinus wrote, many people still had statues 
Qf Antoninus among the Dei Penates or household 


deities. He was in a manner made a saint. Corn- 
modus erected to the memory of his father the An- 
tonine column which is now in the Piazza Colonna at 
Eome. The bassi rilievi which are placed in a spiral 
line round the shaft commemorate the victories of 
Antoninus over the Marcomanni and the Quadi, and 
the miraculous shower of rain which refreshed the 
Roman soldiers and discomfited their enemies. The 
statue of Antoninus was placed on the capital of the 
column, but it was removed at some time unknown, 
and a bronze statue of St. Paul was put in the place by 
Pope Sixtus the fifth. 

The historical evidence for the times of Antoninus 
is very defective, and some of that which remains is 
not credible. The most curious is the story about the 
miracle which happened in a. d. 174 during the war 
with the Quadi. The Roman army was in danger of 
perishing by thirst, but a sudden storm drenched them 
with rain, while it discharged fire and hail on their 
enemies, and the Romans gained a great victory. All 
the authorities which speak of the battle speak also of 
the miracle. The Gentile writers assign it to their 
gods, and the Christians to the intercession of the 
Christian legion in the emperor's army. To confirm 
the Christian statement it is added that the emperor 
gave the title of Thundering to this legion ; but Dacier 
and others, who maintain the Christian report of the 
miracle, admit that this title of Thundering or Light- 
ning was not given to this legion because the Quadi 
were struck with lightning, but because there was a 
figure of lightning on their shields, and that this title of 
the legion existed in the time of Augustus. 

Scaliger also had observed that the legion was called 


Thundering before the reign of Antoninus. We learn 
this from Dion Cassius (Lib. 55, c. 23, and the note of 
Reimarus) who enumerates all the legions of Augustus' 
time. The name Thundering or Lightning also occurs 
on an inscription of the reign of Trajan, which was 
found at Trieste. Eusebius (v. 5) when he relates the 
miracle, quotes Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis, as 
authority for this name being given to the legion Meli- 
tene by the emperor in consequence of the success 
which he obtained through their prayers; from which 
we may estimate the value of Apolinarius' testimony. 
Eusebius does not say in what book of Apolinarius the 
statement occurs. Dion says that the Thundering 
legion was stationed in Cappadocia in the time of 
Augustus. Valesius also observes that in the ISTotitia 
of the Impenum Romanum there is mentioned under 
the commander of Armenia the Praefectura of the 
twelfth legion named " Thundering Melitene;" and this 
position in Armenia will agree with what Dion says 
of its position in Cappadocia. Accordingly Valesius 
concludes that Melitene was not the name of the legion, 
but of the town in which it was stationed. Melitene 
was also the name of the district in which this town was 
situated. The legions did not, he says, take their name 
from the place where they were on duty, but from 
the country in which they were raised, and therefore, 
what Eusebius says about the Melitene does not seem 
probable to him. Yet Valesius, on the authority of 
Apolinarius and Tertullian, believed that the miracle 
was worked through the prayers of the Christian sol- 
diers in the emperor's army. Rufinus does not give the 
name of Melitene to this legion, says Valesius, and 
probably he purposely omitted it, because he knew 


that Melitene was the name of a town in Armenia 
Minor, where the legion was stationed in his time. 

The emperor, it is said, made a report of his victory 
to the Senate, which we may believe, for such was the 
practice; but we do not know what he said in his 
letter, for it is not extant. Dacier assumes that the 
emperor's letter was purposely destroyed by the Senate, 
or the enemies of Christianity, that so honorable a tes- 
timony to the Christians and their religion might not 
be perpetuated. The critic has, however, not seen 
that he contradicts himself when he tells us the 
purport of the letter, for he says that it was 
destroyed, and even Eusebius could not find it. But 
there does exist a letter in Greek addressed bv 
Antoninus to the Roman people and the sacred Senate 
after this memorable victory. It is sometimes printed 
after Justin's first Apology, but it is totally unconnected 
with the apologies. This letter is one of the most 
stupid forgeries of the many which exist, and it can- 
not be possibly founded even on the genuine report of 
Antoninus to the Senate. If it were genuine it would 
free the emperor from the charge of persecuting men 
because they were Christians, for he says in this false 
letter that if a man accuse another only of being a 
Christian and the accused confess and there is nothing 
else against him, he must be set free ; with this mon- 
strous addition, made by a man inconceivably igno- 
rant, that the informer must be burned alive.* 

* Eusebius (v. 5) quotes Tertullian's Apology to the Roman 
Senate in confirmation of the story. Tertullian, he says, writes that 
letters of the emperor were extant, in which he declares that his 
army was saved by the prayers of the Christians ; and that he 
"threatened to punish with death those who ventured to accuse us." 


During the time of Antoninus Pius and Marcus 
Antoninus there appeared the first Apology of Jus- 
tinus, and under Antoninus the Oration of Tatian 
asrainst the Greeks, which was a fierce attack on the 
established religions; the address of Athenagoras to 
Marcus Antoninus on behalf of the Christians, and the 
Apology of Melito, bishop of Sardes, also addressed to 
the emperor, and that of Apolinarius. The first 
Apology of Justinus is addressed to Titus Antoninus 
Pius and his two adopted sons Marcus Antoninus and 
L. Verus ; but we do not know whether they read it.* 
The second Apology of Justinus is entitled "to the 
Roman Senate ;" but this superscription is from some 
copyist. In the first chapter Justinus addresses the 
Romans. In the second chapter he speaks of an affair 
that had recently happened in the time of Marcus 
Antoninus and L. Verus, as it seems; and he also 
directly addresses the emperor, saying of a certain 
woman, " she addressed a petition to thee the emperor, 
and thou didst grant the petitition." In other passages 
the writer addresses the two emperors, from which we 
must conclude that the Apology was directed to them. 
Eusebius (E. H. iv. 18) states that the second Apology 
was addressed to the successor of Antoninus Pius, and 
he names him Antoninus Verus, meaning Marcus 
Antoninus. In one passage of this second Apology 

It is possible that the forged letter which is now extant may be one 
of those which Tertullian had seen, for he uses the plural number 
"letters." A great deal has been written about this miracle of the 
Thundering Legion, and more than is worth reading. There is a 
dissertation on this supposed miracle in Moyle's Works, London, 172G. 

* Orosius (vii. 14) says that Justinus the philosopher presented 
to Antoninus Pius his work in defence of the Christian religion, and 
made him merciful to the Christians. 


(c. 8), Justinus, or the writer, whoever he may be, says 
that even men who followed the Stoic doctrines, when 
they ordered their lives according to ethical reason, 
were hated and murdered, such as Heraclitus, Muso- 
nius in his own times and others; for all those who in 
any way labored to live according to reason and 
avoided wickedness were always hated ; and this was 
the effect of the work of demons. 

Justinus himself is said to have been put to death at 
Rome, because he refused to sacrifice to the gods. It 
cannot have been in the reign of Hadrian, as one 
authority states; nor in the time of Antoninus Pius, if 
the second Apology was written in the time of Marcus 
Antoninus ; and there is evidence that this event took 
place under Marcus Antoninus and L. Verus, when 
Rusticus was prefect of the city.* 

* See the Martyrium Sanctorum Justini, etc., in the works of 
Justinus, ed. Otto, vol. ii. 559. "Junius Rusticus Prefectus Urbi 
erat sub imperatoribus M. Aurelio et L. Vero, id quod liquet ex 
Themistii Orat. xxxiv. Dindorf. p. 451, et ex quodaru illoruni re- 
scripto, Dig. 49. 1. 1, 2." (Otto.) The rescript contains the words 
"Junium Rusticum arnicum nostrum Prefectum Urbi." The Mar- 
tyrium of Justinus and others is written in Greek. It begins: "In 
the time of the wicked defenders of idolatry impious edicts were pub- 
lished against the pious Christians, both in cities and country places, 
for the purpose of compelling them to make offerings to vain idols. 
Accordingly the holy men (Justinus, Chariton, a woman Charito, 
Pa?on, Liberianus and others) were brought before Rusticus, the pre- 
fect of Rome." 

The Martyrium gives the examination of the accused by Rusticus. 
All of them professed to be Christians. Justinus was asked if he ex 
pected to ascend into heaven and to receive a reward for his suffer- 
ings if he was condemned to death. He answered that he did not 
expect: he was certain of it. Finally, the test of obedience was pro- 
posed to the prisoners: they were required to sacrifice to the gods. 
All refused, and Rusticus pronounced the sentence, which was that 


The persecution in which Poly carp suffered at 
Smyrna belongs to the time of Marcus Antoninus. 
The evidence for it is the letter of the church of 
Smyrna to the churches of Philomelium and the other 
Christian churches, and it is preserved by Eusebius (E. 
II. iv. 15). But the critics do not agree about the time 
of Polycarp's death, differing in the two extremes to 
the amount of twelve years. The circumstances of 
Polycarp's martyrdom were accompanied by miracles, 
one of which Eusebius (iv. 15) has omitted, but it ap- 
pears in the oldest Latin version of the letter, which 
Usher published, and it is supposed that this version 
was made not long after the time of Eusebius. The 
notice at the end of the letter states that it was tran- 
scribed by Caius from the copy of Irenaaus, the disciple 
of Polycarp, then transcribed by Socrates at Corinth ; 
"after which I Pionius again wrote it out from the 
copy above mentioned, having searched it out by the 
revelation of Polycarp, who directed me to it, etc." 
The story of Polycarp's martyrdom is embellished 
with miraculous circumstances which some modern 
writers on ecclesiastical history take the liberty of 

those who refused to sacrifice to the gods and obey the emperor's 
order should be whipped and beheaded according to the law. The 
martyrs were then led to the usual place of execution and beheaded. 
Some of the faithful secretly carried off the bodies and deposited 
them in a fit place. 

* Conyers Middleton, An Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers, 
etc., p. 126 Middleton says that Eusebius omitted to mention the 
dove, which new out of Polycarp's body, and Dodwell and Archbishop 
Wake have done the same. Wake says, " I am so little a friend to 
such miracles that I thought it better with Eusebius to omit that cir- 
cumstance than to mention it from Bp. Usher's Manuscript," which 


In order to form a proper notion of the condition of 
the Christians under Marcus Antoninus we must go 
back to Trajan's time. When the younger Pliny was 
governor of Pithy nia, the Christians were numerous in 
those parts, and the worshipers of the old religion 
were falling off. The temples were deserted, the fes- 
tivals neglected, and there were no purchasers of vic- 
tims for sacrifice. Those who were interested in the 
maintenance of the old religion thus found that their 
profits were in danger. Christians of both sexes and 
of all ages were brought before the governor, who did 
not know what to do with them. He could come to 
no other conclusion than this, that those who confessed 
to be Christians and persevered in their religion ought 
to be punished ; if for nothing else, for their invincible 
obstinac} 7 . He found no crimes proved against the 
Christians, and he could only characterize their religion 
as a depraved and extravagant superstition, which 
might be stopped, if the people were allowed the op- 
portunity of recanting. Pliny wrote this in a letter to 
Trajan (Plinius, Ep. x. 97). He asked for the emperor's 
directions, because he did not know what to do: He 
remarks that he had never been engaged in judicial 
inquiries about the Christians, and that accordingly he 
did not know what to inquire about or how far to in- 
quire and punish. This proves that it was not a new 
thing to examine into a man's profession of Christianity 
and to punish him for it.* Trajan's Rescript is extant. 

manuscript, however, says Middleton, lie afterward declares to be so 
well attested that we need not any further assurance of the truth 
of it. 

* Orosius (vii. 12) speaks of Trajan's persecution of the Christians, 
and of Pliny's application to him having led the emperor to mitigate 


He approved of the governor's judgment in the mat- 
ter ; but he said that no search must be made after the 
Christians ; if a man was charged with the new religion 
and convicted, he must not be punished if he affirmed 
that he was not a Christian and confirmed his denial 
by showing his reverence to the heathen gods. He 
added that no notice must be taken of anonymous in- 
formations, for such things were of bad example. Tra- 
jan was a mild and sensible man, and both motives of 
mercy and policy probably also induced him to take as 
little notice of the Christians as he could ; to let them 
live in quiet, if it were possible. Trajan's Rescript is 
the first legislative act of the head of the Roman state 
with reference to Christianity which is known to us. 
It does not appear that the Christians were further 
disturbed under his reign. The martyrdom of Igna- 
tius by the order of Trajan himself is not universally 
admitted to be an historical fact.* 

In the time of Hadrian it was no longer possible for 
the Roman government to overlook the great increase 
of the Christians and the hostility of the common sort 
to them. If the governors in the provinces were will- 
ing to let them alone, they could not resist the fanati- 
cism of the heathen community, who looked on the 
Christians as atheists. The Jews too who were settled 
all over the Roman Empire were as hostile to the 

his severity. The punishment by the Mosaic law for those who at- 
tempted to seduce the Jews to follow new gods was death. If a man 
was secretly enticed to such new worship he must kill the seducer, 
even if the seducer were brother, son, daughter, wife or friend. 
(Deut. xiii.) 

* The Martyrium Ignatii, first published in Latin by Archbishop 
Usher, is the chief evidence for the circumstances of Ignatius' death. 


Christians as the Gentiles were.* With the time of 
Hadrian begin the Christian Apologies, which show 
plainly what the popular feeling toward the Christians 
then was. A rescript of Hadrian to Minucius Fundanus, 
the Proconsul of Asia, which stands at the end of Jus- 
tin's first Apology 4 instructs the governor that inno- 
cent people must not be troubled and false accusers must 
not be allowed to extort money from them ; the charges 
against the Christians must be made in due form and 
no attention must be paid to popular clamors ; when 
Christians were regularly prosecuted and convicted of 
illegal acts, they must be punished according to their 
deserts; and false accusers also must be punished. 
Antoninus Pius is said to have published Eescripts to 
the same effect. The terms of Hadrian's Eescript seem 
very favorable to the Christians; but if we understand 
it in this sense, that they were only to be punished like 
other people for illegal acts, it would have had no 
meaning, for that could have been done without asking 
the emperor's advice. The real purpose of the Eescript 
is that Christians must be punished if they persisted 
in their belief, and would not prove their renunciation 

* We have the evidence of Justinus (ad Diognetum, c. 5) to this 
effect: "The Christians are attacked by the Jews as if they were 
men of a different race and are persecuted by the Greeks; and those 
who hate them cannot give the reason of their enmity." 

J And in Eusebius, E. H. iv. 8, 9. Orosius (vii. 13) says that 
Hadrian sent this rescript to Minucius Fundanus, Proconsul of Asia, 
after being instructed in books written on the Christian religion by 
Quadratus, a disciple of the Apostles, and Aristides, an Athenian, an 
honest and wise man, and Serenus Granius. In the Greek text of 
Hadrian's rescript there is mentioned Serenius Granianus, the pre- 
decessor of Minucius Fundanus in the government of Asia. This 
rescript of Hadrian has clearly been added to the Apology by some 


of it by acknowledging the heathen religion. This 
was Trajan's rule, and we have no reason for suppos- 
ing that Hadrian granted more to the Christians than 
Trajan did. There is also printed at the end of 
Justin's first Apology a rescript of Antoninus Pius to 
the commune of Asia, and it is also in Eusebius (E. H. 
iv. 13). The date of the Rescript is the third consul- 
ship of Antoninus Pius.* The Rescript declares that 
the Christians, for they are meant, though the name 
Christians does not occur in the Rescript, were not to 
be disturbed, unless they were attempting something 
against the Roman rule, and no man was to be pun- 
ished simply for being a Christian. But this Rescript 
is spurious. Any man moderately acquainted with 
Roman history will see by the style and tenor that it 
is a clumsy forgery. 

* Eusebius (E. H. iv. 12) after giving the beginning of Justinus' 
First Apology, which contains the address to T. Antoninus and his 
two adopted sons, adds ' ' the same emperor being addressed by other 
brethren in Asia honored the Commune of Asia with the following 
Rescript." This Rescript, which is in the next chapter of Eusebius 
(E. H. iv. 13), is in the sole name of Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 
Augustus Armenius, though Eusebius had just before said that he 
was going to give us a Rescript of Antoninus Pius. There are some 
material variations between the two copies of the Rescript besides the 
difference in the title, which difference makes it impossible to say 
whether the forger intended to assign this Rescript to Pius or to 
Marcus Antoninus. 

The author of the Alexandrine Chronicum says that Marcus 
being moved by the entreaties of Melito and other heads of the 
church wrote an Epistle to the Commune of Asia in which he forbade 
the Christians to be troubled on account of their religion. Valesius 
supposes this to be the letter or Rescript which is contained in Euse- 
bius (iv. 13), and to be the answer to the Apology of Melito, of which 
1 shall soon give the substance. But Marcus certainly did not write 
this letter which is in Eusebius, and we know not what answer he 
made to Melito. 


In the time of Marcus Antoninus the opposition be- 
tween the old and the new belief was still stronger, and 
the adherents of the heathen religion urged those in 
authority to a more regular resistance to the invasions: 
of the Christian faith. Melito, in his apology to Mar- 
cus Antoninus, represents the Christians of Asia as 
persecuted under new imperial orders. Shameless 
informers, he says, men who were greedy after the 
property of others, used these orders as a means of 
robbing those who were doing no harm. He doubts if 
a just emperor could have ordered anything so unjust ; 
and if the last order was really not from the emperor, 
the Christians entreat him not to give them up to their 
enemies.* We conclude from this that there were at 

* Eusebius, iv. 26 ; and Routh's Reliquiae Sacrse, vol. i. and the 
notes. The interpretation of this fragment is not easy. Mosheim 
misunderstood one passage so far as to affirm that Marcus promised 
rewards to those who denounced the Christians ; an interpretation 
which is entirely false. Melito calls the Christian religion " our 
philosophy," which began among barbarians (the Jews), and flour- 
ished among the Roman subjects in the time of Augustus, to the 
great advantage of the empire, for from that time the power of the 
Romans grew great and glorious. He says that the emperor has and 
will have as the successor to Augustus' power the good wishes of 
men, if be will protect that philosophy which grew up with the 
empire and began with Augustus, which philosophy the predeces- 
sors of Antoninus honored in addition to the other religions. He 
further says that the Christian religion had suffered no harm since 
the time of Augustus, but on the contrary had enjoyed all honor and 
respect that any man could desire. Nero and Domitian, he says, 
were alone persuaded by some malicious men to calumniate the 
Christian religion, and this was the origin of the false charges 
against the Christians. But this was corrected by the emperors who 
immediately preceded Antoninus, who often by their Rescripts 
reproved those who attempted to trouble the Christians. Hadrian, 
Antoninus' grandfather, wrote to many, and among them to Fun- 
danus, the governor of Asia. Antoninus Pius, when Marcus was 


IlKKUiM'IIICM. /.'A A'/r// OA* 

least Imperial Resoripts or Constitutions <r Marous 
A utoninus, which were made the foundation of these 
persecutions. The faot of beings Christian was now 
a, crime and punished, unless the aooused denied their 
religion. Then come the persecul ions at Smyrna, winch 
some modern oritios plaoe in \. i>. L67,ten years before 
the persecution of Lyon. The governors of the prov- 
inces under Marous Antoninus might have found 
enough even in Trajan's Resoript to warrant them in 
punishing Christians, and the fanatioism of the people 
would drive them to persecution, even if they were 
unwilling, But besides the Pad of the Christians 
rejecting all the heathen oeremonies, we must not for- 
get that they plainly maintained that all the heathen 
religions were false. The ( Ihristians thus declared war 
against the heathen rites, and it is hardly ueoessary t<> 
observe thai this was a declaration of hostility against 
the Roman government, whioh tolerated all the various 
forms of superstition that existed in the empire, and 
oould not consistently tolerate another religion, winch 

ir >'.!': ted u i Hi In in in Ihr rm|.jiT, Wrote t the (jltlfiS, I lull 1 1 lev must, 

not trouble iin< Christians; among others to the people of LarlsBa, 
Thessalonioa, the Athenians and all theGreeks, Mellto oonoluded 
thus We are persuaded that thou who Last aboul these things the 

r.iuui' m iinl dun i lw\ luul, nn\ . i ill I ii r mic Hindi in.ui- liunuitio Mini pin 

losophloal, wilt do all thai we ash thee This apology was written 
after A. D 1 80, the yew in which Verusdled, for 11 speaks of Marous 
oniv and bis son Commodus according to Melito's testimony 
Christians had onlj been punished for their religion In the time of 
Nero mid Doinitlan, and the perseoutiona began again In the time of 
Marcus Antoninus, and were Founded on bis orders, which were 
abused, as be deems to mean Me distinctly affirms that the race 
of thegodlj Is ii"" persecuted and barasaed bj fresh Imperial orders 
'" Asia, a thing which bad never bappened before." But we know 
that all this Is not true, and that Christians bad been punished in 
Tmiun'a iimo. 


declared that all the rest were false, and all the splen- 
did oeremonies of the empire only a worship of devils. 
[f we had a true ecclesiastical history, we should 
know how (he Roman emperors attempted (<> check 
the new religion, how they enforced their principle of 
finally punishing Christians, simply as Christians, 
which .Iiisfin in his A.pology affirms thai they did, and 
I have no doubt that ho tells the truth; how far 
popular olamor and riots went in this matter, and how 
far many fanatical and ignorant Christians, for (hero 

were many suoh, contributed to excite the fanaticism 

on the Other side, and to embitter the quarrel between 

the Roman government and the new religion. Our 
extant ecclesiastical histories are manifestly falsified, 
and what truth they contain is grossly exaggerated; 

hut the fact is certain that in the time of Marcus 
Antoninus the heathen populations were in open 
hostility to the Christians, and that under Antoninus 1 
pule men were put to death because they were 

Christians. Kusebius, in the preface to his fifth hook', 

remarks that in the seventeenth year of Antoninus' 
reign, in some parts of the world the persecution of 

the Christians became more violent, and that it pro- 
ceeded from the populace in the cities; and he adds in 
his usual stylo of exaggeration, that wo may infer 
from what took place in a single nation that, myriads 
of martyrs were made in the habitable earth. The 
nation which he alludes to is ( iallia ; and he then pro- 
ceeds to give the letter of the churches of Vienna and 
Lugdunum. If is probable that, he has assigned the 
true cause of the persecutions, the fanaticism of the 

populace, and that, both governors and emperor had a 
great deal of trouble with these diiiturbances. liow 


far Marcus was cognizant of these cruel proceedings 
we do not know, for the historical records of his reign 
are very defective. He did not make the rule against 
the Christians, for Trajan did that ; and if we admit 
that he would have been willing to let the Christians 
alone, we cannot affirm that it was in his power, for it 
would be a great mistake to suppose that Antoninus 
had the unlimited authority, which some modern 
sovereigns have had. His power was limited by certain 
constitutional forms, by the Senate, and by the prece- 
dents of his predecessors. We cannot admit that such 
a man was an active persecutor, for there is no evidence 
that he was,* though it is certain that he had no good 
opinion of the Christians, as appears from his own 
words4 But he knew nothing of them except their 

* Except that of Orosius (vii. 15), who says that during the 
Parthian war there were grievous persecutions of the Christians in 
Asia and Gallia under the orders of Marcus (praecepto ejus), and 
" many were crowned with the martyrdom of saints." 

\ See xi. 3. The emperor probably speaks of such fanatics as 
Clemens (quoted by Gataker on this passage) mentions. The rational 
Christians admitted no fellowship with them. "Some of these 
heretics," says Clemens, "show their impiety and cowardice by loving 
their lives, saying that the knowledge of the really existing God is true 
testimony (martyrdom), but that a man is a self-murderer who bears 
witness by his death. We also blame those who rush to death, for 
there are some, not of us, but only bearing the same name, who give 
themselves up. We say of them that they die without being 
martyrs, even if they are publicly punished ; and they give them- 
selves up to a death which avails nothing, as the Indian Gymnoso- 
phists give themselves up foolishly to fire." Cave, in his Primitive 
Christianity (ii. c. 7), says of the Christians : " They did flock to the 
place of torment faster than droves of beasts that are driven to the 
shambles. They even longed to be in the arms of suffering. 
Ignatius, though then in his journey to Rome in order to his execu- 
tion, yet by the way as he went could not but vent his passionate 


hostility to the Roman religion, and he probably 
thought that they were dangerous to the state, not- 
withstanding the professions false or true of some of 
the Apologists. So much I have said, because it would 
be unfair not to state all that can be urged against a 
man whom his contemporaries and subsequent ages 
venerated as a model of virtue and benevolence. If I 
admitted the genuineness of some documents, he would 
be altogether clear from the charge of even allowing 
any persecutions ; but as I seek the truth and am sure 
that they are false, I leave him to bear whatever blame 
is his due.* I add that it is quite certain that Anto- 
ninus did not derive any of his Ethical principles from 
a religion of which he knew nothing.:}: 

There is no doubt that the Emperor's Reflections, or 
his Meditations, as they are generally named, is a 
genuine work. In the first book he speaks of himself, 

desire of it : "0 that I might come to those wild beasts, that are pre- 
pared for me ; I heartily wish that I may presently meet with them ; 
I would invite and encourage them speedily to devour me, and not be 
afraid to set upon me as they have been to others ; nay, should they 
refuse it, I would even force them to it ;" and more to the same pur- 
pose from Eusebius. Cave, an honest and good man, says all this in 
praise of the Christians ; but I think that he mistook the matter. 
We admire a man who holds to his principles even to death ; but 
these fanatical Christians are the Gymnosophists whom Clemens 
treats with disdain. 

* Dr. F. C. Baur in his work entitled Das Christenthum und die 
Christliche Kirche der drei ersten Jahrhunderte, etc., has examined 
this question with great good sense and fairness, and I believe he has 
stated the truth as near as our authorities enable us to reach it. 

% In the Digest, 48, 19, 30, there is the following excerpt from 
Modestinus : "Si quis aliquid fecerit, quo leves hominum animi 
superstitione numinis terrerentur, divus Marcus hujusmodi homines 
in insulam relegari rescripsit." 


his family, and his teachers ; and in other books he 
mentions himself. Suidas notices a work of Antoninus 
in twelve books, which he names the "conduct of his 
own life;" and he cites the book under several words 
in his Dictionary, giving the emperor's name, but not 
the title of the work. There are also passages cited by 
Suidas from Antoninus without mention of the 
emperor's name. The true title of the work is un- 
known. Xy lander, who published the first edition of 
this book (Zurich, 1558, 8vo., with a Latin version), 
used a manuscript, which contained the twelve books, 
but it is not known where the manuscript is now. 
The only other complete manuscript which is known 
to exist is in the Vatican library, but it has no title 
and no inscriptions of the several books : the eleventh 
only has the inscription MdpxoiavToxpdropos marked with 
an asterisk. The other Vatican manuscripts and the 
three Florentine contain only excerpts from the em- 
peror's book. All the titles of the excerpts nearly 
agree with that which Xylander prefixed to his edition, 

Mdpxov ^Avroovivov AvroxpdropoZ tcSv etZ savrov fiifiXicc i{3. 

This title has been used by all subsequent editors. We 
cannot tell whether Antoninus divided his work into 
books or somebody else did it. If the inscriptions at 
the end of the first and second books are genuine, he 
may have made the division himself. 

It is plain that the emperor wrote down his thoughts 
or reflections as the occasions arose ; and since they 
were intended for his own use, it is no improbable con- 
jecture that he left a complete copy behind him writ- 
ten with his own hand ; for it is not likely that so 
diligent a man would use the labor of a transcriber for 
such a purpose, and expose his most secret thoughts to 


any other eye. He may have also intended the book 
for his son Commodus, who, however, had no taste for 
his father's philosophy. Some careful hand preserved 
the precious volume; and a work by Antoninus is 
mentioned by other late writers besides Suidas. 

Many critics have labored on the text of Antoninus. 
The most complete edition is that by Thomas Gataker, 
1052, 4to. The second edition of Gataker was superin- 
tended by George Stanhope, 1697, 4to. There is also 
an edition of 1704. Gataker made and suggested many 
good corrections, and he also made a new Latin version, 
which is not a very good specimen of Latin, but it 
generally expresses the sense of the original and often 
better than some of the more recent translations. He 
added, in the margin opposite to each paragraph, refer- 
ences to the other parallel passages ; and he wrote a 
commentary, one of the most complete that has been 
written on any ancient author. This commentary con- 
tains the editor's exposition of the more difficult pas- 
sages, and quotations from all the Greek and Roman 
writers for the illustration of the text. It is a won- 
derful monument of learning and labor, and certainly 
no Englishman has yet done anything like it. At the 
end of his preface the editor says that he wrote it at 
Rotherhithe, near London, in a severe winter, when he 
was in the seventy-eighth year of his age, 1651, a time 
when Milton, Selden and other great men of the Com- 
monwealth time were living; and the great French 
scholar Saumaise (Salmasius), with whom Gataker cor- 
responded and received help from him for his edition 
of Antoninus. The Greek text has also been edited by 
J. M. Schultz, Leipzig, 1802, 8vo.; and by the learned 
Greek Adamantinus Corai's, Paris, 1816, 8vo. The text 
of Schultz was republished by Tauchnitz, 1821. 


There are English, German; French, Italian and 
Spanish translations of Marcus Antoninus, and there 
may be others. I have not seen all the English trans- 
lations. There is one by Jeremy Collier, 1702, 8vo., a 
most coarse and vulgar copy of the original. The 
latest French translation by Alexis Pierron in the col- 
lection of Charpentier is better than Dacier's, which 
has been honored with an Italian version (Udine, 1772). 
There is an Italian version (1675) which I have not 
seen. It is by a cardinal. " A man illustrious in the 
church, the Cardinal Francis Barberini the elder, 
nephew of Pope Urban VIII, occupied the last years 
of his life in translating into his native language the 
thoughts of the Roman emperor, in order to diffuse 
among the faithful the fertilizing and vivifying seeds. 
He dedicated this translation to his soul, to make it, as 
he says in his energetic style, redder than his purple at 
the sight of the virtues of this Gentile " (Pierron, Pre- 

I have made this translation at intervals after having 
used the book for many years. Is is made from the 
Greek, but I have not always followed one text ; and 
I have occasionally compared other versions with my 
own. I made this translation for my own use, because 
I found that it was worth the labor ; but it may be 
useful to others also, and therefore I determined to 
print it. As the original is sometimes very difficult to 
understand and still more difficult to translate, it is not 
possible that I have always avoided error. But I 
believe that I have not often missed the meaning, and 
those who will take the trouble to compare the trans- 
lation with the original should not hastily conclude 
that I am wrong, if they do not agree with me. Some 


passages do give the meaning, though at first sight 
they may not appear to do so ; and when I differ from 
the translators, I think that in some places they are 
wrong, and in other places I am sure that they are. I 
have placed in some passages a f, which indicates 
corruption in the text or great uncertainty in the 
meaning. I could have made the language more easy 
and flowing, but I have preferred a ruder style as 
being better suited to express the character of the 
original ; and sometimes the obscurity which may 
appear in the version is a fair copy of the obscurity of 
the Greek. If I should ever revise this version, I 
would gladly make use of any corrections which may 
be suggested. If I have not given the best words for 
the Greek, I have done the best that I could ; and in 
the text I have alwa} r s given the same translation of 
the same word. 

The last reflection of the Stoic philosophy that I 
have observed is in Simplicias' Commentary on the 
Encheiridion of Epictetus. Simphcius was not a 
Christian, and such a man was not likely xo be con- 
verted at a time when Christianity was grossly cor- 
rupted. But he was a really religious man, and he 
concludes his commentary with a prayer to the Deity 
which no Christian could improve. From the time of 
Zeno to Simplicius, a period of about nine hundred 
years, the Stoic philosophy formed the characters of 
some of the best and greatest men. Finally it became 
extinct, and we hear no more of it till the revival of 
letters in Italy. Angelo Poliziano met with two very 
inaccurate and incomplete manuscripts of Epictetus' 
Encheiridion, which he translated into Latin and dedi- 
cated to his great patron Lorenzo de' Medici, in whose 


collection he had found the book. Poliziano's version 
was printed in the first Bale edition of the Encheiridion, 
a. d. 1531 (apud And. Cratandrura). Poliziano recom- 
mends the Encheiridion to Lorenzo as a work well 
suited to his temper, and useful in the difficulties by 
which he was surrounded. 

Epictetus and Antoninus have had readers ever since 
they were first printed. The little book of Antoninus 
has been the companion of some great men. Machia- 
velli's Art of War and Marcus Antoninus were the two 
books which were used when he was a young man by 
Captain John Smith, and he could not have found two 
writers better fitted to form the character of a soldier 
and a man. Smith is almost unknown and forgotten 
in England, his native country, but not in America 
where he saved the young colony of Virginia. He 
was great in his heroic mind and his deeds in arms, but 
greater still in the nobleness of his character. For a 
man's greatness lies not in wealth and station, as the 
vulgar believe, nor yet in his intellectual capacity, 
which is often associated with the meanest moral 
character, the most abject servility to those in high 
places and arrogance to the poor and lowly ; but a 
man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an 
honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of 
himself and everything else, on frequent self examina- 
tion, and a steady obedience to the rule which he 
knows to be right, without troubling himself, as the 
emperor says he should not, about what others may 
think or say, or whether they do or do not do that 
which he thinks and says and does. 



Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 



The Philosophy of 

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 

It has been said that the Stoic philosophy first 
showed its real value when it passed from Greece to 
Rome. The doctrines of Zeno and his successors were 
well suited to the gravity and practical good sense of 
the Romans ; and even in the Republican period we 
have an example of a man, M. Cato Uticensis, who 
lived the life of a Stoic and died consistentlv with the 
opinions which he professed. He was a man, says 
Cicero, who embraced the Stoic philosophy from con- 
viction ; not for the purpose of vain discussion, as most 
did, but in order to make his life conformable to the 
Stoic precepts. In the wretched times from the death 
of Augustus to the murder of Domitian, there was 
nothing but the Stoic philosophy which could console 
and support the followers of the old religion under 
imperial tyranny and amid universal corruption. 
There were even then noble minds that could dare and 
endure, sustained by a good conscience and an elevated 
idea of the purposes of man's existence. Such were 
Paetus Thrasea, Helvidius Priscus, Cornutus, C. Muso- 
nius Rufus,* and the poets Persius and Juvenal, whose 

* I Lave omitted Seneca, Nero's preceptor. He was in a sense a 
Stoic, and he has said many good things in a very fine way. There is 


energetic language and manly thoughts may be as 
instructive to us now as they might have been to their 
contemporaries. Persius died under Nero's bloody 
reign, but Juvenal had the good fortune to survive the 
tyrant Domitian and to see the better times of Nerva, 
Trajan and Hadrian.* His best precepts are derived 
from the Stoic school, and they are enforced in his 
finest verses by the unrivaled vigor of the Latin 

The two best expounders of the later Stoical philos- 
ophy were a Greek slave and a Roman emperor. 
Epictetus, a Phrygian Greek, was brought to Rome, we 
know not how, but he was there the slave and after- 
ward the freedman of an unworthy master, Epaphro- 
ditus by name, himself a freedman and a favorite of 
Nero. Epictetus may have been a hearer of 0. Muso- 
nius Rufus, while he was still a slave, but he could 
hardly have been a teacher before he was made free. 
He was one of the philosophers whom Domitian's 
order banished from Rome. He retired to Nicopolis 
in Epirus, and he may have died there. Like other 
great teachers he wrote nothing, and we are indebted 
to his grateful pupil Arrian for what we have of 
Epictetus' discourses. Arrian wrote eight books of 
the discourses of Epictetus, of which only four remain 

a judgment of Gellius (xii. 2) on Seneca, or rather a statement of what 
some people thought of his philosophy, and it is not favorable. His 
writings and his life must be taken together, and I have nothing 
more to say of him here. The reader will find a notice of Seneca and 
his philosophy in " Seekers after God," by the Rev. F. W. Farrar. 

* Ribbeck has labored to prove that those Satires, which contain 
philosophical precepts, are not the work of the real, but of a false 
Juvenal, a Declamator. Still the verses exist, and were written by 
somebody who was acquainted with the Stoic doctrines. 


and some fragments. We have also from Arrian's 
hand the small Encheiridion or Manual of the chief 
precepts of Epictetus. There is a a valuable commen- 
tary on the Encheiridion by Simplicius, who lived in 
the time of the Emperor Justinian.* 

Antoninus in his iirst book (i. 7), in which he grate- 
fully commemorates his obligations to his teachers, 
says that he was made acquainted by Junius Eusticus 
with the discourses of Epictetus, whom he mentions 
also in other passages (iv. 41 ; xi. 34, 36). Indeed, the 
doctrines of Epictetus and Antoninus are the same, 
and Epictetus is the best authority for the explanation 
of the philosophical language of Antoninus and the 
exposition of his opinions. But the method of the 
two philosophers is entirely different. Epictetus 
addressed himself to his hearers in a continuous dis- 
course and in a familiar and simple manner. Anton- 
inus wrote down his reflections for his own use only, 
in short, unconnected paragraphs, which are often 

The Stoics made three divisions of philosophy, 
Physic, Ethic and Logic (viii. 13). This division, we are 
told by Diogenes, was made by Zeno of Citium, the 
founder of the Stoic sect, and by Chrysippus ; but 
these philosophers placed the three divisions in the 
following order, Logic, Physic, Ethic. It appears, 
however, that this division was made before Zeno's 
time and acknowledged by Plato, as Cicero remarks 
(Acad. Post. i. 5). Logic is not synonymous with our 
term Logic in the narrower sense of that word. 

* There is a complete edition of Arrian's Epictetus, with the com- 
mentary of Simplicius by J. Schweighaeuser, 6 vols. 8vo. 1799, 1800. 
There is also an English translation of Epictetus by Prof. Long, pub- 
lished in this series; Burt's Library of the World's Best Books. 


Clean thes, a Stoic, subdivided the three divisions, 
and made six: Dialectic and Rhetoric, comprised in 
Logic ; Ethic and Politic ; Physic and Theology. 
This division was merely for practical use, for all 
Philosophy is one. Even among the earliest Stoics, 
Logic or Dialectic does not occupy the same place as 
in Plato : it is considered only as an instrument which 
is to be used for the other divisions of Philosophy. 
An exposition of the earlier Stoic doctrines and of 
their modifications would require a volume. My object 
is to explain only the opinions of Antoninus, so far as 
they can be collected from his book. 

According to the subdivision of Cleanthes, Phvsic 
and Theology go together, or the study of the nature 
of Things and the study of the nature of the Deity, so 
far as man can understand the Deity, and of his govern- 
ment of the universe. This division or subdivision is 
not formally adopted by Antoninus, for, as already 
observed, there is no method in his book, but it is 
virtually contained in it. 

Cleanthes also connects Ethic and Politic, or the 
study of the principles of morals and the study of the 
constitution of civil society ; and undoubtedly he did 
well in subdividing Ethic into two parts, Ethic in the 
narrower sense and Politic, for though the two are in- 
timately connected they are also very distinct, and 
many questions can only be properly discussed by 
carefully observing the distinction. Antoninus does 
not treat of Politic. His subject is Ethic, and Ethic 
in its practical application to his own conduct in life 
as a man and as a governor. His Ethic is founded on 
his doctrines about man's nature, the Universal Nature, 
and the relation of every man to everything else. It 


is thererore intimately and inseparably connected with 
Physic or the nature of Things, and with Theology or 
the nature of the Deity. He advises us to examine 
well all the impressions on our minds (<pavradiai) and 
to form a right judgment of them, to make just con- 
clusions, and to inquire into the meanings of words, 
and so far to apply Dialectic, but he has no attempt at 
any exposition of Dialectic, and his philosophy is in 
substance purely moral and practical. He says (viii. 
13), " Constantly and, if it be possible, on the occasion 
of every impression on the soul,* apply to it the prin- 
ciples of Physic, of Ethic and of Dialectic:" which is 
only another way of telling us to examine the impres- 
sion in every possible way. In another passage (iii. 11) 
he says, " To the aids which have been mentioned let 
this one still be added : make for thyself a definition 
or description of the object (rd <pavradr6v) which is pre- 
sented to thee, so as to see distinctly what kind of a 
thing it is in its substance, in its nudity, in its com- 
plete entirety, and tell thyself its proper name, and the 
names of the things of which it has been compounded 
and into which it will be resolved." Such an examina- 
tion implies a use of Dialectic, which Antoninus accord- 
ingly employed as a means toward establishing his 
Physical, Theological and Ethical principles. 

There are several expositions of the Physical, Theo- 
logical and Ethical principles, which are contained in 

* The original is titi itddriZ q>av radices. We have no word which 
expresses cpavradia, for it is not only the sensuous appearance which 
comes from an external object, which object is called to <pavradr6y, 
but it is also the thought or feeling or opinion which is produced 
even when there is no corresponding external object before us. Ac- 
cordingly everything which moves the soul is cpavradrov and pro- 
duces a (pvaradia. 


the work of Antoninus ; and more expositions than 1 
have read. Kitter (Geschichte der Philosophie, rv. 
241), after explaining the doctrines of Epictetus, treats 
very briefly and insufficiently those of Antoninus. But 
he refers to a short essay, in which the work is done 
better.* There is also an essay on the Philosophical 
Principles of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus by J. M. 
Schultz, placed at the end of his German translation 
of Antoninus (Schleswig, 1799). "With the assistance 
of these two useful essays and his own diligent study a 
man may form a sufficient notion of the principles of 
Antoninus, but he will find it more difficult to expound 
them to others. Besides the want of arrangement in 
the original and of connection among the numerous 
paragraphs, the corruption of the text, the obscurity of 
the language and the style, and sometimes perhaps the 
confusion in the writer's own ideas besides all this 
there is occasionally an apparent contradiction in the 
emperor's thoughts, as if his principles were sometimes 
unsettled, as if doubt sometimes clouded his mind. A 
man who leads a life of tranquillity and reflection, 
who is not disturbed at home and meddles not with 
the affairs of the world, may keep his mind at ease and 
his thoughts in one even course. But such a man has 
not been tried. All his Ethical philosophy and his 
passive virtue might turn out to be idle words if he 
were once exposed to the rude realities of human exist- 
ence. Fine thoughts andjnoral dissertations from men 
who have not workedl and suffered mav be read, but 
they will be forgotten. No religion, no Ethical philoso- 
phy is worth anything if the teacher has not lived the 

* De Marco Aurelio Antonino, ex ipsius Commentariis. Scriptic 
PMlologica. Instituit Nicolaus Bachius, Lipsiae, 1826. 


"life of an apostle" and been ready to die "the death 
ot a martyr." " Not in passivity (the passive affects), 
but in activity, lie the evil and the good of the rational 
social animal, just as his virtue and his vice lie not in 
passivity, but in activity" (ix. 16). The emperor An- 
toninus was a practical moralist. From his youth he 
followed a laborious discipline, and though his high 
station placed him above all want or the fear of it, he 
lived as frugally and temperately as the poorest philoso- 
pher. Epictetus wanted little, and it seems that he 
always had the little that he wanted, and he was con- 
tent with it, as he had been with his servile station. 
But Antoninus, after his accession to the empire, sat on 
an uneasy seat. He had the administration of an em- 
pire which extended from the Euphrates to the Atlan- 
tic, from the cold mountains of Scotland to the hot 
sands of Africa; and we may imagine, though we can- 
not know it by experience, what must be the trials, the 
troubles, the anxiety and the sorrows of him who has 
the world's business on his hands with the wish to do 
the best that he can and the certain knowledge that 
he can do very little of the good which he wishes. 

In the midst of war, pestilence, conspiracy, general 
corruption, and with the weight of so unwieldy an em- 
pire upon him, we may easily comprehend that An- 
toninus often had need of all his fortitude to support 
him. The best and the bravest men have moments of 
doubt and of weakness, but if they are the best and the 
bravest they rise again from their depression by recur- 
ring to first principles, as Antoninus does. The em- 
peror says that life is smoke, a vapor, and St. James, in 
his Epistle, is of the same mind ; that the world is full 
of envious, jealous, malignant people, and a man might, 


be well content to get out of it. He has doubts per- 
haps sometimes even about that to which he holds 
most firmly. There are only a few passages of this 
kind, but they are evidence of the struggles which 
even the noblest of the sons of men had to maintain 
ugainst the hard realities of his daily life. A poor 
remark it is, which I have seen somewhere, and made 
in a disparaging way, that the emperor's reflections 
show that he had need of consolation and comfort 
in life, and even to prepare him to meet his death. 
True that he did need comfort and support, and 
we see how he found it. pfe" constantly recurs to 
his fundamental principle thaf~tfae universe is wisely 
ordered, that every man is a part of it and must 
conform to that order which he cannot change, that 
whatever the Deity has done is good, and that all 
mankind are a man's brethren, that he must love and 
cherish them and try to make them better, even those 
who would do him harm. This is his conclusion (ii. 
17) : "What, then, is that which is able to conduct a 
man? One thing, and only one Philosophy. IfBut 
this consists in keeping the divinity within a man free 
from violence and unharmed, superior to pains and 
pleasures, doing nothing without a purpose, nor yet 
falsely and with hypocrisy, not feeling the need of an- 
other man's doing or not doing anything ; and besides, 
accepting all that happens and all that is alloted, 
as coming from thence, wherever it is, from whence 
he himself came ; and finally Avaiting for death with a 
cheerful mind as being nothing else than a dissolution 
of the elements, of which every living being is com- 
pounded. But if there is no harm to the elements 
themselves in each continually changing into another, 


why should a man have any apprehension about the 
change and dissolution of all the elements [himself] ? 
for it is according to nature ; and nothing is evil that 
is according to nature." 

The Physic of Antoninus is the knowledge of the 
Nature of the Universe, of its government, and of the 
relation of man's nature to both. He names the uni 
verse "the universal substance," and he adds that 
" reason " governs the universe. He also (vi. 9) uses 
the terms " universal natura" or " nature of the 
universe." He (vi. 25) calls the universe " the one and 
all, which w r e name Cosmos or Order." If he ever 
seems to use these general terms as significant of the 
All, of all that man can in any way conceive to exist, 
he still on other occasions plainly distinguishes between 
Matter, Material things and Cause, Origin, Reason.* 

* I remark, in order to anticipate any misapprehension, that all 
these general terms involve a contradiction. The "one and all," and 
the like, and "the whole" imply limitation. "One" is limited; 
"all" is limited; the " whole" is limited. We cannot help it. We 
cannot find words to express that which we cannot fully conceive. 
The addition of "absolute," or any other such word, does not mend 
the matter. Even the word God is used by most people, often uncon- 
sciously, in such a way that limitation is implied, and yet at the same 
time words are added which are intended to deny limitation. A 
Christian martyr, when he was asked what God was, is said to have 
answered that God has no name like a man; and Justin says the same 
(Apol. ii. 6), "the names Father, God, Creator, Lord and Master are 
not names, but appellations derived from benefactions and acts." 
(Compare Seneca, De Benef. iv. 8.) We can conceive the existence of 
a thing, or rather we may have the idea of an existence, without an 
adequate notion of it, "adequate " meaning coextensive and coequal 
with the thing. We have a notion of limited space derived from the 
dimensions of what we call a material thing, though of space absolute, 
if I may use the term, we have no notion at all; and of infinite space 
the notion is the same, no notion at all; and yet we conceive it in a 
sense, though I know not how, and we believe that space is infinite, 
and we cannot conceive it to be finite. 


This is conformable to Zeno's doctrine that there are 
two original principles of all things, that which acts 
and that which is acted upon. That which is acted on 
is the formless matter, that which acts is the reason, 
God, who is eternal and operates through all matter, 
and produces all things. So Antoninus (v. 32) speaks of 
the reason which pervades all substance and through 
all time by fixed periods (revolutions), administers the 
universe. God is eternal, and Matter is eternal. It is 
God who gives form to matter, but he is not said to 
have created matter. According to this view, which 
is as old as Anaxagoras, God and matter exist inde- 
pendently, but God governs matter. This doctrine is 
simply the expression of the fact of the existence both 
of matter and of God. The Stoics did not perplex 
themselves with the insoluble question of the origin 
and nature of matter.* Antoninus also assumes a 

* The notions of matter and of space are inseparable. We derive 
the notion of space from matter and form. But we have no adequate 
conception either of matter or of space. Matter in its ultimate reso- 
lution is as unintelligible as what men call mind, spirit, or by what- 
ever other name they may express the power which makes itself 
known by acts. Anaxagoras laid down the distinction between in- 
telligence (vov5) and matter, and he said that intelligence impressed 
motion on matter, and so separated the elements of matter and gave 
them order; but he probably only assumed a beginning, as Simplicius 
says, as a foundation of his philosophical teaching. Empedocles 
said " The universe always existed." He had no idea of what is 
called creation, Ocellus Lucanus (1, 2) maintained that the Universe 
was imperishable and uncreated. Consequently it is eternal. He 
admitted the existence of God; but his Theology would require some 
discussion. On the contrary, the Brachmans, according to Strabo (p. 
713, ed. Cas.), taught that the universe was created and perishable; 
and the creator and administrator of it pervades the whole. The 
author of the book of Solomon's Wisdom says (xi. 17): " Thy Almighty 
hand made the world of matter without form," which may mean 
that matter existed already. The common Greek word which we 
translate " matter " is vXrj. It is the stuff that things are made of. 


beginning of things, as we now know them ; but his 
language is sometimes very obscure. I have endeav- 
ored to explain the meaning of one difficult passage 
(vii. 75, and the note). 

Matter consists of elemental parts of which all 
material objects are made. But nothing is permanent 
in form. The nature of the universe, according to 
Antoninus' expression (iv. 36), " loves nothing so much 
as to change the things which are, and to make new 
things like them. For everything that exists is in a 
manner the seed of that which will be. But thou art 
thinking only of seeds which are cast into the earth or 
into a womb ; but this is a very vulgar notion." All 
things then are in a constant flux and change ; some 
thing's are dissolved into the elements, others come in 
their places ; and so the " whole universe continues 
ever young and perfect." (xii. 23.) 

Antoninus has some obscure expressions about what 
he calls " seminal principles." He opposes them to the 
Epicurean atoms (vi. 24), and consequently his " seminal 
principles" are not material atoms which wander 
about at hazard, and combine nobody knows how. In 
one passage (iv. 21) he speaks of living principles, souls 
after the dissolution of their bodies being received into 
the "seminal principle of the universe." Schultz 
thinks that by " seminal principles Antoninus means 
the relations of the various elemental principles, which 
relations are determined by the deity and by which 
alone the production of organized beings is possible." 
This may be the meaning, but if it is, nothing of any 
value can be derived from it.* Antoninus often uses 

* The early Christian writers were familiar with the Stoic terms, 
and their writings show that the contest was begun between tho 
Christian expositors and the Greek philosophy. 


the word "Nature" and we must attempt to fix its 
meaning. The simple etymological sense of the Greek 
word is "production," the birth of what we call 
Things. The Romans used Natura, which also means 
"birth" originally. But neither the Greeks nor the 
Romans stuck to this simple meaning, nor do we. 
Antoninus says (x. 6) : " Whether the universe is [a 
concourse of] atoms or Nature [is a system], let this 
first be established that I am a part of the whole which 
is governed by nature." Here it might seem as if 
nature Avere personified and viewed as an active, 
efficient power, as something which, if not independent 
of the Deity, acts by a power which is given to it by 
the Deity. Such, if I understand the expression right, 
is the way in which the word Nature is often used 
now, though it is plain that many writers use the 
word without fixing any exact meaning to it. It is 
the same with the expression Laws of Nature, which 
some writers may use in an intelligible sense, but 
others as clearly use in no definite sense at all. There 
is no meaning in this word Nature, except that which 
Bishop Butler assigns to it, when he says, "The only 
distinct meaning of that word Natural is Stated, Fixed 
or Settled ; since what is natural as much requires and 
presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, viz., to 
effect it continually or at stated times, as what is super- 
natural or miraculous does to effect it at once." This 
is Plato's meaning (De Leg. iv. 715), when he says, 
that God holds the beginning and end and middle of 
all that exists, and proceeds straight on his course, 
making his circuit according to nature (that is, by a 
fixed order) ; and he is continually accompanied by 
justice who punishes those who deviate from the divine 


law, that is, from the order or course which God 

When we look at the motions of the planets, the 
action of what we call gravitation, the elemental com- 
bination of unorganized bodies and their resolution, the 
production of plants and of living bodies, their genera- 
tion, growth, and their dissolution, which we call their 
death, we observe a regular sequence of phenomena, 
which within the limits of experience, present and past, 
so far as we know the past, is fixed and invariable. 
But if this is not so, if the order and sequence of 
phenomena, as known to us, are subject to change in 
the course of an infinite progression and such change 
is conceivable we have not discovered, nor shall we 
ever discover, the whole of the order and sequence of 
phenomena, in which sequence there may be involved 
according to its very nature, that is, according to its 
fixed order, some variation of what we now call the 
Order or Nature of Things. It is also conceivable that 
such changes have taken place, changes in the order of 
things, as we are compelled by the imperfection of 
language to call them, but which are no changes ; and 
further, it is certain that our knowledge of the true 
sequence of all actual phenomena, as for instance, the 
phenomena of generation, growth, and dissolution is, 
and ever must be, imperfect. 

We do not fare much better when we speak of 
Causes and Effects than when we speak of Nature. 
For the practical purposes of life we may use the 
terms cause and effect conveniently, and we may fix a 
distinct meaning to them, distinct enough at least to 
prevent all misunderstanding. But the case is differ- 
ent when we speak of causes and effects as of Things. 


All that we know is phenomena, as the Greeks called 
them, or appearances which follow one another in a 
regular order, as we conceive it, so that if some one 
phenomenon should fail in the series, we conceive that 
there must either be an interruption of the series, or 
that something else will appear after the phenomenon 
which has failed to appear, and will occupy the vacant 
place; and so the series in its progression may be 
modified or totally changed. Cause and effect then 
mean nothing in the sequence of natural phenomena 
beyond what I have said ; and the real cause, or the 
transcendant cause, as some would call it, of each suc- 
cessive phenomena is in that which is the cause of all 
things which are, which have been, and which will be 
forever. Thus the word Creation may have a real 
sense if we consider it as the first, if we can conceive a 
first, in the present order of natural phenomena ; but 
in the vulgar sense a creation of all things at a certain 
time, followed by a quiescence of the first cause and 
an abandonment of all sequences of Phenomena to the 
laws of Nature, or to the other words that people may 
use, is absolutely absurd.* 

*Time and space are the conditions of our thought; but time 
infinite and space infinite cannot be objects of thought, except in a 
very imperfect way. Time and space must not in any way be thought 
of, when we think of the Deity. Swedenborg says, " The natural 
man may believe that he would have no thought, if the ideas of time, 
of space, and of things material were taken aw."-; for upon those is 
founded all the thought that man has. But let him know that the 
thoughts are limited and confined in proportion as they do not partake 
of time, of space, and of what is material; and that they are not 
limited and are extended, in proportion as they do not partake of those 
things; since the mind is so far elevated above the things corporeal 
and worldly." (Concerning Heaven and Hell, 169.) 


Now, though there is great difficulty in understand- 
ing all the passages of Antoninus, in which he speaks 
of Nature, of the changes of things and of the economy 
of the universe, I am c onvinced that his sense of 
Nature and Natural is thesaTme as-tfralr which 1 have 
iHiaTMl^Sd--^ use 

words in_a_clear jvay and w ilh^trict_c onsistelicy7 ~w r e 
^u^lTo^^^^^^^ii^-iaeanin^ in some passages 
Js_doubtful, that his view_o Nature wa s in h armony 
with his fixed belief in the all-pervading, ever present, 
and ever active energy of God (ii. 4; iv. 40 ; x. 1 ; vi. 
40 : lancTbth eT~passagesT Compare Seneca, De~BenefT~ 
iv. 7. Swedenborg, Angelic Wisdom, 349-357). 

There is much in Antoninus that is hard to under- 
stand, and it might be said that he did not fully com- 
prehend all that he wrote ; which would, however, be 
in no way remarkable, for it happens now that a man 
may write what neither he nor anybody can under- 
stand. Antoninus tells us (xii. 10) to look at things 
and see what they are, resolving them into the 
material, the casual, and the relation, or the purpose, by 
which he seems to mean something in the nature of 
what we call effect, or end. The word Cause is 
the difficulty. There is the same word in the Sanscrit ; 
and the subtle philosophers of India and Greece, 
and the less subtle philosophers of modern times 
have all used this word, or an equivalent word, in 
a vague way. Yet the confusion sometimes may be 
in the inevitable ambiguity of language rather than in 
the mind of the writer, for I cannot think that some of 
the wisest of men did not know what they intended to 
say. When Antoninus says (iv. 36), "that everything 
that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be," 


he might be supposed to say what some of the Indian 
philosophers have said, and thus a profound truth might 
be converted into a gross absurdity. But he says, " in 
a manner," and in a manner he said true ; and in another 
manner, if you mistake his meaning, he said false. 
When Plato said, " Nothing ever is, but is always be- 
coming," he delivered a text, out of which we may 
derive something ; for he destroys by it not all prac 
tical, but all speculative notions of cause and elfect. 
The whole series of things, as they appear to us, must 
be contemplated in time, that is in succession, and we 
conceive or suppose intervals between one state of 
things and another state of things, so that there is 
priority and sequence, and interval, and Being, and a 
ceasing to Be, and beginning and ending. But there 
is nothing of the kind in the Nature of Things. It is 
an everlasting continuity (iv. 45; vii. 75). When 
Antoniuus speaks of generation (x. 26), he speaks of 
one cause acting, and then another cause taking up the 
work, which the former left in a certain state and so 
on ; and we might perhaps conceive that he had some 
notion like what has been called "the self-evolving 
power of nature ;" a fine phrase indeed, the full import 
of which I believe that the writer of it did not see, and 
thus he laid himself open to the imputation of being a 
follower of one of the Hindoo sects, which makes all 
things come by evolution out of nature or matter, or 
out of something which takes the place of deity, but is 
not deity. I would have all men think as they please, 
or as they can, and I only claim the same freedom which 
I give. When a man writes anything, we may fairly 
try to find out all that his words must mean, even if 
the result is that they mean what he did not mean ; 


and if we find this contradiction, it is not our fault, but 
his misfortune. Now Antoninus is perhaps somewhat 
in this condition in what he says (x. 20), though he 
speaks at the end of the paragraph of the power which 
acts, unseen by the eyes, but still no less clearly. But 
whether in this passage (x. 20) he means that the power 
is conceived to be in the different successive causes, or 
in something else, nobody can tell. From other pas- 
sages, however, I do collect that his notion of the phe- 
nomena of the universe is what I have stated. The 
deity works unseen, if we may use such language, and 
perhaps I may, as Job did, or he who wrote the book 
of Job. "In him we live and move and are," said St. 
Paul to the Athenians, and to show his hearers that 
this was no new doctrine, he quoted the Greek poets. 
One of these poets was the Stoic Cleanthes, whose 
noble hymn to Zeus or God is an elevated expression of 
devotion and philosophy. It deprives Nature of her 
power and puts her under the immediate governmeit of 
the deity. 

" Thee all this heaven, which whirls around the earth, 
Obeys and willing follows where thou leadest > 
Without thee, God, nothing is done on earth, 
Nor in the ethereal realms, nor in the sea, 
Save what the wicked through their folly do." 

^Antoninus' conviction of the existence of a divine 
power^nd_goy ernment was _fouinj3ed_o n his p erjeefftknT 
^oijtheo rder of the univers e. Li^e^Spcrates. (Xen. Mem. 
iv. 3, 13, etc.), he_jaj^jyiat_thpugh we cannot see the 
fprpiS-Qf divine jp pwer s^ we k no\vtliat_ they exist, be- 
cause we see their works. 
~~**To"tkose who ask, Where hast thou seen the gods, 


or how dost thou comprehend that they exist and so 
worshipest them? I answer, in the first place, that 
they may be seen even with the eyes; in the second 
place, neither have I seen my own soul and yet I honor 
it. Thus, then, with respect to the gods, from what I 
constantly experience of their power, from this I com- 
prehend that they exist and I venerate them" (xii. 28, 
and the note. Comp. Aristotle de Mundo, c. 6 ; Xen. 
Mem. i. 4, 9; Cicero, Tuscul. i. 28, 29; St. Paul's 
Epistle to the liomans, i. 19, 20 ; and Montaigne's 
Apology for Raimond de Sebonde, ii. c. 12). This is a 
very old argument which has always had great weight 
with most people and has appeared sufficient. It does 
not acquire the least additional strength by being 
developed in a learned treatise. It is as intelligible in 
its simple enunciation as it can be made. If it is 
rejected, there is no arguing with him who rejects it: 
and if it is worked out into innumerable particulars, 
the value of the evidence runs the risk of being buried 
under a mass of words. 

Man being conscious that he is a spiritual power, or 
an intellectual power, or that he has such a power, in 
whatever way he conceives that he has it for I wish 
simply to state a fact from this power which he has 
in himself, he is led, as Antoninus says, to believe that 
there is a greater power, which as the old Stoics tell 
us, pervades the whole universe as the intellect* per- 
vades man. (Compare Epictetus' Discourses, i. 14 ; 
and Voltaire a Mad e . Necker, vol. lxvii. p. 278, ed. 

*I have always translated the word vovS, "intelligence" or 
"intellect." It appears to be the word used by tbe oldest Greek 
philosophers to express the notion of " intelligence " as opposed to 


Gpd exists then^Jbtut what do we know of his Nature ? 
Antoninus says__thiLt_the_soul-of man is an efflux from. 
the divinity. We have bodies like animals, but we have 
reason, intelligence as the gods. Animals have life and 
what we call instincts or natural principles of action, 
but the rational animal man alone has a rational, intel- 
ligent soul. Antoninus insists on this continually: zqcL. 
is in m an,*^ ndio~u r e must constantly attend to the 

the notion of "matter." I have always translated the word Xoyoi 
by "reason," and Xoyin6% by the word " rational," or perhaps some- 
times " reasonable," as I have translated voepoS by the word " intel- 
lectual." Every man who has thought and who has read any philo- 
sophical writings knows the difficulty of finding words to express 
certain notions, how imperfectly words express these notions, and how 
carelessly the words are often used. The various senses of the word 
XoyoS are enough to perplex any man. Our translators of the New 
Testament (St. John, c. i.) have simply translated 6 XoyoS by "the 
word," as the Germans translated it by "das Wort;" but in their 
theological writings they sometimes retain the original term Logos. 
The Germans have a term Vernunft, which seems to come nearest to 
our word Reason, or the necessary and absolute truths, which we 
cannot conceive as being other than what they are. Such are what 
some people have called the laws-of thought, the conceptions of space 
and of time, and axioms or first principles, which need no proof and 
cannot be proved or denied. Accordingly the Germans can say, 
"Got ist die hochste Vernunft," the Supreme Reason. The Germans 
have also a word Verstand, which seems to represent our word 
"understanding," "intelligence," " intellect," not as a thing absolute 
which exists by itself, but as a thing connected with an individual 
being, as a man. Accordingly it is the capacity of receiving impres- 
sions (Vorstellungen, q>avva6iai). and forming from them distinct 
ideas (Begriffe), and perceiying differences. I do not think that these 
remarks will help the reader to the understanding of Antoninus, or 
his use of the words vuvS&nd. XoyoZ. The Emperor's meaning must 
be got from his own words, and if it does not agree altogether with 
modern notions, it is not our business to force it into agreement, but 
simply to find out what his meaning is, if we can. 

* Comp. Ep. to the Corinthians, i. 3, 17 and James iv. 8, " Draw 
nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you." 


divinity within us, for it is only in this way that we can 
have any knowledge of the nature of God. The human 
soul is in a sense a portion of the divinity, and the soul 
alone has any communication with the Deity, for as he 
says (xii. 2): "With his intellectual part alone God 
touches the intelligence only which has flowed and 
been derived from himself into these bodies." In fact, 
he says that which is hidden within a man is life that 
is the man himself. All the rest is vesture, covering, 
organs, instrument, which the living man, the real* 
man, uses for the purpose of his present existence. 
The air is universally diffused for him who is able to 
respire, and so for him who is willing to partake of it 

* This is also Swedenborg's doctrine of the soul. "As to what 
concerns the soul, of which it is said that it shall live after death, it 
is nothing else but the man himself, who lives in the body, that is, 
the interior man, who by the body acts in the world and from whom 
the body itself lives" (quoted by Clissold, p. 456 of "The Practical 
Nature of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, in a 
Letter to the Archbishop of Dublin (Whately)," second edition, 1859; 
a book which theologians might read with profit). This is an old 
doctrine of the soul, which has been often proclaimed, but never 
better expressed than by the " Auctor de Mundo," c. 6, quoted by 
Gataker in his "Antoninus," p. 486. "The soul by which we live 
and have cities and houses is invisible, but it is seen by its works; for 
the whole method of life has been devised by it and ordered, and by 
it is held together. In like manner we must think also about the 
deity, who in power is most mighty, in beauty most comely, in life 
immortal, and in virtue supreme: wherefore though he is invisible to 
human nature, he is seen by his very works." Other passages to the 
same purpose are quoted by Qataker (p. 382). Bishop Butler has the 
same as to the soul: " Upon the whole then our organs of sense and 
our limbs are certainly instruments, which the living persons, our- 
selves, make use of to perceive and move with." If this is not 
plain enough, he also says: "It follows that our organized bodies 
are no more ourselves, or part of ourselves, than any other matter 
around us." (Compare Anton, x. 88.) 


the intelligent power, which holds within it all things, 
is diffused as wide and free as the air (viii. 54). It is 
by living a divine life that man approaches to a knowl- 
edge of the divinity.* It is by following the divinity 
within, as Antoninus calls it, that man comes nearest 
to the Deity, the supreme good, for man can never 
attain to perfect agreement with his internal guide. 
" Live with the gods. And he does live with the gods 
who constantly shows to them that his own soul is 
satisfied with that which is assigned to him, and that 
it does all the demon wishes, which Zeus hath given to 
every man for his guardian and guide, a portion of 
himself. And this demon is every man's understanding 
and reason" (v. 27). 

There is in man, that is in the reason, the intelli- 
gence, a superior faculty which if it is exercised rules 
all the rest. This is the ruling faculty which Cicero 
(De Natura Deoruin, ii. 11) renders by the Latin word 
Principatus, " to which nothing can or ought to be 
superior." Antoninus often uses this term, and others 
which are equivalent. He names it (vii. 64) " the 
governing intelligence." The governing faculty is the 
master of the soul (v. 26). A man must reverence 

*The reader may consult Discourse V. 'Of the existence and 
nature of God, " in John Smith's ' ' Select Discourses. " He has prefixed 
as a text to this Discourse, the striking passage of Agapetus, Paraenes, 
3: " He who knows himself will know God; and he who knows 
God will be made like to God; and he will be made like to God, who 
has become worthy of God; and he becomes worthy of God, who does 
nothing unworthy of God, but thinks the things that are his, and 
speaks what he thinks, and does what he speaks." I suppose that 
the old saying, "Know thyself," which is attributed to Socrates and 
others, had a larger meaning than the narrow sense which is gener- 
ally given to it. (Agapetus, ed. Stephan. Schoning, Frineker, 1608. 
This volume contains also the Paraeneses of Nilus.) 


only his ruling faculty and the divinity within him. 
As we must reverence that which is supreme in the 
universe, so we must reverence that which is supreme 
in ourselves, and this is that which is of like kind with 
that which is supreme in the universe (v. 21). So, as 
Plotinus says, the soul of man can only know the 
divine, so far as it knows itself. In one passage (xi. 19) 
Antoninus speaks of a man's condemnationof himself, 
when the divmer part within him has been over- 
jp owercd anclj daLuir3Sj;ba:Jte^^ to the 

peris hable part, the bod y, and its gross pleasures. IrT" 
a word, the views of Antoninuson~this matter, how- 
ever his expressions may vary, are exactly what Bishop 
Butler expresses, when he speaks of " the natural 
supremacy of reflection or conscience," of the faculty 
" which surveys, approves or disapproves the several 
affections of our mind and actions of our lives." 

Much matter might be collected from Antoninus on 
the notion of the Universe being one animated Being. 
But all that he says amounts to no more, as Schultz re- 
marks, than this : the_soul_of man_ is most i nlimately 
unitedtojbis body, and together _they make o n e anim al, 
which .j&e-GalUman ;_so_JheJDeit y is most inti mately 
united to the world or the material imjverse^_and 
together they foTro~6ne~wl!ola But Antoninus did not 
view God and the materiaTTmiverse as the same, any 
more than he viewed the body and soul of man as one. 
Antoninus has no speculations on the absolute nature 
of the deity. It^va^ujn : otj3Js_fashion to waste his time 
on what^man-ca nnot und erstand^-" He~ was ^atisfied " 
tha t God exists. t hat _he. governs all thi ngs, that man 

* " God is infinitely beyond the reach of our narrow capacities." 
Locke : Essay concerning the Human Understanding, ii. chap. 17. 


can only have an imperfect knowledge of his nature, 
a nd he mus t attain tTTis~ lmperfec t knowledge by 
rey^r^niuiig-ihe-_divinrty which is~withi.n him7~aird- 
k eeping it pure. 

From all that has been said it follows that the uni- 
verse is administered by the Providence of God, and 
that all things are wisely ordered. (There are passages 
in which Antoninus expresses doubts, or states different 
possible theories of the constitution and government of 
the Universe, but he always recurs to his fundamental 
principle, that if we admit the existence of a deity, we 
must also admit that he orders all things wisely and 
wellfiv. 27 ; vi. 1 ; ix. 28 ; xii. 5, and many other pas- 
sages). Epictetus says (1. 6) that we can discern the 
providence which rules the world, if we possess two 
things, the power of seeing all that happens with 
respect to each thing, and a grateful disposition. 
rT^iit if all things are wisely ordered, [how is the 
\vOTl3~lso _ l ? inn5i^^ physical and moraT?j 

If, instead of saying that there is evil in the world, we 
use the expression which I have used, " what we call 
evil," we have partly anticipated the emperor's answer. 
"We see and feel and know imperfectly very few things 
in the few years that we live, and all tne knowledge 
and all the experience of all the human race is positive 
ignorance of the whole, which is infinite. Now as our 
reason teaches us that everything is in some way 
related to and connected with every other thing, all 
notion of evil as being in the universe of things is a 
contradiction, tor if the whole comes from and is 
governed by an intelligent being, it is impossible to 
conceive anything in it which tends to the evil or 
destruction of the whole (viii. 55 ; x. 6). Everything 


is in constant mutation, and yet the whole subsists. 
We might imagine the solar system resolved into its 
elemental parts, and yet the whole would still subsist 
"ever young and perfect." 

All things, all forms, are dissolved and new forms 
appear. All living things undergo the change which 
we call death. If we call death an evil, then all 
change is an evil. Living beings also suffer pain, and 
man suffers most of all, for he suffers both in and by* 
his body and by his intelligent part. Men suffer also 
from one another, and perhaps the largest part of 
human suffering comes to man from those whom he 
calls his brothers. Antoninus says (viii. 55), "Gen- 
erally, wickedness does no harm at all to the universe ; 
and particularly, the wickedness [of one man] does 
no harm to another. It is only harmful to him who 
has it in his power to be released from it as soon as 
he shall choose." The first part of this is perfectly 
consistent with the doctrine that the whole can sus- 
tain no evil or harm. The second, part must be 
explained by the Stoic principle that there is no evil 
in anything which is not in our power. "What wrong 
Ave suffer from another is his evil, not ours. But this 
is an admission that there is evil in a sort, for he who 
does wrong does evil, and if others can endure the 
wrong, still there is evil in the wrong doer. jSnton- 
mus (xi. IS) gives many excellent precepts with 
respect to wrongs and injuries, and lnVpr ecepts . are 
practical. He teaches us to bear what we cannot 
avoid, and his lessons may be just as useful to him 
who denies the being and the government of God as 
to him who believes in both. There is no direct 
answer in Antoninus to the objections which may be 


made to the existence and providence of God because 
of the moral disorder and suffering which are in the 
world, except this answer which he makes in reply to 
the supposition that even the best men may be extin- 
guished by death. He says if it is so, we may be sure 
that if it ought to have been otherwise, the gods 
would have ordered it otherwise (xii. 5). His convic- 
tion of the wisdom which we may observe in the gov- 
ernment of the world is too strong to be disturbed by 
any apparent irregularities in the order of things. 
That these disorders exist is a fact, and those who 
would conclude from them against the being and gov- 
ernment of God conclude too hastily. We all admit 
that there is an order in the material world, a Nature, 
in the sense in which that word has been explained, a 
constitution, what we call a system, a relation of parts 
to one another and a fitness of the whole for some- 
thing. So in the constitution of plants and of animals 
there is an order, a fitness for some end. Sometimes 
the order, as we conceive it, is interrupted, and the 
end, as we conceive it, is not attained. The seed, the 
plant or the animal sometimes perishes before it has 
passed through all its changes and done all its uses. 
It is according to Nature, that is a fixed order, for 
some to perish early and for others to do all their uses 
and leave successors to take their place. So man 
has a corporeal and intellectual and moral consti- 
tution fit for certain uses, and, on the whole, man 
perforins these uses, dies and leaves other men 
in his place. So society exists, and a social state 
is manifestly the Natural State of man, the State 
for which his Nature fits him; and society amid 
innumerable irregularities and disorders still sub- 
sists; and perhaps we may say that the history of 


the past and our present knowledge give us a reason- 
able hope that its disorders will diminish, and that 
order, its governing principle, may be more firmly 
established. As order then, a fixed order, we may 
say, subject to deviations, real or apparent, must be 
admitted to exist in the whole Nature of things, that 
which we call disorder or evil as it seems to us, does 
not in any way alter the fact of the general constitu- 
tion of things having a Nature or fixed order. No- 
body will conclude from the existence of disorder that 
order is not the rule, for the existence of order both 
physical and moral is proved by daily experience and 
all past experience. We cannot conceive how the 
order of the universe is maintained ; we cannot even 
conceive how our own life from day to day is con- 
tinued, nor how we perform the simplest movements 
of the body, nor how we grow and think and act, 
though we know many of the conditions which are 
necessary for all these functions. Knowing nothing, 
then, of the unseen power which acts in ourselves 
except by what is done, we know nothing of the 
power which acts through what we call all time and 
all space ; but seeing that there is a nature or fixed 
order in all things known to us, it is conformable 
to the nature of our minds to believe that this uni- 
versal Nature has a cause which operates continually, 
and that we are totally unable to speculate on the 
reason of any of those disorders or evils which we 
perceive. This I believe is the answer which may be 
collected from all that Antoninus has said.* 

* Clean tlies says in his hymn: 

"For all things good and bad to One thou formest, 
So that One everlasting reason governs all." 

See Bishop Butler's Sermons, Sermon XV. ' ' Upon the Ignorance 
of Man." 


The origin of evil is an old question. Achilles tells 
Priam (Iliad, 24, 527) that Zeus has two casks, one 
filled with good things and the other with bad, and 
that he gives to men out of each according to his 
pleasure ; and so we must be content, for we cannot 
alter the will of Zeus. One of the Greek commenta- 
tors asks how must we reconcile this doctrine with 
what we find in the first book of the Odyssey, where 
the king of the gods says, Men say that evil comes to 
them from us, but they bring it on themselves through 
their own folly. The answer is plain enough, even to 
the Greek commentator. The poets make both Achilles 
and Zeus speak appropriately to their several charac- 
ters. Indeed, Zeus says plainly that men do attribute 
their sufferings to the gods, but they do it falsely, for 
they are the cause of their own sorrows. 

Epictetus, in hisEncheiridion(c. 27), makes short work 
of the question of evil. He says: "As a mark is not 
set up for the purpose of missing it, so neither does the 
nature of evil exist in the Universe." This will appear 
obscure enough to those who are not acquainted with 
Epictetus, but he always knows what he is talking 
about. We do not set up a mark in order to miss it, 
though we may miss it. God, whose existence Epic- 
tetus assumes, has not ordered all things so that his 
purpose shall fail. Whatever there may be of what 
we call evil, the Nature of evil, as he expresses it, does 
not exist that is, evil is not a part of the constitution 
or nature of Things. If there were a principle of evil 
in the constitution of things, evil would no longer be 
evil, as Simplicius argues, but evil would be good. 
Simplicius (c. 34, [27]) has a long and curious dis- 
course on this text of Epictetus, and it is amusing 
and instructive. 


One passage more will conclude this matter. Tv 
contains all that the emperor could say (ii. 11) : " Tg 
go from among men, if there are gods, is not a thin<r 
to be afraid of, for the gods will not involve thee in 
evil; but if indeed they do not exist, or if they have no 
concern about human affairs, what is it to me to live in 
a universe devoid of gods or devoid of providence? 
But in truth they do exist, and they do care for human 
things, and they have put all the means in man's power 
to enable him not to fall into real evils. And as to the 
rest, if there was anything evil they would have pro- 
vided for this also, that it should be altogether in a 
man's power not to fall into it. But that which does 
not make a man worse, how can it make a man's life 
worse ? But neither through ignorance, nor having 
the knowledge, but not the power to guard against or 
correct these things, is it possible that the nature of 
the Universe has overlooked them ; nor is it possible 
that it has made so great a mistake, either through 
want of power or want of skill, that good and evil 
should happen indiscriminately to the good and the 
bad. But death certainly and life, honor and dishonor, 
pain and pleasure all these things equally happen to 
good and bad men, being things which make us neither 
better nor worse. Therefore they are neither good nor 

The Ethical part of Antoninus' Philosophy follows 
from his general principles. The end ofalh his philosophy 
is to live comformably _to ^at meT^Both/a Tman's ^ own 
imtufeTa/n^^ i sh op Butler 

has explained what the Greek philosophers meant when 
they spoke of living according to Nature, and he sa} r ? 
that when it is explained, as he has explained it and a* 


they understood it, it is "a manner of speaking not 
loose and undeterminate, but clear and distinct, strictly 
just and true." To live according to Nature is to live 
according to a man's whole nature, not according to a 
part of it, and to reverence the divinity within him as 
the governor of all his actions. "To the rational 
animal the same act is according to nature and accord- 
ing to reason"* (vii. 11). That which is done contrary 
to reason is also an act contrary to nature, to the whole 
nature, though it is certainly comformable to some part 
of man's nature, or it could not be done. Man is made 
for action, not for idleness or pleasure. As plants and 
animals do the uses of their nature, so man must do his 
(v. 1). 

Man must also live comformably to the universal 
nature, comformably to the nature of all things of which 
he is one; and as a citizen of a political community he 
must direct his life and actions with reference to those 
among whom, and for whom, among other purposes, 
he lives, f A man must not retire into solitude and 
cut himself off from his fellow men. He must be 
ever active to do his part in the great whole. All 
men are his kin, not only in blood but still more by 
participating in the same intelligence and by being a 
portion of the same divinity. A man cannot really be 
injured by his brethren, for no act of theirs can make 
him bad, and he must not be angry with them nor 
hate them: "For we are made for co-operation, like 
feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper 
and lower teeth. To act against one another t hen is 

* This is what Juvenal means when he says (xiv. 321)-^ 
Nunquam aliud Natura aliud Sapientia dicit. 

J- See viii. 52: and Persius iii. 66. 


contrary to nature ; and it is acting against one another 
to be vexed and to turn away " (ii. 1). 
fTurther he says : " Take pleasure in one thing and 
rest in it, in passing from one social act to another 
social act, thinking of God " (vi. 7). Again : " Love 
mankind. Follow God " (vii. 31). It is the charac- 
teristic of the rational soul for a man to love his neigh- 
bor (xi. 1). Antoninus teaches in various passages 
the forgiveness of injuries, and we know that he also 
practiced what he taughtTj Bishop Butler remarks 
that " this divine precept to forgive injuries and to 
love our enemies, though to be met with in Gentile 
moralists, yet is in a peculiar sense a precept of 
Christianity, as our Saviour has insisted more upon it 
than on any other single virtue." The practice of this 
precept is the most difficult of all virtues. Antoninus 
often enforces it and gives us aid toward following it. 
When we av^ injured, we feel anger and resentment, 
and the feeling is natural, just and useful for the con- 
servation of society. It is useful that wrong doers 
should feel the natural consequences of their actions, 
among which is the disapprobation of society and the 
resentment of him who is wronged. But revenge, in 
the proper sense of that word, must not be practiced. 
u T he best way of ave jigm^lhyjejf!L^sJ^he^mperor, 
" is not t o become l ike the wrong doer." It is plain by 
this that he does not mean thatTwe" should in any case 
practice revenge; but he says to those who talk of 
revengmg wrongs, Be not like him who has done the 
wrong. Socrates in the Crito (c. 10) says the same in 
other words, and St. Paul (Ep. to the Romans, xii. 17). 
" When a man has done thee any wrong, immediately 
consider with what opinion about good or evil he has 


done wrong. For when thou hast seen this, thou wilt 
pit}'" him and wilt neither wonder nor be angry " 
(vii. 26). Antoninus would not deny that wrong natu- 
rally produces the feeling of anger and resentment, for 
this is implied in the recommendation to reflect on the 
nature of the man's mind who has done the wrong, 
and then you will have pity instead of resentment; and 
so it comes to the same as St. Paul's advice to be angry 
and sin not ; which, as Butler well explains it, is not a 
recommendation to be angry, which nobody needs, for 
anger is a natural passion, but it is a warning against 
allowing anger to lead us into sin. _In_^shprt the 
emperor's doctrine about wrongful acts is this : wrong 
doers~ ^o~noTT ^now~what goocLand bad areythe^offend 
out ofngnorajic^an^mThe sense^fjthe3_toics^this is 

true. Though this kind of ignorance will never be 
admitted as a legal excuse, and ought not to be 
admitted as a full excuse in any way by society, there 
may be grievous injuries, such as it is in a man's power 
to forgive without harm to society ; and if he forgives 
because he sees that his enemies know not what they 
do, he is acting in the spirit of the sublime prayer, 
" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they 

_ CThe emperor's moral philosophy was not a feeble, 
narrow system, which teaches a man to look directly 
to his own happiness, though a man's happiness or 
tranquillity is indirectly promoted by living as he ought 
to do. A man must live conformably to the universal 
nature, which means, as the emperor explains it in 
many passages, that a man's actions must be conform- 
able to his true relations to all other human beings, 
both as a citizen of a political community and as a 


\ member of the whole human family. This implies, 
and he often expresses it in the most forcible language, 
that a man's words and actions, so far as they affect 
others, must be measured by a fixed rule, which in 
their consistency with the conservation and the 
interests of the particular society of which he is a 
member, and of the whole human race. To live com- 
formably to such a rule, a man must use his rational 
faculties in order to discern clearly the consequences 
and full effect of all his actions and of the actions of 
others ; he must not live a life of contemplation and 
reflection only, though he must often retire within 
himself to calm and purify his soul by thought,* but 
he must mingle in the work of man and be a fellow- 
laborer for the general good. 

A ma n should have an _object orjmrpose in life, that 
he imty"ciirect all his energias fco Jtj~oT~couTslTargood 
( oljjec EiiirTr He who has not one~objecTor purpose 
of life, cannot be one and the same all through his life 
(xi. 21). Bacon has a remark to the same effect, on 
the best means of " reducing of the mind unto virtue 
and good estate ; which is the electing and propound- 
ing unto a man's self good and virtuous ends of his life, 
such as may be in a reasonable sort within his compass 
to attain." He is a happy man who has been wise 
enough to do this when he was young and has had the 
opportunities; but the emperor seeing well that a man 
cannot always be so wise in his youth, encourages him- 
self to do it when he can, and not to let life slip away 
before he has begun. He who can propose to himself 
good and virtuous ends of life, and be true to them, 
cannot fail to live co mformabry to his own interest and 

* Ut nemo in sese tentat descendere, nemo. Persius, iv. 2h 


the universal interest, for in the nature of things they 
are one. If a thing is not good for the hive, it is not 
good for the bee (vi. 54). 

One passage may end this matter. " If the gods have 
determined about me and about the things which must 
happen to me, they have determined well, for it is not 
easy even to imagine a deity without forethought ; and 
as to doing me harm, why should they have any desire 
toward that? For what advantage would result to 
them from this or to the whole, which is the special 
object of their providence? But if they have not de- 
termined about me individually, they have certainly 
determined about the whole at least ; and the things 
which happen by way of sequence in this general 
arrangement I ought to accept with pleasure and to be 
content with them. But if they determine about 
nothing which it is wicked to believe, or if we do 
believe it, let us neither sacrifice nor pray nor swear 
by them, nor do anything else which we do as if the 
gods were present and lived with us but if, however, 
the gods determine about none of the things which con- 
cern us, I am able to determine about myself, and I can 
inquire about that which is useful ; and that is useful to 
every man which is conformable to his own constitution 
and nature. But my nature is rational and social ; and 
my city and country, so far as I am Antoninus, is Eorae ; 
but so far as I am a man, it is the world. The things 
then which are useful to these cities are alone useful 
to me" (vi. 44). 

It would be tedious, and it is not necessary to state 
the emperor's opinions on all the ways in which a man 
may profitably use his understanding toward perfect- 
ing himself in practical virtue. The passages to this 



purpose are in all parts of his book, but as they are in 
no order or connection, a man must use the book a 
long time before he will find out all that is in it. A 
few words may be added here. If we analyze all other 
things, we find how insufficient they are for human life 
and how truly worthless many of them are. Virtue 
alone is indivisible, one, and perfectly satisfying. The 
notion of Virtue cannot be considered vague or un- 
settled, because a man may find it difficult to explain 
the notion fully to himself or to expound it to others 
in such a way as to prevent cavilling. Virtue is a 
whole, and no more consists of parts than man's intelli- 
gence does ; and yet we speak of various intellectual 
faculties as a convenient way of expressing the various 
powers which man's intellect shows by his works. In 
the same way we may speak of various virtues or parts 
of virtue, in a practical sense, for the purpose of show- 
ing what particular virtues we ought to practice in 
order to the exercise of the'whole of virtue that is, as 
much as man's nature is capable of. 

The prime principle in man's constitution is social. 
The next in order is not to yield to the persuasions of 
the body when they are not conformable to the rational 
principle, which must govern. The third is freedom 
from error and from deception. " Let then the ruling 
principle holding fast to these things go straight on, 
and it has what is its own" (vii. 55). The emperor 

the rest (x. 11), and thisha d been sa id_long before his 

It is true that all people have some notion of what is 
meant by justice as a disposition of the mind, and some 
notion about acting in conformity to this disposition ; 


but experience shows that men's notions about justice 
are as confused as their actions are inconsistent with 
the true notion of justice. The_ emperor's notion of 
justicejsclear enough, but not jrractical enough foTaTT 
majaki nd. " Let thei^ie^freedoni^romTperturbations 
with respect to the things which come from the exter- 
nal cause, and let there be justice in the things done by 
virtue of the internal cause that is, let there be move- 
ment and action terminating in this, in social acts, for 
this is according to thy nature" (ix. 31). In another 
place (ix. 1) he says that "he who acts unjustly acts 
impiously," which follows of course from all that he 
says in various places. He insists on the practice of 
truth as a virtue and as a means to virtue, which no 
doubt it is: for lying, even in indifferent things, 
weakens the understanding, and lying maliciously is 
as great a moral offense as a man can be guilty of, 
viewed both as showing an habitual disposition and 
viewed with respect to consequences. He couples the 
notion of justice with action. A man must not pride 
himself on having some fine notion of justice in his 
head, but he must exhibit his justice in act, like St. 
James' notion of faith. But this is enough. 

The Stoics and Antoninus among them call some 
things beautiful and some ugly, and as they are beauti- 
ful so they are good, and as they are ugly so they are 
evil or bad (ii. 1). All these things good and evil are 
in our power, absolutely some of the stricter Stoics 
would say ; in a manner only, as those who would not 
depart altogether from common sense would say ; prac- 
tically they are to a great degree in the power of some 
persons and in some circumstances, but in a small 
degree only in other persons and in other circuru- 


stances. The Stoics maintain man's free will as to the 
things which are in his power; for as to the things 
which are out of his power, free will terminating in 
very action is of course excluded by the terms of the 
expression. I hardly know if we can discover exactly 
Antoninus' notion of the free will of man, nor is the 
question worth the inquiry. What he does mean and 
does say is intelligible. All the things which are not 
in our power are indifferent : they are neither good 
nor bad morally. Such are life, health, wealth, power, 
disease, poverty and death. Life and death are all 
men's portion. Health, wealth, power, disease and 
poverty happen to men indifferently to the good and 
to the bad ; to those who live according to nature and 
to those who do not.* "\Lifej^ay^4Jiajemperor, "is 
a war fare and a stranger's sojourn, andjjjiiJialiie~i^ 
oblivion" (ii.~TV).y Alter speaking of~~those men who 
have clisturBecniie world and then died, and of the 
death of philosophers such as Heraclitus and Democri- 
tus, who was destroyed by lice, and of Socrates, whom 
other lice (his enemies) destroyed, he says: "What 
means all this? Thou hast embarked, thou hast made 
the voyage, thou art come to shore ; get out. If 
indeed to another life, there is no want of gods, not 
even there. But if to a state without sensation, thou 
wilt cease to be held by pains and pleasures, and to be 
a slave to the vessel which is as much inferior as that 

* " All events come alike to all; there is one event to the righteous 
and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean and to the unclean," 
etc. Ecclesiastes, ix. v. 2; and v. 3: "This is an evil among all 1 
things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all." 
In what sense "evil " is meant here seems rather doubtful. There is 
no doubt about the Emperor's meaning. Compare Epictetus, Encheiri- 
dion, c. i., etc.; and the doctrine of the Brachmans (Strabo, p. 713, 
ed. Cas.). 


which serves it is superior ; for the one is intelligence 
and deity ; the other is earth and corruption " (iii. 3). 
It_js_n ot death that a ma n-shoul d fear. bu The should 
fear jiejzgr_ J)eginning to live acco rding to^TTaCure 
(xii. 1). JjtVrxjmaji_sJ]X)uJ^^ 

to discharge hisjjvrty , arirl to t.r onhlp. himself ^Rhont. 
nothing !?IseTjIe should li ve such a life that he 
sTiaTTaTways beready^for death, andl_ahaJl depart, 
content wlie^^the^^sa ^nmolis^ GOjaes. For what is 
deatfri "^T~cessation of the impressions through the 
senses, and of the pulling of the strings which move 
the appetites and of the discursive movements of the 
thoughts, and of the service to the flesh " (vi. 28). 
Death is such as generation is, a mystery of nature 
(iv. 5). In another passage, the exact meaning of 
which is perhaps doubtful (ix. 3), he speaks of the child 
which leaves the womb, and so he says the soul at 
death leaves its envelope. As the child is born or 
comes into life by leaving the womb, so the soul may 
on leaving the body pass into another existence which 
is perfect. I am not sure if this is the emperor's 
meaning. Butler compares it with a passage in Strabo 
(p. 713) about the Brachmans' notion of death being 
the birth into real life and a happy life to those who 
have philosophized; and he thinks that Antoninus 
may allude to this opinion.* 

* Seneca (Ep. 102) has the same, whether an expression of his 

own opinion, or merely a fine saying of others employed to embellish 

his writings, I know not. After speaking of the child being prepared 

in the womb to live this life, he adds, "Sic per hoc spatium, quod ab 

infantia patet in senectutem, in alium naturae sumimur partum. Alia 

origo nos expectat, alius rerum status." See Ecclesiastes, xii. 7; and 

Lucan, i. 457: 

" Longae, canitis si cognita, vitse 

Mors media est." 


Antoninus' opinion of. a futi^eJ^ 
e^^e^ssed. Hiidoctrine of the nature of the soul of 
necessity implies that it does not perish absolutely, for 
a portion of the divinity cannot perish. The opinion 
is at least as old as the time of Epicharmus and Euri- 
pides ; what comes from earth goes back to earth, and 
what comes from heaven, the divinity, returns to him 
who gave it. But I find nothing clear in Antoninus 
as to the notion of the man existing after death so as 
to be conscious of his sameness with that soul which 
occupied his vessel of clay. He seems to be perplexed 
on this matter, and finally to have rested in this, that 
God or the gods will do whatever is best and consist- 
ent with the university of things. 

Nor, I think, does he speak conclusively on another 
Stoic doctrine, which some Stoics practiced, the antici- 
pating the regular course of nature by a man's own 
act. The reader will find some passages in which this 
is touched on, and he may make of them what he can. 
But there are passages in which the emperor encour- 
ages himself to wait for the end patiently and with 
tranquillity ; and certainly it is consistent with all his 
best teaching that a man should bear all that fallsTo 
fijs^oTjin^ ] i vesT~~He 

s h ould not, ^hl$refore7abna^e"t3^^ 
ness by his own act. Whether he contemplates any 
possible cases in which a man should die by his own 
hand, I cannot tell, and the matter is not worth a 
curious inquiry, for I believe it would not lead to any 
certain result as to his opinion on this point. I do not 
think that Antoninus, who never mentions Seneca, 
though he must have known all about him, would have 
agreed with Seneca when he gives as a reason for 



suicide, that the eternal law, whatever he means, has 
made nothing better for us than this, that it has given 
us only one way of entering into life and many ways 

The ways of going out indeed are 

of going out of it 

many, and that is a good reason for a man taking care 

of himself.* 

Happiness wasjiot_the_di 

a Stoic's life, 
jk^mkuof lifj^gojij^nifi f] in tli^ jrj^pt^iiiFar 

r nan shoulcL p ursue his own ha ppine ss^ , Many m 
think that they are seeking happiness when they are 
only seeking the gratification of some particular pas- 
sion, the strongest that they have. The end of a man 
is, as already explained, to live conformably to nature, 
and he will thus obtain happiness, tranquillity of mind 
and contentment (iii. 12; viii. 1, and other places). m As 
a meansof living conformably to nature he must study 
if QieIfcmiLJ3hi^ its proper 

js_plmej_w2sjIoTn^jo^ of good and evil ; 

justice, orth&_giving__to every lmmTiis due ; fortitude, 
orlihir ^du riiig_oiLJa^ pain ; arm^Jtenj^rance, 

whicEls modera tjon^in^all things. By thus living con- 
formably to nature the Stoic obtained all that he 
wished or expected. His_reward was in hisjvjrtuous 
life, and he Avas satisfied with thatT^SoIneljreek poet 
long ago wrote : 

For virtue only of all human things 

Takes her reward not from the hands of others. 

Virtue herself rewards the toils of virtue. 


ss ed thems elvesjn 
lout the wise man's self 

*See Plinius, H. N. ii. c. 7; Seneca, De Provid. c. 6; and Ep. 70; 
" Nihil melius aeterna lex," etc. 


sufficien cy ; they elevated him to the rank of a deity.* 
BuVthese were only talkersanxTISctnTeTsTsuch as those 
in all ages who utter fine words, know little of human 
affairs, and care only for notoriety. \_Epictetus and 
Antoninus both by precept and example labored to 
improve themselves and others ; and if we discover 
imperfections in their teaching, we must still honor 
these great men who attempted to show that there is 
in man's nature and in the constitution of things 
su fficien t reason for living a virtuous life. It is diffi- 
cult enough ^^ i^ritv^-tts-we~TmghtnEoTTv^ _ difficult even 
for any man to live in such a way as to satisfy himself, 
if he exercises only in a moderate degree the power of 
reflecting upon and reviewing his own conduct ; and if 
all men cannot be brought to the same opinions in 
morals and religion, it is at least worth while to give 
them good reasons for as much as they can be per- 
suaded to accept. 

* J. Smith in his Select Discourses on " the Excellency and Noble- 
ness of True Religion " (c. vi.) has remarked on this Stoical arrogance. 
He finds it in Seneca and others. In Seneca certainly_ 1 _and^rjerhaps 
something of it in Epictetus; but it isn^tja^SSioiuims. 





Rev. F. W. FARRAR, D.D., F.R.S., 

Canon of Westminster. 




The life of the noblest of Pagan Emperors may well 
follow that of the noblest of Pagan slaves. Their giory 
shines the purer and brighter from the midst of a cor- 
rupt and deplorable society. Epictetus showed that-a- 
Phrygian slave could live a WfojA iheLTpftiest exalta- 
tion; Aureaus proyeii_ihaiL.a Roman Emperor could 
liv ealjfe jof^ tlieTde^pegt humility. The one a for- 
eigner, feeble, deformed, ignorantT^orn in squalor, bred 
in degradation, the despised chattel of a despicable 
freedman, surrounded by every depressing, ignoble, 
and pitiable circumstance of life showed how one 
who seemed born to be a wretch could win noble hap- 
piness and immortal memory ; the other a Roman, 
a patrician, strong, of heavenly beauty, of nc-ble ances- 
tors, almost born to the purple, the favorite m Emper- 
ors, the greatest conqueror, the greatest philosopher, 
the greatest ruler of his time proved forever that it 
is possible to be virtuous, and tender, and holy, and 
contented in the midst of sadness, even on an irrespon- 
sible and imperial throne. Strange that, of the two, 
the Emperor is even sweeter, more simple, more ad- 


mirable, more humbly and touchingly resigned, than 
the slave. In him , Stoicism lose$ all its haughty, self;- 
assertion, all its impracticable paradox, for aT manly 
melancholy which at once troubles and charms the 
heart. " It seems," says M. Martha, " that in him the 
philosophy of heathendom grows less proud, draws 
nearer and nearer to a Christianity which it ignored or 
which it despised, and is ready to fling itself into the 
arms of the ' Unknown God.' In the sad Meditations 
of Aurelius we find a pure serenity, sweetness, and 
docility to the commands of God, which before him 
were unknown, and which Christian grace has alone 
surpassed. If he has not yet attained to charity in all 
that fullness of meaning which Christianity has given to 
the word, he has already gained its unction, and one 
cannot read his book, unique in the history of Pagan 
philosophy, without thinking of the sadness of Pascal 
and the gentleness of Fenelon. "We must pause before 
this soul, so lofty and so pure, to contemplate ancient 
virtue in its softest brilliancy, to see the moral delicac}^ 
to which profane doctrines have attained how they 
laid down their pride, and how penetrating a grace 
they have found in their new simplicity. Xo^makejthe 
example^yejt-SBe-trikin^^royjden^ which^accertb" - 
fngjto' the_StQics, does nothing by chance, determined^ 
Jthat the example of these_simple virtue^hSuHLbloom 

in the midst ofjkllJmman grandeur that charity 
should be t aught bv tha^uccessoT^ ofblood-stained 
X?a?sars, and humbleness of h eartJ jyi^jrJEmperor^ 

Aurelius has always exercised a powerful fascination 
over the minds of eminent men. " If you set aside, 
for a moment, the contemplation of the Christian veri- 
ties," says the eloquent and thoughtful Montesquieu,, 


" search throughout all nature, and you will not find a 
grander object than the Antonines. . . . One feels 
a secret pleasure in speaking of this Emperor ; one 
cannot read his life without a softening feeling of 
emotion. He produces such an effect upon our minds 
that we think better of ourselves, because he inspires 
us with a better opinion of mankind." " It is more 
delightful," says the great historian, Niebuhr, to speak 
of Marcus Aurelius than of any man in history; for if 
there is any sublime human virtue it is his. He was \> 
certainly the noblest character of his time, and I know 
no other man who combined such unaffected kindness, 
mildness, and humility, with such conscientiousness, , 
and severity toward himself. We possess innumerable 
busts of him, for every Roman of his time was anxious 
to possess his portrait, and if there is anywhere an ex- 
pression of virtue it is in the heavenly features of 
Marcus Aurelius." 

Marcus Aurelius was born on April 26, a. d. 121. 
His more correct designation would be Marcus Anton- 
inus, but since he bore several different names at dif- 
ferent periods of his life, and since at that age nothing 
was more common than a change of designation, it is 
hardly worth while to alter the name by which he is 
most popularly recognized. His father, Annius Verus, 
who died in his Praetorship, drew his blood from a 
line of illustrious men who claimed descent from Numa, 
the second King of Rome. His mother, Domitia Cal- 
villa, was also a lady of consular and kingly race. 
The character of both seems to have been worthy of 
their high dignity. Of his father he can have known 
little, since Annius died when Aurelius was a mere 
infant ; but in his Meditations he has left us a grateful 




\ \ /v 
memorial of both his parents/ He says that from his 
grandfather he learned (or, might have learned) good 
morals and the government of his temper ; from the 
reputation and remembrance of his father, modesty 
and manliness; from his mother, piety, and benefi- 
cence, and abstinence not only from evil deeds, hut even 
from evil thoughts ; and, further, simplicity of life far 
removed from the habits of the rich. 

The childhood and boyhood of Aurelius fell during 
the reign of Hadrian. The times were better than 
those which we have contemplate^ in the reigns of the 
Caesars. After the suicide of Nero and the brief reigns 
of Galba and Otho, the Roman worl^ had breathed more 
freely for a time under the rough g^ood humor of Ves- 
pasian and the philosophic virtue ol Titus. The reign 
of Domitian, indeed, who succeeded his brother Titus, 
was scarcely less terrible and infamous than that of 
Caius or of Nero ; but that prince, shortly before his 
murder, had dreamed that a golden neck had grown 
out of his own, and interpreted the dream to indicate 
that a better race of princes should follow him. The 
dream was fulfilled. Whatever may have been their 
other faults, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, were wise and 
kind-hearted rulers ; Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aure- 
lius were among the very gentlest and noblest sovereigns 
whom the world has ever seen. 

Hadrian, though an able, indefatigable, and, on the 
whole, beneficial Emperor, was a man whose charac- 
ter was stained with serious faults. It is, however, 
greatly to his honor that he recognized in Aurelius, at 
the early age of six years, the germs of those extra- 
ordinary virtues which afterward blessed the empire 
and elevated the sentiments of mankind. "Hadrian's 


bad and sinful habits left him," says Niebuhr, " when 
he gazed on the sweetness of that innocent child. 
Playing on the boy's paternal name of Verus, he 
called him V&rissimus, Athe most true.'" It is inter- 
esting to find that this trait of character was so early 
developed in one who thought that all men " should r 
speak as they think, with an accent of heroic verity." 

Toward the end of his long reign, worn out with 
disease and weariness, Hadrian, being childless, had 
adopted as his son L. Ceionius Commodus, a man who 
had few recommendations but his personal beauty. 
Upon his death, which took place a year afterward, 
Hadrian, assembling the senators round his sick bed, 
adopted and presented to them as their future Emperor 
Arrius Antoninus, better known by the surname of 
Pius, which he won by his gratitude to the memory of 
his predecessor. Had Aurelius/ /been older he was 
then but seventeen it is k#6w4r tliat Hadrian would 
have chosen him, and not Antoninus, for his heir. The j ji) ^" 
latter, indeed, who was then fifty two years old, w*as \P /</y 
only selected on the express condition that he should 
in turn adopt both Marcus Aurelius and the son of the 
deceased Ceionius. Thus, at the age of seventeen^ 
Aurelius, who, even from his infancy, had been loaded 
with conspicuous distinctions, saw himself the ac- 
knowledged heir to the empire of the world. 

We are happily able, mainly from his own writings, 
to give some sketch of the influences and the educa- 
tion which had formed him for this exalted station. 

He was brought up in the house of his grandfather, 
a man who had been three times consul. He makes it 
a matter of congratulation and thankfulness to the 
gods, that lie had not been sent to any public school, 


where he would have run the risk of being tainted by 
that frightful corruption into which, for many years, 
the Roman youth had fallen. He expresses a sense of 
obligation to his great-grandfather for having supplied 
hull with good teachers at home, and for the conviction 
tnat on such things a man should spend liberally. 
There was nothing jealous, barren, or illiberal, in the 
training he received. He was fond of boxing, wrest 
ling, running ; he was an admirable player at ball, and 
he was fond of the perilous excitement of hunting the 
wild boar. Thus, his healthy sports, his serious studies, 
his moral instruction, his public dignities and duties, 
all contributed to form his character in a beautiful and 
manly mold. There are, however, three respects in 
wjiichjns^e^lucation seems especially worthy^flToticej 
I m ean the d iligence, the gratitude, djxd^ie^hai'cliness 
in_which Ee_wa^_ejicou^^edl3x^others, and whicTTTie 
practiced with all thejirdor of generous conviction. 

iTliitBeHbest - sense of the word,^^[ure1iiis ws&lMli- 
gent. He alludes more than once in his Meditations 
to the inestimable value of time, and to his ardent 
desire to gain more leisure for intellectual pursuits. He 
flung himself with his usual undeviating steadfastness 
of purpose into every branch of study, and though he 
deliberately abandoned rhetoric, he toiled hard at 
philosophy, at the discipline of arms, at the adminis- 
tration of business, and at the difficult study of Roman 
jurisprudence. One of the acquisitions for which he 
expresses gratitude to his tutor Rusticus, is that of 
reading carefully, and not being satisfied with the 
superficial understanding of a book. In fact, so stren- 
uous was his labor, and so great his abstemiousness, 
that his health suffered by the combination of the two. 


2. His opening remarks show that he remembered 
all his teachers even the most insignificant with 
sincere gratitude. He regarded each one of them as a 
man from whom something could be learned, and from 
whom he actually did learn that something. Hence 
the honorable respect a respect as honorable to him- 
self as to them which he paid to Fronto, to Kusticus, 
to Julius Proculus, and others whom his noble and 
conscientious gratitude raised to the highest dignities 
ol the State. He even thanks the gods that " he made 
haste to piace those who brought him up in the station 
of honor which they seemed to desire, without putting 
them off with mere hopes of his doing it some, time 
after, because they were then still young." He was 
far the superior of these men, not only- socially but 
even morally and intellectually ; yet from the height 
of his exalted rank and character he delighted to asso- 
ciate with them on the most friendly terms, and to 
treat them, even till his death, with affection and 
honor, to place their likenesses among his household 
gods, and visit their sepulchres with wreaths and 

3. His hardiness and self-denial were perhaps still 
more remarkable. I wish that those boys of our day, 
who think it undignified to travel second-class, who 
dress in the extreme of fashion, wear roses in their 
button-holes, and spend upon ices and strawberries 
what would maintain a poor man for a year, would 
learn how infinitely more noble was the abstinence of 
this young Roman, who thon^h bm*n--i n the mid st^of^ 
splendor and luxury ,Tearned from the first to loathe 

~the~peTty vice"ofgTuTtony, and to despise the unman- 
liness of self-indulgence. Very early in life he joined 


the glorious fellowship of those who esteem it not onl V 
a dutgj uT a pl easure 

".To scorn delights, and live laborious days, 

md had learned "endurance of labor, and to want^ 
little, aDd^o~ r wor^~^with~Eis' mvn~Tiands." In his 
eleventh year TuTbecome acquainted with JJiognetus, 
who first introduced him to the Stoic philosophy, and 
in his twelfth year he assumed the Stolc~aress7^ This 
philosophy taught him " to prefer a plank bed and skin, 
and whatever else of the kind belongs to the Grecian 
discipline." It is said that " the skin " was a concession 
to the entreaties of his mother, and that the young 
philosopher himself would have chosen to sleep on the 
bare boards or on the ground. Yet he acted thus 
without self-assertion and without ostentation. His 
friends found him always cheerful ; and his calm 
features in which a dignity and thoughtfulness of 
spirit contrasted with the bloom and beauty of a pure 
and honorable boyhood were never* Overshadowed 
with ill-temper or with gloom. 

The guardians of Marcus Aurelius had gathered 
around him all the most distinguished literary teachers 
of the age. Never had a prince a greater number of 
eminent instructors ; never were any teachers made 
happy by a more grateful, a more humble, a more 
blameless, a more truly royal and glorious pupil. Long 
years after his education had ceased, during his cam- 
paign among the Quadi, he wrote a sketch of what 
he owed to them. This sketch forms the first book 
of his Meditations, and is characterized throughout by 
the most unaffected simplicity and modesty. 

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius were, in fact, 


his private diary ; they are a noble soliloquy with his 
own heart, an honest examination of his own con- 
science; there is not the slightest trace of their having 
been intended for any eye but his own. In them he 
was acting on the principle of St. Augustine : " Go up 
into the tribunal of thy conscience, and set thyself 
before thyself." He was ever bearing about 

'* A silent court of justice in himself, 
Himself the judge and jury, and himself 
The prisoner at the bar," 

And writing amid all the cares and distractions of a 
war which he detested, he averted his eyes from the 
manifold weariness which daily vexed his soul, and 
calmly sat down to meditate on all the great qualities 
which he had observed, and all the good lessons that 
he mip-ht have learned from those who had instructed 
his boyhood, and surrounded his manly years. 

And what had he learned? learned heartily to 
admire, and (we may say) learned to practice also ? A 
sketch of his first book will show us. "What he had 
gained from his immediate parents we have seen 
already, and we will make a brief abstract of his other 

From " his governor " to which of his teachers this 
name applies we are not sure he had learned to avoid 
factions at the races, to work hard, and to avoid list- 
ening to slander ; from Diognetus, to despise frivolous 
superstitions, and to practice self-denial ; from Apoll- 
onius, undeviating steadiness of purpose, endurance of 
misfortune, and the reception of favors without being 
humbled by them ; from Sextus of Chasronea (a grand- 
son of the celebrated Plutarch), tolerance of the igno- 
rant, gravity without affectation, and benevolence of 


heart ; from Alexander, delicacy in correcting others ; 
from Severus, " a disposition to do good, and to give 
to others readily, and to cherish good hope, and to 
believe that I am beloved of my friends;" from Maxi- 
mus, "sweetness and dignity, and to do what was set 
before me without complaining ;" from Alexander the 
Platonic, " not frequently to say to any one, nor to write 
in a letter, that I have no leisure ; nor continually to 
'/w excuse the neglect of ordinary duties by alleging 
^ urgent occupations." 

To one or two others his obligations were. still more 
lv aJ characteristic and important. From Eusticus, for in- 
stance, an excellent and able man, whose advice for 
years he was accustomed to respect, he had learned to 
despise sophistry and display, to write with simplicity, 
to be easily pacified, to be accurate, and an inesti- 
mable benefit this, and one which tinged the color of 
his whole life to become acquainted with the Dis- 
courses of Epictetus. And from his adoptive father, 
the great Antoninus Pius, he had derived advantages 
still more considerable. In him he saw the example 
of a sovereign and statesman firm, self-controlled, 


modest, faithful, and even tempered ; a man who de- 
wise and distinguished the meritorious ; who was in- 


^ spised flattery and hated meanness ; who honored the 
wise and distinguished the meritorious ; who was in- 
different to contemptible trifles, and indefatigable in 
earnest business ; one, in short, " who had a perfect 
and invincible soul," who, like Socrates, " was able 
both to abstain from and to enjoy those things which 
many are too weak to abstain from and cannot enjoy 
without excess."* Piety, serenity, sweetness, disre- 

* My quotations from Marcus Aurelius will be made (by permis- 
sion) from ike forcible and admirably accurate translation of Mr. 


gard of empty fame, calmness, simplicity, patience, are 
virtues which he attributes to him in another full- 
length portrait (vi. 30) which he concludes with the 
words, "Imitate all this, that thou mayest have as 
good a conscience when thy last hour comes as he had.' 3 
He concludes these reminiscences of thankfulness 
with a summary of what he owed to the gods. [Xnd 
for what does he thanks the gods ? for being wealthy, 
anoPnoble, and an eniperor ? Nay, for no vulgar or 
dubious blessings such as these, but^forjthe. ^guidance 
w^ich_Jj^inexl_^inHn philosophy, and for the grace 

genuine modesty comes^outr As" the excellent divine 
used to say when he saw a criminal led past for execu- 
tion, "There, but for the grace of God, goes John 
Bradford," so, after thanking the gods for the good- 
ness of all his family and relatives, Aurelius says, 
" Further, I owe it to the gods that I was not hurried 
into any offense against any of them, though I had a 
disposition which, if opportunity had offered, might 
have led me to do something of this kind ; but through 
their favor there never was such a concurrence of cir- 
cumstances as put me to the trial. Further, that I 
was subjected to a ruler and father who took away all 
pride from me, and taught me that it was possible to 
live in a palace without guards, or embroidered dresses, 
or torches, and statues, and such-like show, but to live 
very near to the fashion of a private person, without 
being either mean in thought or remiss in action ; that 
after having fallen into amatory passions I was cured ; 

Long. In thanking Mr. Long, I may be allowed to add that the 
English reader will find in his version the best means of becoming 
acquainted with the purest and noblest book of antiquity. 


that though it was ray mother's fate to die young, she 
spent the last years of her life with me ; that when- 
ever I wished to help any man, I was never told that 
I had not the means of doing it ; that I had abundance 
of good masters for my children : for all these things 
require the help of the gods and fortune." 

The whole of the Emperor's Meditations deserve the 
profound study of this age. The self-denial which they 
display is a rebuke to our ever-growing luxury ; their 
generosity contrasts favorably with the increasing 
bitterness of our cynicism ; their contented acqui- 
escence in God's will rebukes our incessant restless- 
ness ; above all, their constant elevation shames that 
multitude of little vices, and little meannesses, which 
lie like a scurf over the conventionality of modern life. 
But this earlier chapter has also a special value for the 
young. It offers a picture which it would indeed be 
better for them and for us if they could be induced to 
study. If even under 

" Tliat fierce light that beats upon the throne," 

the life of Marcus Aurelius shows no moral stain, it is 
still more remarkable that the free and beautiful boy- 
hood of this Roman prince had early learned to recog- 
nize only the excellences of his teachers, their patience 
and firmness, their benevolence and sweetness, their 
integrity and virtue. Amid the frightful universality 
of moral corruption he preserved a stainless conscience 
and a most pure soul ; he thanked God in language 
which breathes the most crystalline delicacy of senti- 
ment and language, that he had preserved uninjured 
the flower of his early life, and that under the calm 
influences of his home in the country, and the studies 


of philosophy, he had learned to value chastity as the 
sacred girdle of youth, to be retained and honored to 
his latest years. " Surely," says Mr. Carlyle, " a day 
is coming when it will be known again what virtue is 
in purity and continence of life ; how divine is the 
blush of young human cheeks; how high, beneficent, 
sternly inexorable is the duty laid on every creature 
in regard to these particulars. "Well, if such a day 
never come, then I perceive much else will never come. 
Magnanimity and depth of insight will never come ; 
heroic purity of heart and of eye ; noble pious valor 
to amend us, and the age of bronze and lacquers, how 
can they ever come ? The scandalous bronze-lacquer 
age of hungry animalisms, spiritual impotencies, and 
mendacities will have to run its course till the pit 
swallow it." 





On the death of Hadrian in a. d. 138, Antoninus 
Pius succeeded to the throne, and, in accordance with 
the late Emperor's conditions, adopted Marcus Aure- 
lius and Lucius Commodus. Marcus had been be- 
trothed at the age of fifteen to the sister of Lucius 
Commodus, but the new Emperor broke, off the en- 
gagement, and betrothed him instead to his daughter 
Faustina. The marriage, however, was not celebrated 
till seven years afterward, a. d. 146. 

The long reign of Antoninus Pius is one of those 
happy periods that have no history. An almost un- 
broken peace reigned at home and abroad. Taxes 
were lightened, calamities relieved, informers discour- 
aged ; confiscations were rare, plots and executions were 
almost unknown. Throughout the whole extent of 
his vast domain the people loved and valued their Em- 
peror, and the Emperor's one aim was to further the 
happiness of his people. He, too, like Aurelius, had 
learned that what was good for the bee was good for 
the hive. He strove to live as the civil administrator 
of an unaggressive and united republic; he disliked 
war, did not value the military title of Imperator, and 
never deigned to accept a triumph. 

With this wise and eminent prince, who was as 
amiable in his private relations as he was admirable in 


the discharge of his public duties, Marcus Aurelius 
spent the next twenty-three years of his life. So close 
and intimate was their union, so completely did they 
regard each other as father and son, that during all 
that period Aurelius never slept more than twice away 
from the house of Antoninus. There was not a shade 
of jealousy between them; each was the friend and 
adviser of the other, and, so far from regarding his 
destined heir with suspicion, the emperor gave him the 
designation "Caesar," and heaped upon him all the 
honors of the Roman Commonwealth. It was in vain 
that the whisper of malignant tongues attempted to 
shake this mutual confidence. Antoninus once saw the 
mother of Aurelius in earnest prayer before the statue 
of Apollo. " What do you think she is praying for so 
intently V asked a wretched mischief-maker of the 
name of Valerius Omulus : " It is that you may die, and 
her son reign." This wicked suggestion might have 
driven a prince of meaner character into violence and 
disgust, but Antoninus passed it over with the silence 
of contempt. 

It was the main delight of Antoninus to enjoy the 
quiet of his country villa. Unlike Hadrian, who tra- 
versed immense regions of his vast dominion, Antoninus 
lived entirely either at Rome, or in his beautiful 
villa at Lorium, a little sea-coast village about twelve 
miles from the capital. In this villa he had been born, 
and here he died, surrounded by the reminiscences of 
his childhood. In this his real home it was his special 
pleasure to lay aside the pomp and burden of his 
imperial rank. " He did not," says Marcus, " take the 
bath at unseasonable hours ; he was not fond of build- 
ing houses, nor curious about what he eat, nor about 


the texture and color of his clothes, nor about the 
beauty of his slaves." Even the dress he wore was the 
work of the provincial artist in his little native place. 
So far from checking the philosophic tastes of his 
adopted son he fostered them, and sent for Apollonius 
of Chalcisto be his teacher in the doctrines of Stoicism. 
In one of his notes to Fronto, Marcus draws the picture 
of their simple country occupations and amusements. 
Hunting, fishing, boxing, wrestling, occupied the 
leisure of the two princes, and they shared the rustic 
festivities of the vintage. " I have dined," he writes, 
" on a little bread. . . . "We perspired a great deal, 
shouted a great deal, and left some gleanings of the 
vintage hanging on the trellis work. . . . When I 
got home I studied a little, but not to much advantage 
* I had a long talk with my mother, who was lying on 
* her couch." Who knows how much Aurelius and how 
J much the world may have gained from such conversa- 
"*^ tion as this with a mother from whom he had learned 
^ to hate even the thought of evil ? Nor will any one 
despise the simplicity of heart which made him mingle 
-5 with the peasants as an amateur vintager, unless he is 
so tasteless and so morose as to think with scorn of 
Scipio and Laelius as they gathered shells on the sea- 
shore, or of Henry IV as he played at horses with his 
1 little boys on all-fours. The capability of unbending 
thus, the genuine cheerfulness which enters at due 
times into simple amusements, has been found not 
rarely in the highest and purest minds. 

For many years no incident of importance broke the 
even tenor of Aurelius' life. He lived peaceful, happy, 
prosperous, and beloved, watching without envy the 
increasing years of his adopted father. But in the 


year 161, when Marcus was now forty years old, 
Antoninus Pius, who had reached the age of seventy- 
live, caught a fever at Lorium. Feeling that his end 
was near, he summoned his friends and the chief men 
of Rome to his bedside, and there (without saying a 
word about his other adopted son, who is generally 
known by the name of Lucius Verus) solemnly recom- 
mended Marcus to them as his successor ; and then 5 
giving to the captain of the guard the watchword of 
"Equanimity," as though his earthly task was over, he 
ordered to be transferred to the bedroom of Marcus 
the little golden statue of Fortune, which was kept in 
the private chamber cf the emperors as an omen of iwv- 
public prosperity. 

Tlie_y^rxJirstj23iblic act of the new Emperor was one 
of splendid g enerosity, namely, the admission of his 
adoptiv e bro ther Lucius Verus into the fullest partici- 
pation of im perial honors, the Tribunitian and procon- 
sular_powers, and the titles Caesar and Augustus. The 
admission of Lucius Yerus to a share of the empire 
was due to the innate modesty of Marcus. As he was 
a devoted student, and cared less for manly exercises, 
in which Verus excelled, he thought that his adoptive 
brother would be a better and more useful general 
than himself, and that he could best serve the State 
by retaining the civil administration, and entrusting 
to his brother the management of war. Yerus, how- 
ever, as soon as he got away from the immediate influ- 
ence and ennobling society of Marcus, broke loose 
from all decency, and showed himself to be a weak 
and worthless personage, as unfit for war as he was 
for all the nobler duties of peace, and capable of noth- 
ing but enormous gluttony and disgraceful self-indul- 


gence. Two things only can be said in his favor : the 
one, that, though depraved, he was wholly free from 
cruelty; and the other, that he had the good sense to 
submit himself entirely to his brother, and to treat 
him with the gratitude and deference which were 
his due. 

Marcus had a large family by Faustina, and in the 
first year of his reign his wife bore twins, of whom 
the one who survived became the wicked and detested 
Emperor Commodus. As though the birth of such a 
child were in itself an omen of ruin, a storm of calam- 
ity began at once to burst over the long tranquil State. 
An inundation of the Tiber flung down houses and 
streets over a great part of Rome, swept away multi- 
tudes of cattle, spoiled the harvests, devastated the 
fields, and caused a distress which ended in wide- 
spread famine. Men's minds were terrified by earth- 
quakes, by the burning of cities, and by plagues or 
noxious insects. To these miseries, which the Em- 
perors did their best to alleviate, was added the hor- 
rors of wars and rumors of wars. The Partians, under 
their king, Vologeses, defeated and all but destroyed 
a Roman army, and devastated w r ith impunity the 
Roman province of Syria. The wild tribes of the 
Catti burst over Germany with fire and sword ; and 
the news from Britain was full of insurrection and 
tumult. Such were the elements of trouble and discord 
which overshadowed the reign of Marcus Aurelius 
from its very beginning down to its weary close. 

As the Partian war w T as the most important of the 
three, Yerus was sent to quell it, and but for the 
ability of his generals the greatest of whom w r as 
Avidius Cassius would have ruined irretrievably the 


fortunes of the Empire. These generals, however, 
vindicated the majesty of the Roman name, and Yerus 
returned in triumph, bringing back with him from the 
East the seeds of a terrible pestilence which devastated 
the whole Empire, and by which, on the outbreak of 
fresh wars, Verus himself was carried off at Aquileia. 

Worthless as he was, Marcus, who in his lifetime 
had so often pardoned and concealed his faults, paid 
him the highest honors of sepulcre, and interred his 
ashes in the mausoleum of Hadrian. There were not 
wanting some who charged him with the guilt of frat- 
ricide, asserting that the death of Yerus had been has- L, 
tened by his means ! 

I have only one reason for alluding to atrocious and 
contemptible calumnies like these, and that is because 
since, no doubt, such whispers reached his ears 
tbey help to account for that deep, unutterable mel- 
ancholy which breathes through the little golden book 
of the Emperor's Meditations. We find, for instance, 
among them this isolated fragment : 

"A black character, a womanish character, a stub- 
born character, bestial, childish, animal, stupid, coun- 
terfeit, scurrilous, fraudulent, tyrannical." 

We know not of whom he was thinking perhaps of 
Nero, perhaps of Caligula, but undoubtedly also of 
men whom he had seen and known, and whose very 
existence darkened his soul. The same sad spirit 
breathes also through the following passages : 

" Soon, very soon, thou wilt be ashes, or a skeleton, 
and either a name or not even a name ; but name is 
sound and echo. And the things which are much 
valued in life are empty, and rotten, and trifling, and 
little dogs biting one another, and little children guar- 


reling, laughing, and then straightway weeping. .But 
fidelity, and modesty, and justice and truth are fled 
" ' Up to Olympus from the wide-spread earili.' " 

(v. 33.) 

" It would be a man's happiest lot to depart from 
mankind without having had a taste of lying, and 
hypocrisy, and luxury, and pride. However, to breathe 
out one's life when a man has had enough of those things 
is the next best voyage, as the saying is" (ix. 2). 

"Enough of this wretched life, and murmuring, and 
apish trifles. Why art thou thus disturbed ? What is 
there new in this? What unsettles thee? . . . 
Towards the gods, then, now become at last more 
simple and better " (ix. 37). The thought is like that 
which dominates through the Penitential Psalms of 
David that we may take refuge from men, their 
malignity, and their meanness, and find rest for our 
souls in God. From men David has wo hope; mock- 
ery, treachery, injustice, are all that he expects from 
them the bitterness of his enemies, the far-off indiffer- 
ence of his friends. JSTor does this greatly trouble him, 
so long as he does not wholly lose the light of God's 
countenance. " I had no place to flee unto, and no 
man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord, 
and said, Thou art my hope, and my portion in the 
land of the living." " Cast me not away from Thy 
presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me." 

But whatever may have been his impulse at times 
to give up in despair all attempt to improve the " little 
breed " of men around him, Marcus had schooled his 
gentle spirit to live continually in far other feelings. 
Were men contemptible ? It was all the more reason 
why he should himself be noble. Were men petty, 


and malignant, and passionate, and unjust ? In that 
proportion were they all the more marked out for pity 
and tenderness, and in that proportion was he bound 
to the utmost of his ability to show himself great, and 
forgiving, and calm, and true. Thus Marcus turns his 
very bitterest experience to gold, and from the vile^ 
ness of others, which depressed his lonely life, so far 
from suffering himself to be embittered as well as 
saddened, he only draws fresh lessons of humanity and 

He says, for instance, " Begin the morning by saying 
to thyself, J shall meet with the busybody, the tmgrate- 
ful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these 
things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of 
what is good and evil. But I w T ho have seen the 
nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad 
that it is ugly, and the nature of him that does wrong 
that is akin to me, . . . and that it partakes of 
the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be 
injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what 
is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate 
him. For we are made for co operation, like feet, like 
hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and 
lower teeth. To act against one another then is con- 
trary to nature ; and it is acting against one another 
to be vexed and turn away " (ii. 1). Another of his 
rules, and an eminently wise one, was to fix his 
thoughts as much as possible on the virtues of others, 
rather than on their vices. " When thou wishest to 
delight thyself, think of the virtues of those who live 
with thee the activity of one, the modesty of another, 
the liberality of a third, and some other good quality 
of a fourth." What a rebuke to the contemptuous 


cynicism which we are daily tempted to display ! "An 
infinite being comes before us," says Eobertson, " with 
a whole eternity wrapped up in his mind and soul, and 
we proceed to classify him, put a label upon him, as we 
would upon ajar, saying, This is rice, that is jelly, and 
this pomatum ; and then we think we have saved our- 
selves the necessity of taking off the cover. How 
differently our Lord treated the people who came to 
Him! . . . consequently, at His touch each one 
gave out his peculiar spark of light." 

Here, again, is a singularly pithy, comprehensive, 
and beautiful piece of advice : 

" Men exist for the sake of one another. Teach them 
or hear with them " (viii. 59). 

And again : " The best way of avenging thyself is 
not to become like the wrong doer." 

And again, " If any man has done wrong, the harm 
is his own. But perhaps he has not done wrong" 
(ix. 38). 

Most remarkable, however, are the nine rules which 
he drew up for himself, as subjects for reflection when 
any one had offended him, viz. : 

1. That men were made for each other : even the 
inferior for the sake of the superior, and these for the 
sake of one another. 

2. The invincible influences that act upon men, and 
mold their opinions and their acts. 

3. That sin is mainly error and ignorance an invol- 
untary slavery. 

4. That we are ourselves feeble, and by no means 
immaculate ; and that often our very abstinence from 
faults is due more to cowardice and a care for our 
reputation than to any freedom from the disposition to 
commit them. 


5. That our judgments are apt to be very rash and 
premature. " And in short a man must learn a great 
deal to enable him to pass a correct judgment on 
another man's acts." 

6. When thou art much vexed or grieved, consider 
that man's life is only a moment, and after a short 
time we are all laid out dead. 

7. That no wrongful act of another can bring shame 
on us, and that it is not men's acts which disturb us, 
but our own opinions of them. 

8. That our own anger hurts us more than the acts 

9. That benevolence is invincible, if it be not an 
affected smile, nor acting a part. " For what will the 
most violent man do to thee if thou continuest benevo- 
lent to him? gently and calmly correcting him, ad- 
monishing him when he is trying to do thee harm, 
saying, ' Not so, my child: we are constituted by nature 
for something else: I shall certainly not be injured, but 
thou art injuring thyself, my child.'' And show him 
with gentle tact and by general principles that this is 
so, and that even bees do not do as he does, nor any 
gregarious animal. And this you must do simply, 
unreproachfully, affectionately ; without rancor, and 
if possible when you and he are alone" (xi. 18). 

''Not so, my child; thou art injuring thyself, my 
child." Can all antiquity show anything tenderer 
than this, or anything more close to the spirit of 
Christian teaching than these nine rules ? They were 
worthy of the men who, unlike the Stoics in general, 
considered gentleness to be a virtue, and a proof at 
once of philosophy and of true manhood. They are 
written with that effusion of sadness and benevolence 
to which it is difficult to find a parallel. They show 


how completely Marcus had triumphed over all petty 
malignity, and how earnestly he strove to fulfill his 
own precept of always keeping the thoughts so sweet 
and clear, that " if any one should suddenly ask, 
'What hast thou now in thy thoughts ? with perfect 
openness thou mightest immediately answer, ' This or 
that.' " In short, to give them their highest praise, 
they would have delighted the great Christian Apostle 
who wrote : 

"Warn them that they are unruly, comfort the 
feeble minded, support the weak, be patient toward all 
men. See that none render evil for evil unto any 
man; but ever follow that which is good, both among 
yourselves, and to all men " (1 Thess. iv. 14, 15). 

"Count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as 
a brother" (2 Thess. iv. 15). 

" Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, 
if any man have a quarrel against any " (Col. iii. 13). 

Kay, are they not even in full accordance with the 
mind and spirit of Him who said : 

" If thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell 
him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall 
hear thee thou hast gained thy brother" 

In the life of Marcus Aurelius, as in so many lives, 
we are able to trace the great law of compensation. 
His exalted station, during the later years of his life, 
threw him among many who were false and Phari- 
saical and base ; but his youth had been spent under 
happier conditions, and this saved him from falling 
into the sadness of those whom neither man nor 
woman please. In his earlier years it had been his lot 
to see the fairer side of humanity, and the recollection 
of those pure and happy days was like a healing tree 
thrown into the bitter and turbid waters of his reign. 





Marcus was now the undisputed lord of the Roman 
world. lie was seated on the dizziest and most 
splendid eminence which it was possible for human 
grandeur to obtain. 

But this imperial elevation kindled no glow of pride 
or self-satisfaction in his meek and chastened nature. 
Herjgarded himself as being in fact the servant o_ 

alir~jEvaOiII25^^ h e r(i > 

or the ram among the flock s, to confro nt everyjjeril in 
his ow n per son J to__bg_f preniost in all the jiardships of _, 
war and J^ejxu2stjLleeply-4mam 

peace. The registry of the citizens, the suppression of 
litigation, the elevation of public morals, the restrain- 
ing of consanguineous marriages, the care of minors, 
the retrenchment of public expenses, the limitation of 
gladiatorial games and shows, the care of roads, the 
restoration of senatorial privileges, the appointment of 
none but worthy magistrates, even the regulation of 
street traffic these and numberless other duties so 
completely absorbed his attention that, in spite of in- 
different health, they often kept him at severe labor 
from early morning till long after midnight. His posi- 
tion indeed often necessitated his presence at games 
and shows, but on these occasions he occupied himself 


either in reading, or being read to, or in writing notes. 
He was one of those who held that nothing should be 
done hastily, and that few crimes were worse than the 
waste of time. It is to such views and such habits 
that we owe the compositions of his works. His 
meditations were written amid the painful self-denial 
and distracting anxieties of his wars with the Quadi 
and the Marcomanni, and he was the author of other 
works which unhappily have perished. Perhaps of all 
the lost treasures of antiquity there are few which Ave 
should feel a greater wish to recover than the lost 
autobiography of this wisest of emperors and holiest 
of Pagan men. 
" As for the external trappings of his rank those 

gorgeous adjuncts and pompous circumstances which 

excite the wonder and envy of mankind no man could 

have shown himself more indifferent to them. He 

recognized indeed the necessity of maintaining the 

dignity of his high position. "Every moment," he 

says, " think steadilv as a Roman and a man to do 

. ... 

what thou hast in hand with perfect and simple dignity, 

and affection, and freedom, and justice" (ii. 5) ; and 
again, " Let the Deity which is in thee be the guardian 
of a living being, manly and of ripe age, and engaged 
in matters political, and a Roman, and a ruler, who 
has taken his post like a man waiting for the signal 
which summons him from life" (iii. 5). But he did 
not think it necessary to accept the fulsome honors 
and degrading adulations which were so dear to many 
of his predecessors. He refused the pompous blas- 
phemy of temples and altars, saying that for every 
true ruler the world was a temple, and all good men 
were priests. He declined as much as possible all 


golden statues and triumphal designations. All inevit- 
able luxuries and splendor, such as his public duties 
rendered indispensable, he regarded as a mere hollow 
show. Marcus Aurelius felt as deeply as our own 
Shakespeare seems to have felt the unsubstantiality, 
the fleeting evanescence of all earthly things ; he would 
have delighted in the sentiment that, 

" We are such, stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded by a sleep. " 

" When we have meat before us," he says, " and such 
eatables, we receive the impression that this is the 
dead body of a fish, and this is the dead body of a 
bird, or of a pig ; and, again, that this Falerian is only 
a little grape-jtcice, and this purple robe some sheep's 
wool dyed with the Mood of a shell-fish : such then are 
these impressions, and they reach the things them- 
selves and penetrate them, and so we see what kind of 
things they are. Just in the same way . . . where 
there are things which appear most worthy of our 
approbation, we ought to lay them bare, and look at 
their worthlessness, and strip them of all the words by 
which they are exalted " (vi. 13). 

" What is worth being valued ? To be received with 
clapping of hands ? No. Neither must we value the 
clapping of tongues, for the praise which comes from 
the many is a clapping of tongues " (vi. 16). 

" x\sia, Europe, are corners of the universe ; all the 
sea is a drop in the universe ; Athos a little clod of the 
universe ; all the present time is a point in eternity. 
All things are little, changeable, perishable " (vi. 36). 


And to Marcus too, no less than to Shakespeare, it 
seemed that 

"All the world's a stage, 
And all the men and women merely players;" 

for he writes these remarkable words : 

" The idle business of show, plays on the stage, flocks 
of sheep, herds, exercises with spears, a bone cast to little 
dogs, a bit of bread in fish-ponds, labor ings of ants, and 
burden - carrying runnings about of frightened little 
mice, puppets pulled by strings this is what life 
resembles. It is thy duty then, in the midst of such 
things, to show good humor, and not a proud air ; to 
understand, however, that every man is worth just so 
much as the things are worth about which he busies 

In fact, the Court was to Marcus a burden ; he tells 
us himself that Philos^phy_jras his moth er, E mpire 
on!y J3Js.te jmiot h4_it was only his repose in the one 
that rendered even tolerable to him the burdens of the 
other. Emperor as he was, he thanked the gods for 
having enabled him to enter into the souls of a 
Thrasea, an Helvidius, a Cato, a Brutus. Above all, 
he seems to have had a horror of ever becoming like 
some of his predecessors ; he writes : 

" Take care that thou art not made into a Caesar ; * 
take care thou art not dyed with this dye. Keep thy- 
self then simple, good, pure, serious, free from affecta- 
tion, a friend of justice, a worshipper of the gods, 
kind, affectionate, strenuous in all proper acts. Eever- 
ence the gods and help men. Short is life. There is 

* Marcus here invents what M. Martha justly calls "an admir- 
able barbarism" to express his disgust towards such men opa 
ft?) ccTtvKaidaoGjQt/S "take care not to be Ccesarisecl." 


only one fruit of this terrene life / a pious disposition 
and social acts " (iv. 19). 

It is the same conclusion as that which sorrow forced 
from another weary and less admirable king : " Let us 
hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, 
and keep His commandments ; for this is the whole 
duty of man." 

But it is time for us to continue the meager record 
of the life of Marcus, so far as the bare and gossiping 
compilations of Dion Cassius,* and Capitolinus, and the 
scattered allusions of other writers can enable us to do 

SO. ^ . Jv, 

It must have been with a heavy heart that he set \> v 
out once more for German}^ to face the dangerous^ 
rising of the Quadi and Marcomanni. To obtain sol- 
diers sufficient to fill up the vacancies in his army 
\^ which had been decimated by the plague, he was 
forced to enroll slaves, and to obtain money he had to 
sell the ornaments of the palace, and even some of the 
Empress' jewels. Immediately before he started his 
heart was wrung by the death of his little boy, the 
y twin-brother of Commodus, whose beautiful features 
are still preserved for us on coins. Early in the war, 
as he was trying the depth of a ford, he was assailed 
by the enemy with a sudden storm of missiles, and was 
only saved from imminent death by being sheltered 
beneath the shields of his soldiers. One battle was 
fought on the ice of the wintry Danube. But by far 
the most celebrated event of the war took place in a 
great victory over the Quadi which he won in a. d. 
174, and which was attributed by the Christians to 

* As epitomized by Xipbilinus. 


* ^ 

what is known as the "Miracle of the Thunderim: 

Divested of all extraneous additions, the fact which 
v^' occurred as established by the evidence of medals, 
and by one of the bassi-relievi on the " Column of 
^^ Antonine," appears to have been as follows. Marcus 
Aurelius and his army had been entangled in a mount- 
ain defile, into which they had too hastily pursued a 
sham retreat of the barbarian archers. In this defile, 
unable either to fight or to fly, pent in by the enemy, 
burnt up with the scorching heat and tormented by 
thirst, they lost all hope, burst into wailing and 
groans, and yielded to a despair from which not even 
the strenuous efforts of Marcus could arouse them. 
At the most critical moment of their danger and 
misery the clouds began to gather, and heavy showers 
of rain descended, which the soldiers caught in their 
shields and helmets to quench their own thirst and 
that of their horses. While they were thus engaged 
the enemy attacked them ; but the rain was mingled 
with hail, and fell with blinding fury in the faces of 
the barbarians. The storm was also accompanied 
with thunder and lightning, which seems to have 
damaged the enemy, and filled them with terror, while 
no casualty occurred in the Eoman ranks. The Romans 
accordingly regarded this as a Divine interposition, 
and achieved a most decisive victory, which proved to 
be the practical conclusion of a hazardous and impor- 
tant war. 

The Christians regarded the event not as providential 
but as miraculous, and attributed it to the prayers of 
their brethren in a legion which, from this circum- 
stance, received the name of the " Thundering Legion." 


It is, however, now known that one of the legions, 
distinguished by a flash of lightning which was rep- 
resented on their shields, had been known by this 
name since the time of Augustus ; and the Pagans 
themselves attributed the assistance which they had 
received sometimes to a prayer of the pious Emperor 
and sometimes to the incantations of an Egyptian 
sorcerer named Arnuphis. 

One of the Fathers, the passionate and eloquent Ter- 
tullian, attributes to this deliverance an interposition 
of the Emperor in favor of the Christians, and appeals 
to a letter of his to the Senate in which he acknowl- 
edged how effectual had been the aid he had received 
from Christian prayers, and forbade any one hereafter 
to molest the followers of the new religion, lest they 
should use against him the weapon of supplication 
which had been so powerful in his favor. This letter 
is preserved at the end of the Apology of Justin Mar- 
tyr, and it adds that, not only are no Christians to be 
injured or persecuted, but that any one who informed 
against them is to be buried alive ! We see at once 
that this letter is one of those impudent and transpar- 
ent forgeries in which the literature of the first five 
centuries unhappily abounds. What was the real 
relation of Marcus to the Christians we shall consider 

To the gentle heart of Marcus, all war, "even when 
accompanied with victories, was eminently distasteful ; 
and in such painful and ungenial occupations no small 
part of his life was passed. What he thought of war 
and of its successes is graphically set forth in the fol- 
lowing remark : 

" A spider is proud when it has caught a fly, and an- 


other when he lias caught a poor hare, and another 
when he has taken a little fish in a net, and another 
when he has taken wild boars or bears, and another 
when he has taken Sarmatians. Are not these robbers, 
when thou examinest their principles ?" He here con- 
demns his own involuntary actions ; but it was his un- 
happy destiny not to have trodden out the embers of 
this war before he was burdened with another far 
more painful and formidable. 

This was the revolt of Avidius Cassius, a general 01 

j the old blunt Roman type, whom, in spite of some 

ominous warnings, Marcus both loved and trusted. 

\ The ingratitude displaj^ed by such a man caused Mar- 

fr, cus the deepest anguish ; but he was saved from all 

^*-v dangerous consequences by the wide-spread affection 

v which he had inspired by his virtuous reign. 

The very soldiers of the rebellious general fell away 
^ > from him ; and, after he had been a nominal Emperor 
^ v^for only three months and six days, he was assassinated 
. by some of his own officers. His head was sent to 
V * ^ 3 Marcus, who received it with sorrow, and did not hold 
vy ~ out to the murderers the slightest encouragement, 
yj ^ ^< The joy of success was swallowed up in regret that 
;, his enemy had not lived to allow him the luxury of a 
. genuine forgiveness. He begged the Senate to pardon 
> all the family of Cassius, and to suffer this single lile 
to be the only one forfeited in consequence of civil 
* war. The Fathers received these proofs of clemency 
with the rapture which they deserved, and the Senate- 
house resounded with acclamations and blessings. 

Never had a formidable conspiracy been more quietly 
and effectually crashed. Marcus traveled through the 
provinces which had favored the cause of Avidius 


Cassius, and treated them all with the most complete 
and indulgent forbearance. When he arrived in Syria, 
the correspondence of Cassius was brought to hin, 
and, with a glorious magnanimity of which history 
affords but few examples, he consigned it all to the 
flames unread. 

During this journey of pacification, he lost his wife 
Faustina, who died suddenly in one of the valleys of 
Mount Taurus. History, or the collection of anecdotes 
which at this period often passes as history, has 
assigned to Faustina a character of the darkest in- 
famy, and it has even been made a charge against 
Aurelius that he overlooked or condoned her offences. 
As far as Faustina is concerned, we have not much to 
say, although there is strong reason to believe that 
many of the stories told of her are scandalously 
exaggerated, if not absolutely false. Certain it is, that 
most of the imputations upon her memory rest on the 
malignant anecdotes recorded by -Dion, who dearly 
loved every piece of scandal which degraded human 
nature. The specific charge brought against her of 
having tempted Cassius from his allegiance is wholly 
unsupported, even if it be not absolutely incompatible 
with what we find in her own extant letters ; and, 
finally, Marcus himself not only loved her tenderly, as 
the kind mother of his eleven children, but in his 
Meditations actually thanks the gods for having granted 
him " such a wife, so obedient, so affectionate, and so 
simple." No doubt Faustina was unworthy of her 
husband ; but surely it is the glory and not the shame 
of a noble nature to be averse from jealousy and 
suspicion, and to trust to others more deeply than they 


So blameless was the conduct of Marcus Aureliua 
that neither the malignity of contemporaries nor the 
spirit of posthumous scandal has succeeded in discover- 
ing any flaw in the extreme integrity of his life and 
principles. But meanness will not be balked of its 
victims. The hatred of all excellence which made 
Caligula try to put down the memory of great men 
rages, though less openly, in the minds of many. 
They delight to degrade human life into that dull and 
barren plain " in which every molehill is a mountain, 
and every thistle a forest-tree." Great men are as 
small in their eyes as they are said to be in the eyes of 
their valets; and there are multitudes who, if they 

" Some stain or blemish in a name of note, 
Not grieving that their greatest are so small, 
Innate themselves with some insane delight, 
And judge all nature from her feet of clay, 
Without the will to lift their eyes, and see 
Her godlike head crown'd with spiritual fire, 
And touching other worlds. " 

This I suppose is the reason why, failing to drag 
down Marcus Aurelius from his moral elevation, some 
have attempted to assail his reputation because of the 
supposed vilenesr. of Faustina and the actual depravity 
of Commodus. Of Faustina I have spoken already. 
Respecting Commodus, I think it sufficient to ask with 
Solomon : " Who knoweth whether his son shall be a 
wise man or a fool?" Commodus was but nineteen 
when his father died ; for the first three years of his 
reign he ruled respectably and acceptably. Marcus 
Aurelius had left no effort untried to have him trained 
aright by the first teachers and the wisest men whom 
the age produced ; and Herodian distinctly tells us 



that he had lived virtuously up to the time of his 
father's death. Setting aside natural affection alto- 
gether, and even assuming (as I should conjecture from 
one or two passages of his Meditations) that Marcus 
had misgivings about his son, would it have been easy, 
would it have been even possible, to set aside on gen- 
eral grounds a son who had attained to years of 
maturity? However this may be, if there are any 
who think it w r orth w T hile to censure Marcus because, 
after all, Commodus turned out to be but " a warped 
slip of wilderness," their censure is hardly sufficiently 
discriminating to deserve the trouble of refutation. 

; ' But Marcus Aurelius cruelly persecuted the Chris- 
tians." Let us briefly consider this charge. That 
persecutions took place in his reign is an undeniable 
fact, and is sufficiently evidenced by the Apologies of 
Justin Martyr, of Melito, Bishop of Sardis, of Athena- 
goras, and of Apollinarius, as well as by the Letter of 
the Church of Smyrna describing the martyrdom of 
Polycarp, and that of the Churches of Lyons and 
Vienne to their brethren in Asia Minor. It is fair, 
however, to mention that there is some documentary 
evidence on the other side ; Lactantius clearly asserts 
that under the reigns of those excellent princes who 
succeeded Domitian the Church suffered no violence 
from her enemies, and " spread her hands toward the 
East and the West ;" Tertullian, writing but twenty 
years after the death of Marcus, distinctly says (and 
Eusebius quotes the assertion), that there were letters 
of the Emperor, in which he not only attributed his 
delivery among the Quadi to the prayers of Christian 
soldiers in the Thundering Legion," but ordered any 
who informed against the Christians to be most 


severely punished ; and at the end of the works of 
Justin Martyr is found a letter of similar purport, 
which is asserted to have been addressed by Marcus to 
the Senate of Eome. We may sot aside these peremp- 
tory testimonies, we may believe that Tertullian and 
Eusebius were mistaken, and that the documents to 
which they referred were spurious ; but this should 
make us also less certain about the prominent participa- 
tion of the Emperor in these persecutions. My own 
belief is (and it is a belief which could be supported by 
many critical arguments), that his share in causing 
them was almost infinitesimal. If those who love his 
memory reject the evidence of Fathers in his favor, 
they may be at least permitted to withhold assent from 
some of the assertions in virtue of which he is con- 

Marcus in his Meditations alludes to the Christians 
once only, and then it is to make a passing complaint 
of the indifference to death, which appeared to him, as 
it appeared to Epictetus, to arise, not from any noble 
principles, but from mere obstinacy and perversity. 
That xie shared the profound dislike with which 
Christians were regarded is very probable. That he 
was a cold-blooded and virulent persecutor is utterly 
unlike his whole character, essentially at variance with 
his habitual clemency, alien to the spirit which made 
him interfere in every possible instance to mitigate the 
severity of legal punishments, and may in short be 
regarded as an assertion which is altogether false. 
Who will believe that a man who, during his reign, 
built and dedicated but one single temple, and that a 
Temple to Beneficence ; that a man who so far from 
showing any jealousy respecting foreign religions 


allowed honor to be paid to them all ; that a man 
whose writings breathe on every page the inmost spirit 
of philanthropy and tenderness, went out of his way 
to join in a persecution of the most innocent, the 
most courageous, and the most inoffensive of his 

The true state of the case seems to have been this. 
The deep calamities in w r hich, during the whole reign 
of Marcus, the Empire was involved, caused widespread 
distress, and roused into peculiar fury the feelings of 
the provincials against men whose atheism (for such 
they considered it to be) had kindled the anger of the 
gods. This fury often broke out into paroxysms of 
popular excitement, which none but the firmest-minded 
governors were able to moderate or to repress. Marcus, 
when appealed to, simply let the existing law take its 
usual course. That law was as old as the time of 
Trajan. The young Pliny, Governor of Bithynia, had 
written to ask Trajan how he was to deal with, the 
Christians, whose blamelessness of life he fully 
admitted, but whose doctrines, he said, had emptied 
the temples of the gods, and exasperated their wor- 
shipers. Trajan, in reply, had ordered that the 
Christians should not be sought for, but that, if they 
were brought before the governor, and proved to be 
contumacious in refusing to adjure their religion, they 
were then to be put to death. Hadrian and Pius Anto- 
ninus had continued the same policy, and Marcus Aure- 
lius saw no reason to alter it. But this law, which 
in quiet times might become a mere dead letter, might 
at more troubled periods be converted into a dangerous 
engine of persecution, as it was in the case of the 
venerable Polycarp, and in the unfortunate Churches 


of Lvons and Yienne. The Pao-ans believed that 
the reason why their gods were smiling in secret, 

" Looking over wasted lands, 
Blight and famine, plague and earthquake, roaring deeps and fiery 

Clanging fights, and flaming towns, and sinking ships, and praying 


was the unbelief and impiety of these hated Galileans, 
causes of offence which could only be expiated by the 
death of the guilty. " Their enemies," says Tertullian, 
" call aloud for the blood of the innocent, alleging this 
vain pretext for their hatred, that they believe the 
Christians to be the cause of every public misfortune. 
If the Tiber has overflowed its banks, or the Nile has 
not overflowed, if heaven has refused its rain, if famine 
or the plague has spread its ravages, the cry is imme- 
diate, ' The Christians to the lions.' " In the first 
three centuries the cry of "No Christianity" became 
at times as brutal, as violent, and as unreasoning as 
the cry of " No Popery " has often been in modern 
days. It was infinitely less disgraceful to Marcus to 
lend his ear to the one than it has been to some emi- 
nent modern statesmen to be carried away by the 
insensate fury of the other. 

To what extent is Marcus Aurelius to be condemned 
for the martyrdoms which took place in his reign ? 
Not, I think, heavily or indiscriminately, or with vehe- 
ment sweeping censure. Common justice surely de- 
mands that we should not confuse the present with the 
past, or pass judgment on the conduct of the Emperor 
as though he were living in the nineteenth century, 
or as though he had been acting in full cognizance of 
the Gospels and the stories of the Saints. Wise and 


good men before him had, in their haughty ignorance, 
spoken of Christianity with execration and contempt. 
The philosophers who surrounded his throne treated 
it with jealousy and aversion. The body of the nation 
firmly believed the current rumors which charged its 
votaries with horrible midnight assemblies, rendered 
infamous by Thyestian banquets and the atrocities of 
nameless superstitions. These foul calumnies these 
hideous charges of cannibalism and incest were sup- 
ported by the reiterated perjury of slaves under tort- 
ure, which in that age, as well as long afterward, was 
preposterously regarded as a sure criterion of truth. 

Christianity in that day was confounded with a multi- 
tude of debased and foreign superstitions; and the 
Emperor in his judicial capacity, if he ever encountered 
Christians at all, was far more likely to encounter 
those who were unworthy of the name, than to be- 
come acquainted with the meek, unworldly, retiring 
virtues of the calmest, the holiest, and the best. When 
we have given their due weight to considerations such 
as these we shall be ready to pardon Marcus Aure- 
lius for having, in this matter, acted ignorantly, 
and to admit that in persecuting Christianity he may 
most honestly have thought that he was doing God 
service. The very sincerity of his belief, the conscien- 
tiousness of his rule, the intensity of his philanthropy, 
the grandeur of his own philosophical tenets, all con- 
spired to make him a worse enemy of the Church than 
a brutal Commodus or a disgusting Heliogabalus. 
And yet that there was not in him the least propensity 
to persecute ; that these persecutions were for the most 
part spontaneous and accidental ; that they were in 
no measure due to his direct instigation, or in special 


accordance with his desire, is clear from the fact thai 
the martyrdoms took place in Gaul and Asia Minor, 
not in Rome. There must have been hundreds of 
Christians in Rome, and under the very eye of the 
Emperor ; nay, there were even multitudes of 
Christians in his own army ; yet we never hear of his 
having molested any of them. Melito, Bishop of 
Sardis, in addressing the Emperor, expresses a doubt 
as to whether he was really aware of the manner in 
which his Christian subjects were treated. Justin 
Martyr, in his Apology, addresses him in terms of per- 
fect confidence and deep respect. In short he was in 
this matter " blameless, but unfortunate." It is 
painful to think that the venerable Polycarp and the 
thoughtful Justin may have forfeited their lives foi 
their principles, not only in the reign of so good a 
man, but even by virtue of his authority ; but we must 
be very uncharitable or very unimaginative if we can 
not readily believe that, though they had received the 
crown of martyrdom from his hands, the redeemed 
spirits of those great martyrs would have been the 
first to welcome this holiest of the heathen into the 
presence of a Saviour whose Church he persecuted, but 
to whose indwelling Spirit his virtues were due, whom 
ignorantly and unconsciously he worshiped, and 
whom, had he ever heard of Him and known Him, he 
would have loved in his heart and glorified by the con- 
sistency of his noble and stainless life. 

The persecution of the Churches in Lyons and 
Vienne happened in a. d. 177. Shortly after this 
period fresh wars recalled the Emperor to the North. 
It is said that, in despair of ever seeing him again, the 
chief men of Borne entreated him to address them his 


farewell admonitions, and that for three days he dis- 
coursed to them on philosophical questions. When he 
arrived at the seat of war, victory again crowned his 
arms. But Marcus was now getting old, and he was 
worn out with the toils, trials, and travels of his long 
and weary life. He sunk under mental anxieties and 
bodily fatigues, and after a brief illness died in Pan- 
nonia, either at Vienna or Sirmium, on March 17, a. d. 
180, in the fifty-ninth year of his age and the 
twentieth of his reign. 

Death to him was no calamity. He was sadly aware 
that " there is no man so fortunate that there shall 
not be by him when he is dying some who are pleased 
with what is going to happen. Suppose that he was a 
good and wise man, will there not be at least some one 
to say of him, ' Let us at last breathe freely, being 
relieved from this school-master. It is true that he 
was harsh to none of us, but I perceive that he tacitly 
condemns us.' . . . Thou wilt consider this when 
thou art dying, and will depart more contentedly by 
reflecting thus: ' I am going a,w&y from a life in which 
even my associates, on behalf of whom I have striven, 
and cared, and prayed so much, themselves wish me to 
depart, hoping perchance to get some little advantage 
by it.' "Why then should a man cling to a longer stay 
here ? Do not, however, for this reason go away less 
kindly disposed to them, but preserving thy own char- 
acter, and continuing friendly, and benevolent, and 
kindP And dreading death far less than he dreaded 
any departure from the laws of virtue, he exclaims, 
" Come quickly, O Death, for fear that at last I should 
forget myself !" This utterance has been well com- 
pared to the language which Bossuet put into the 


mouth of a Christian soul : " Death, thou dost not 
trouble my designs, thou accomplishest them. Haste, 
then, O favorable Death ! . . . Nunc Dimittis." 
A nobler, a gentler, a purer, a sweeter soul a soul 
less elated by prosperity, or more constant in adver- 
sity a soul more fitted by virtue, and chastity, and 
self-denial to enter into the eternal peace, never passed 
into the presence of its Heavenly Father. We are not 
surprised that all, whose means permitted it, possessed 
themselves of his statues, and that they were to be 
seen for years afterward among the household gods of 
heathen families, who felt themselves more hopeful 
and more happy from the glorious sense of possibility 
which was inspired by the memory of one who, in the 
midst of difficulties, and breathing an atmosphere 
heavy with corruption, yet showed himself so wise, so 
great, so good a man. 

O framed for nobler times and calmer hearts! 
O studious thinker, eloquent for truth! 
Philosopher, despising wealth and death, 
But patient, childlike, full of life and love! 




Empeeor as he was, Marcus Aurelius found himself 
in a hollow and trouhlous world ; but he did not give 
himself up to idle regret or querulous lamentations. 
If these sorrows and perturbations came from the 
gods, he kissed the hand that smote him ; " he deliv- 
ered up his broken sword to Fate the conquerer with 
a humble and a manly heart." In any case he had 
duties to do, and he set himself to perform them with 
a quiet heroism zealously, conscientiously, even 

The principles of the Emperor are not reducible to 
the hard and definite lines of a philosophic system. 
But the great laws which guided his actions and 
molded his views of life were few and simple, and in 
his book of Meditations, which is merely his private 
diary written to relieve his mind amid all the trials of 
war and government, he recurs to them again and 
again. " Plays, war, astonishment, torpor, slavery," 
he says to himself, " will wipe out those holy principles 
of thine;" and this is why he committed those princi- 
ples to writing. Some of these I have already adduced, 
and others 1 proceed to quote, availing myself, as 
before, of the beautiful and scholar-like translation of 
Mr. George Long. 

A U pain, and misfortune, and ugliness seemed to the 


Emperor to be most wisely regarded under a threefold 
aspect, namely, if considered in reference to the gods, 
as being due to laws beyond their control ; if consid- 
ered with reference to the nature of things, as being 
subservient and necessary; and if considered with 
reference to ourselves, as being dependent on the 
amount of indifference and fortitude with which we 
endure them. 

The following passages will elucidate these points of 

" The intelligence of the Universe is social. Accord- 
ingly it has made the inferior things for the sake of 
the superior, and it has fitted the superior to one 
another" (v. 30). 

" Things do not touch the soul, for they are eternal, 
and remain immovable; but our perturbations come 
only from the opinion which is within. . . . The 
Universe is Transformation; life is opinion'''' (iv. 3). 

"To the jaundiced honey tastes bitter, and to those 
bitten by mad dogs water causes fear ; and to little 
children the ball is a fine thing. Why, then, am I 
angry? Dost thou think that a false opinion has less 
power than the bile in the jaundiced, or the poison in 
him who is bitten by a mad dog" (vi. 51) ? 

"How easy it is to repel and to wipe away every 
impression which is troublesome and unsuitable, and 
immediately to be at tranquillity " (v. 2). 

The passages in which Marcus speaks of evil as a 
relative thing as being good in the making the 
unripe and bitter bud of that which shall be hereafter 
a beautiful flower although not expressed with per- 
fect clearness, yet indicate his belief that our view of 
evil things rises in great measure from our inability to 


perceive the great whole of which they are but sub- 
servient parts. 

" All things," he says " come from that universal 
ruling power, either directly or by way of consequence. 
And accordingly the liorCs gaping jaws, and that which 
is poisonous, and every hurtful thing, as a thorn, as 
mud, are after-products of the grand and beautiful. 
Do not therefore imagine that they are of another 
kind from that which thou dost venerate, but form a 
just opinion of the source of all." 

In another curious passage he says that all things 
which are natural and congruent with the causes which 
produce them have a certain beauty and attractiveness 
of their own ; for instance, the splittings and corruga- 
tions on the surface of bread when it has been baked. 
" And again, figs when they are quite ripe gape open ; 
and in the ripe olives the very circumstances of their 
being near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the 
fruit. And the ears of corn bending down, and the 
foWs eyebrows, and the foam which flows from the 
mouth of wild boars, and many other things though 
they are far from being beautiful, if a man should ex- 
amine them severally still, because they are conse- 
quent upon the things which are formed by nature, 
help to adorn them, and they please the mind ; so that 
if a man should have a feeling and deeper insight 
about the things found in the universe there is hardly 
one of those which follow by way of consequence which 
will not seem to him to be in a manner disposed so as 
to give pleasure " (iv. 2). 

This congruity to nature the following of nature, 
and obedience to all her laws is the key -formula to 
the doctrines of the Koman Stoics. 


" Everything which is in any way beautiful is beau- 
ful in itself, and terminates in itself, not having praise 
as part of itself. Neither worse, then, nor better is a 
thing made by being praised . . . Is such a thing 
as an emerald made worse than it was, if it is not 
praised f or gold, ivory, purple, a lyre, a little knife, a 
flower, a shrub V (iv. 20.) 

" Everything harmonizes with me which is harmoni- 
ous to thee, O Universe. Nothing for me is too early 
nor too late, which is in due time for thee. Every- 
thing is fruit to me which thy seasons bring, O Nature ! 
from thee are all things, in thee are all things, to thee 
all things return. The poet says, Dear city of Cecrops ; 
and wilt not thou say, Dear city of God ? n (iv. 23.) 

"Willingly give thyself up to fate, allowing her 
to spin thy thread into whatever thing she pleases " 
(iv. 34). 

And here, in a very small matter getting out of 
bed in a morning is one practical application of the 

"In the morning when thou risest unwillingly, let 
these thoughts be present, ' I am rising to the work of 
a human being. Why, then, am I dissatisfied if I am 
going to do the things for which I exist, and for which 
I was brought into the world? Or have I been made 
for this, to lie in the bedclothes and keep myself 
warm V ' But this is more pleasant.' Dost thou exist, 
then, to take thy pleasure, and not for action or exer- 
tion ? Dost thou not see the little plants, the little 
birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees, working together 
to put in order their several parts of the universe? 
And art thou unwilling to do the work of a human 
being, and dost thou not make haste to do that which 

BY CANON FARBAR. , , , 119 

is according to thy nature?" (v. 1.) ["Go to the ant, 
thou sluggard ; consider her ways, and be wise !"] 

The same principle, that Nature has assigned to us 
our proper place that a task has been given us to 
perform, and that our only care should be to perform 
it aright, for the blessing of the great Whole of which 
we are but insignificant parts dominates through the 
admirable precepts which the Emperor lays down for 
the regulation of our conduct toward others. Some 
men, he says, do benefits to others only because they 
expect a return ; some men even, if they do not 
demand any return, are not forgetful that they have 
rendered a benefit ; but others do not even know what 
they have done, but are like a vine which has produced 
grapes, and seeks for nothing more after it has pro- 
duced its proper fruit. So we ought to do good to 
others as simple and as naturally as a horse runs, or a 
bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes, season after 
season, without thinking of the grapes which it has 
borne. And in another passage, "What more dost 
thou want when thou hast done a service to another ? 
Art thou not content to have done an act conformable 
to thy nature, and must thou seek to be paid for it, 
just as if the eye demanded a reward for seeing, or the 
feet for walking ?" 

" Judge every word and deed which is according to 
nature to be fit for thee, and be not diverted by the 
blame which follows . . . but if a thing is good to 
be done or said, do not consider it unworthy of thee " 
(v. 3). 

Sometimes, indeed, Marcus Aurelius wavers. The 
evils of life overpower him. "Such as bathing appears 
to thee," he says, " oil, sweat, dirt, filthy water, all 


things disgusting so is every part of life and every > 
thing " (viii. 24) ; and again : " Of human life the time 
is a point, and the substance is in a flux, and the per- 
ception dull, and the composition of the whole body 
subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and 
fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of 
judgment." But more often he retains his perfect 
tranquillity, and says, " Either thou livest here, and 
hast already accustomed thyself to it, or thou art going 
away, and this was thine own will ; or thou art dying, 
and hast discharged thy duty. But besides these things 
there is nothing. Be of good cheer, then " (x. 22). 
"Take me, and cast me where thou wilt, for then I 
shall keep my divine part tranquil, that is, content, if 
it can feel and act conformably to its proper constitu- 
tion " (viii. 45). 

There is something delightful in the fact that even 
in the Stoic Philosophy there was some comfort to 
keep men from despair. To a holy and scrupulous 
conscience like that of Marcus, there would have been 
an inestimable preciousness in the Christian doctrine 
of the " forgiveness of the sins." Of that divine 
mercy of that sin-uncreating power the ancient 
world knew nothing ; but in Marcus we find some dim 
and faint adumbration of the doctrine, expressed in a 
manner which might at least breathe calm into the 
spirit of the philosopher, though it could never reach 
the hearts of the suffering multitude. For " suppose," 
he says, "that thou hast detached thyself from the 
natural unity for thou wast made by nature a part, 
but now hast cut thyself off yet here is the beautiful 
provision that it is in thy power again to unite thyself. 
God has allowed this to no other part after it has 


been separated and cut asunder, to come together 
ao-ain. But consider the goodness with vjhich lie has 
privileged man ; for He has put it in his power, when 
he has been separated, to return and to be reunited, and 
to resume his place." And elsewhere he says, " If you 
cannot maintain a true and magnanimous character, go 
courageously into some corner where you can main- 
tain them ; or if even there you fail, depart at once 
from life, not with passion, but with modest and 
simple freedom which will be to have done at least 
one laudable act." Sad that even to Marcus Aurelius 
death should have seemed the only refuge from the 
despair of ultimal e failure in the struggle to be wise 
and good ! 

Marcus valued temperance and self-denial as being 
the best means of keeping his heart strong and pure ; 
but we are glad to learn he did not value the rigors of 
asceticism. Life brought with it enough, and more 
than enough, of antagonism to brace his nerves; 
enough, and more than enough, of the rough wind of 
adversity in his face to make it unnecessary to add 
more by his own actions. " It is not fit," he says, 
"that I should give myself pain, for I have never 
intentionally given pain even to another " (viii. 42). 

It was a commonplace of ancient philosophy that 
the life of the wise man should be a contemplation of, 
and a preparation for, death. It certainly was so with 
Marcus Aurelius. The thoughts of the nothingness of 
man, and of that great sea of oblivion which shall 
hereafter swallow up all that he is and does, are ever 
present to his mind ; they are thoughts to which he 
recurs more constantly than any other, and from which 
he always draws the same moral lesson. 


" Since it is possible that thou mayest depart from 
life this very moment, regulate every act and thought 
accordingly. . . . Death certainly, and life, honor 
and dishonor, pain and pleasure, all these things happen 
equally to good men and bad, being things which 
make us neither better nor worse. Therefore they are 
neither good nor evil" (ii. 11). 

Elsewhere he says that Hippocrates cured diseases 
and died; and the Chaldasans foretold the future and 
died ; and Alexander, and Pompey, and Ccesar killed 
thousands, and then died ; and lice destroyed Demo- 
critus, and other lice killed Socrates ; and Augustus, 
and his wife, and daughter, and all his descendants, 
and all his ancestors, are dead ; and Vespasian and all 
his Court, and all who in his day feasted, and married, 
and were sick, and chaffered, and fought, and flattered, 
and plotted, and grumbled, and wished other people to 
die, and pined to become kings or consuls, are dead ; 
and all the idle people who are doing the same things 
now are doomed to die; and all human things are 
smoke, and nothing at all ; and it is not for us, but for 
the gods, to settle whether we play the play out, or 
only a part of it. " There are many grains of frankin- 
cense on the same altar ; one, falls before, another falls 
after ; but it makes no difference" And the moral of 
all these thoughts is, " Death hangs over thee while 
thou livest; while it is in thy power be good " (iv. 17). 
"Thou hast embarked, thou hast made the voyage, 
thou hast come to shore; get out. If, indeed, to 
another life there is no want of gods, not even there. 
But if to a state without sensation, thou wilt cease to 
be held by pains and pleasures" (iii. 3). 
Nor was Marcus at all comforted under present 


annoyances by the thought of posthumous fame. 
" How ephemeral and worthless human things are," 
he says, " and what was yesterday a little mucus, to- 
morrow will be a mummy or ashes." " Many who 
are now praising thee, will very soon blame thee, and 
neither a posthumous name is of any value, nor repu- 
tation, nor anything else." What has become of all 
great and famous men, and all they desired, and all 
they loved ? They are " smoke, and ash, and a tale, 
or not even a tale." After all their rages and envy- 
ings, men are stretched out quiet and dead at last. 
Soon thou wilt have forgotten all, and soon all will 
have forgotten thee. But here, again, after such 
thoughts, the same moral is always introduced again : 
" Pass then through the little space of time conform- 
ably to nature, and end the journey in content, just as 
an olive falls of when it is ripe, blessing nature who 
produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew." 
" One thing only troubles me, lest I should do some- 
thing which the constitution of man does not allow, 
or in the way which it does not allow, or what it does 
not allow now." 

To quote the thoughts of Marcus Aurelius is to me 
a fascinating task. But I have already let him speak 
so largely for himself that by this time the reader will 
have some conception of his leading motives. It only 
remains to adduce a few more of the weighty and 
golden sentences in which he lays down his rule of life. 

" To say all in a word, everything which belongs to 
the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is 
a dream and vapor; and life is a warfare, and a 
stranger's sojourn, and after fame is oblivion. What, 
then, is that which is able to enrich a man? One 


thing, and only one philosophy. But this consists in 
keeping the guardian spirit within a man free from 
violence and unharmed, superior to pains and pleas- 
ures, doing nothing without a purpose, nor yet falsely, 
ind with hypocrisy . . . accepting all that happens 
and all that is allotted . . . and finally waiting 
for death with a cheerful mind" (ii. IT). 

" If thou findest in human life anything better than 
justice, truth, temperance, fortitude, and, in a word, 
than thine own soul's satisfaction in the things which 
"t enables thee to do according to right reason, and in 
the condition that is assigned to thee without thy own 
choice ; if, I say, thou seest anything better than this, 
turn to it with all thy soul, and enjoy that which thou 
hast found to be the best. But ... if thou find- 
est everything else smaller and of less value than this, 
give place to nothing else. . . . Simply and freely 
choose the better, and hold to it " (iii. 6). 

" Body, soul, intelligence : to the body belong sensa- 
tions, to the soul appetites, to the intelligence princi- 
ples." To be impressed by the senses is peculiar to 
animals; to be pulled by the strings of desire belongs 
to effeminate men, and to men like Phalaris or Nero ; 
to be guided only by intelligence belongs to atheists 
and traitors, and "men who do their impure deeds 
when they have shut the doors. . . . There 
remains that which is peculiar to the good man, to he 
pleased and content with what happens, and with the 
thread which is spun for him ; and not to defile the 
divinity which is planted in his breast, nor disturb it 
by a crowd of images ; but to preserve it tranquil, 
following it obediently as a god, neither saying any- 
thing contrary to truth, nor doing anything contrary 
to justice " (iii. 16). 


"Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the 
country, sea-shores, and mountains, and thou too art 
wont to desire such things very much. But this is 
altogether a mark of the commonest sort of men, for 
it is in thy power whenever thou shalt chose to retire 
into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or 
with more freedom does a man retire than into his own- 
soid, particularly when he has within him such 
thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately 
in perfect tranquillity, which is nothing else than the 
good ordering of the mind " (iv. 3). 

" Unhappy am I, because this has happened to me ? 
Not so, but happy am I though this has happened to 
me, because I continue free from pain ; neither 
crushed by the present, nor fearing the future " 
(iv. 19). 

It is just possible that in some of these passages 
some readers may detect a trace of painful self-con- 
sciousness, and imagine that they detect a little grain 
of self-complacence. Something of self consciousness 
is perhaps inevitable in the diary and examination of 
his own conscience by one who sat on such a lonely 
height ; but self-complacency there is none. Nay, there 
is sometimes even a cruel sternness in the way in which 
the Emperor speaks of his own self. He certainly 
dealt not with himself in the manner of a dissembler 
with God. " When," he says (x. 8), " thou hast assumed 
the names of a man who is good, modest, rational, 
magnanimous, cling to those names ; and if thou 
shouldst lose them, quickly return to them. . . . 
For to continue to he such as thou hast hitherto been, and 
to be torn in pieces, and defiled in such a life, is the 
character of a very stupid man, and one over-fond of 


his life, and like those half -devoured fighters with wild 
heasts, who, though covered with wounds and gore, still 
entreat to he kept till the following day, though they 
will he exposed in the same state to the same claws and 
hltes. Therefore fix thyself in the possession of these 
few names: and if thou art able to abide in them, 
abide as if thou were removed to the Islands of the 
Blest." Alas ! to Aurelius, in this life, the Islands of 
the Blest were very far away. Heathen philosophy 
was exalted and eloquent, but all its votaries were sad ; 
to " the peace of God, which passeth all understand- 
ing," it was not given them to attain. We see Marcus 
" wise, self-governed, tender, thankful, blameless," says 
Mr. Arnold, "yet with all this agitated, stretching out 
his arms for something beyond tendentemque manue 
ripcB idterioris amoreP 

I will quote, in conclusion, but three short precepts : 

" Be cheerful, and seek not external help, nor the 
tranquillity which others give. A man must stand 
erect, not he kept erect hy others" (iv. 5). 

" Be like the promontory against which the waves con- 
tinually break, hut it stands firm and tames the fury of 
the water around it " (iv. 49). 

This comparison has been used many a time since 
the days of Marcus Aurelius. The reader will at once 
recall Goldsmith's famous lines : 

" As some tall cliff that rears its awful form, 
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, 
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, 
Eternal sunshine settles on its head. " j 

" Short is the little that remains to thee of life. I 
Live as on a mountain. For it makes no difference 
whether a man lives there or here, if he lives every- 


where in the world as in a civil community. Let men 
see, let them know a real man who lives as he was 
meant to live. If they cannot endure him, let them 
kill him. For that is better than to live as men do " 
(x. 15). 

Such were some of the thoughts which Marcus 
Aurelius wrote in his diary after days of battle with 
the Quadi, and the Marcomanni, and the Sarmatae. 
Isolated from others no less by moral grandeur than 
by the supremacy of his sovereign rank, he sought the 
society of his own noble soul. I sometimes imagine 
that I see him seated on the borders of some gloomy 
Pannonian forest or Hungarian marsh ; through the 
darkness the watch-fires of the enemy gleam in the dis- 
tance ; but both among them, and in the camp around 
him, every sound is hushed, except the tread of the 
sentinel outside the imperial tent ; and in that tent 
long after midnight sits the patient Emperor by the 
light of his solitary lamp, and ever and anon, amid his 
lonely musings, he pauses to write down the pure and 
holy thoughts which shall better enable him, even in a 
Roman palace, even on barbarian battle-fields, daily to 
tolerate the meanness and the malignity of the men 
around him ; daily to amend his own shortcomings, 
and, as the sun of earthly life begins to set, daily to 
draw nearer and nearer to the Eternal Light. And 
when I thus think of him, I know not whether the 
whole of heathen antiquity, out of its gallery of stately 
and royal figures, can furnish a nobler, or purer, or 
more lovable picture than that of this crowned 
philosopher and laurelled hero, who was yet one of 
the humblest and one of the most enlightened of all 
ancient " Seekers after God." 



Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 


From my grandfather Verus* [I learned] good 
morals and the goverment of my temper. 

2. From the reputation and remembrance of my 
father,:}: modesty and a manly character. 

3. From my mother, piety and beneficence, and 
abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from 
evil thoughts; and further simplicity in my way of 
living, far removed from the habits of the rich. 

4. From my great-grandfather, | not to have fre- 
quented public schools, and to have had good teachers 
at home, and to know that on such things a man should 
spend liberally. 

* Annius Verus was his grandfather's name. There is no verb in 
this section connected with the word "from," nor in the following 
sections of this book; and it is not quite certain what verb should be 
supplied. What I have added may express the meaning here, though 
there are sections which it will not fit. If he does not mean to say- 
that he learned of these good things from the several persons whom 
he mentions, he means that he observed certain good qualities in 
them, or received certain benefits from them, and it is implied that 
he was the better for it, or at least might have been; for it would be 
a mistake to understand Marcus as saying that he possessed all the 
virtues which he observed in his kinsmen and teachers. 

% His father's name was Annius Verus. 

His mother was Domitia Calvilla, named also Lucilla. 

| Perhaps his mother's grandfather, Catilius Severus. 


5. From my governor, to be neither of the green nor 
of the blue party at the games in the Circus, nor a 
partizan either of the Parmularius or the Scutarius at 
the gladiators' fights ; from him too I learned endurance 
of labor, and to want little, and to work with my own 
hands, and not to meddle with other people's affairs, 
and not to be ready to listen to slander. 

6. From Diognetus,* not to busy myself about 
trifling things, and not to give credit to what was said 
by miracle- workers and jugglers about incantations 
and the driving away of demons and such things ; and 
not to breed quails [for fighting], nor to give myself up 
passionately to such things ; and to endure freedom of 
speech ; and to have become intimate with philosophy ; 
and to have been a hearer, first of Bacchius, then of 
Tandasis and Marcianus ; and to have written dialogues 
in my youth ; and to have desired a plank bed and 
skin, and whatever else of the kind belongs to the 
Grecian discipline. 

7. From Rusticus^: I received the impression that my 
character required improvement and discipline ; and 
from him I learned not to be led astray to sophistic 
emulation, nor to writing on speculative matters, nor 

* In the works of Justinus there is printed a letter to one 
Diognetus, whom the writer names "most excellent." He was a 
Gentile, but he wished very much to know what the religion of the 
Christians was, what God they worshipped, and how this worship 
made them despise the world and death, and neither believe in the 
gods of the Greeks nor observe the superstition of the Jews ; and 
what was this love to one another which they had, and why this new 
kind of religion was introduced now and not before. My friend, Mr. 
Jenkins, rector of Lyminge in Kent, has suggested to me that this 
Diognetus may have been the tutor of M. Antoninus. 

\ Q. Junius Ilusticus was a Stoic philosopher, whom Antoninus 
valued highly, and often took his advice. (Capitol. M. Antonin. iii.) 


to delivering little hortatory orations, nor to snowing 
myself off as a man who practices much discipline, or 
does benevolent acts in order to make a display ; and 
to abstain from rhetoric, and poetry, and fine writing; 
and not to walk about in the house in my outdoor 
dress, nor to do other things of the kind ; and to write 
my letters with simplicity, like the letter which 
Rusticus wrote from Sinuessa to my mother; and with 
respect to those who have offended me by words, or 
done me wrong, to be easily disposed to be pacified and 
reconciled, as soon as they have shown a readiness to 
be reconciled ; and to read carefully, and not to be 
satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book ; 
nor hastily to give my assent to those who talk over- 
much ; and I am indebted to him for being acquainted 
with the discourses of Epictetus, which he communi- 
cated to me out of his own collection. 

8. From Apollonius* I learned freedom of will and 
undeviating steadiness of purpose; and to look to 
nothing else, not even for a moment, except to reason ; 
and to be always the same, in sharp pains, on the 
occasion of the loss of a child, and in long illness ; and 
to see clearly in a living example that the same man 
can be both most resolute and yielding, and not peevish 
in giving his instruction; and to have had before my 
eyes a man who clearly considered his experience and 
his skill in expounding philosophical principles as the 
smallest of his merits ; and from him I learned how to 
receive from friends what are esteemed favors, without 
being either humbled by them or letting them pass 

* Apollonius of Chalcis came to Rome in the time of Pius to be 
Marcus' preceptor. He was a rigid Stoic. 


9. From Sextus,* a benevolent disposition, and the 
example of a family governed in a fatherly manner, 
and the idea of living conformably to nature ; and 
gravity without affectation, and to look carefully after 
the interests of friends, and to tolerate ignorant per- 
sons, and those who form opinions without considera- 
tion : he had the power of readily accommodating 
himself to all, so that intercourse with him was more 
agreeable than any flattery ; and at the same time he 
was most highly venerated by those who associated 
with him : and he had the faculty both of discovering 
and ordering, in an intelligent and methodical way, 
the principles necessary for life ; and he never showed 
anger or any other passion, but was entirely free from 
passion, and also most affectionate ; and he could ex- 
press approbation without noisy display, and he pos- 
sessed much knowledge without ostentation. 

10. From Alexander:}: the grammarian, to refrain 
from fault-finding, and not in a reproachful way to 
chide those who uttered any barbarous or solecistic 
or strange-sounding expression ; but dexterously to 
introduce the very expression which ought to have 
been used, and in the way of answer or giving con- 
firmation, or joining in an inquiry about the thing 
itself, not about the word, or by some other fit sug- 

11. From Fronto I learned to observe what envy 

* Sextus of Chseronea, a grandson of Plutarch, or nephew, as 
some say ; but more probably a grandson. 

\ Alexander was a Grammaticus, a native of Phrygia. He wrote 
a commentary on Homer; and the rhetorician Aristides wrote a pane- 
gyric on Alexander in a funeral oration. 

M. Cornelius Fronto was a rhetorician, and in great favor with 
Marcus. There are extant various letters between Marcus and 


and duplicity and hypocrisy are in a tyrant, and that 
generally those among us who are called Patricians 
are rather deficient in paternal affection. 

12. From Alexander the Platonic, not frequently 
nor without necessity to say to any one, or to write 
in a letter, that I have no leisure ; nor continually to 
excuse the neglect of duties required by our relation 
to those with whom we live, by alleging urgent occu- 

13. From Catulus,* not to be indifferent when a 
friend finds fault, even if he should find fault without 
reason, but to try to restore him to his usual disposi- 
tion ; and to be ready to speak well of teachers, as it 
is reported of Domitius and Athenodotus ; and to love 
my children truly. 

14. From my brother* Severus, to love my kin, and 
to love truth, and to love justice; and through him 
I learned to know Thrasea, Helvidius, Cato, Dion, 
Brutus ; and from him I received the idea of a polity 
in which there is the same law for all, a polity admin- 
istered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom 
of speech, and the idea of a kingly government which 
respects most of all the freedom of the governed ; I 
learned from him alsof consistency and undeviating 
steadiness in my regard for philosophy, and a disposi- 

* Cinna Catulus, a Stoic philosopher. 

\ The word hrother may not be genuine. Antoninus had no 
brother. It has been supposed that he may mean some cousin. 
Schultz in his translation omits " brother, " and says that this Severus 
is probably Claudius Severus, a peripatetic. 

We know, from Tacitus {Anncd. xiii.,xvi. 21 , and other passages), 
who Thrasea and Helvidius were. Plutarch has written the lives of 
the two Catos, and of Dion and Brutus. Antoninus probably alludes 
to Cato of Utica, who was a Stoic. 


tion to do good, and to give to others readily, and to 
cherish good hopes, and to believe that I am loved by 
my friends ; and in him I observed no concealment 
of his opinions with respect to those whom he con- 
demned, and that his friends had no need to con- 
jecture what he wished or did not wish, but it was 
quite plain. 

15. From Maximus* I learned self-government, and 
not to be led aside by anything ; and cheerfulness in 
all circumstances, as well as in illness; and a just 
admixture in the moral character of sweetness and 
dignity, and to do what was set before me without 
complaining. I observed that everybody believed that 
he thought as he spoke, and that in all that he did he 
never had any bad intention; and he never showed 
amazement and surprise, and was never in a hurry, 
and never put off doing a thing, nor was perplexed nor 
dejected, nor did he ever laugh to disguise his vexa- 
tion, nor, on the other hand, was he ever passionate 
or suspicious. He was accustomed to do acts of be- 
neficence, and was ready to forgive, and was free from 
all falsehood; and he presented the appearance of a 
man who could not be diverted from right rather than 
of a man who had been improved. I observed, too, 
that no man could ever think that he was despised by 
Maximus, or ever venture to think himself a better 
man. He had also the art of being humorous in an 
agreeable way. 

16. In my father;}: I observed mildness of temper, 

* Claudius Maximus was a Stoic philosopher, who was highly 
esteemed.also by Antoninus Pius, Marcus' predecessor. The character 
of Maximus is that of a perfect man. (See viii. 25.) 

\ He means his adoptive father, his predecessor, the Emperct 
Antoninus Pius. Compare vi. 30. 


and unchangeable resolution in the things which he 
had determined after due deliberation; and no vain- 
glory in those things which men call honors ; and a 
love of labor and perseverance; and a readiness to 
listen to those who had anything to propose for the 
common weal ; and undeviating firmness in giving to 
every man according to his deserts ; and a knowledge 
derived from experience of the occasions for vigorous 
action and for remission. And I observed that he had 
overcome all passion for joys ; and he considered him- 
self no more than any other citizen, and he released his 
friends from all obligation to sup with him or to 
attend him of necessity when he went abroad, and 
those who had failed to accompany him, by reason of 
any urgent circumstances, always found him the same. 
I observed, too, his habit of careful inquiry in all mat- 
ters of deliberation, and his persistency, and that he 
never stopped his investigation through being satis- 
fied with appearances which first present themselves ; 
and that his disposition was to keep his friends, and 
not to be soon tired of them, nor yet to be extravagant 
in his affection ; and to be satisfied on all occasions, 
and cheerful ; and to foresee things a long way off, and 
to provide for the smallest without display; and to 
check immediately popular applause and flattery ; and 
to be ever watchful over the things that were neces- 
sary for the administration of the empire, and to be a 
good manager of the expenditure, and patiently to 
endure the blame which he got for such conduct ; and 
he was neither superstitious with respect to the gods, 
nor did he court men by gifts or by trying to please 
them, or by flattering the populace ; but he showed 
sobriety in all things and firmness, and never any 


mean thoughts or action, nor love of novelty. And 
the things which conduce in any way to the commod- 
ity of life, and of which fortune gives an abundant 
supply, he used without arrogance and without excus- 
ing himself ; so that when he had them, he enjoyed 
them without affectation, and when he had them not 
he did not want them. No one could ever say of him 
that he was either a sophist or a [home-bred] flippant 
slave or a pedant ; but every one acknowledged him to 
be a man ripe, perfect, above flattery, able to manage 
his own and other men's affairs. Besides this, he hon- 
ored those who were true philosophers, and he did not 
reproach those who pretended to be philosophers, nor 
yet was he easily led by them. He was also easy in 
conversation, and he made himself agreeable without 
any offensive affectation. He took a reasonable care 
of his body's health, not as one who was greatly 
attached to life, nor out of regard to personal appear- 
ance, nor yet in a careless way, but so that, through his 
own attention, he very seldom stood in need of the phy- 
sician's art or of medicine or external applications. He 
was most ready to give way without envy to those who 
possessed any particular faculty, such as that of elo- 
quence or knowledge of the law or of morals, or of any- 
thing else ; and he gave them his help, that each might 
enjoy reputation according to his deserts ; and he always 
acted conformably to the institutions of his country, 
without showing any affectation of doing so. Further, 
he was not fond of change, nor unsteady, but he loved 
to stay in the same places, and to employ himself about 
the same things ; and after his paroxysms of headache 
he came immediately fresh and vigorous to his usual 
occupations. His secrets were not many, but very 


few and very rare, and these only about public mat- 
ters; and he showed prudence and economy in the 
exhibition of the public spectacles and the construction 
of public buildings, his donations to the people, and in 
such things, for he was a man who looked to what 
ought to be done, not to the reputation which is got 
by a man's acts. He did not take the bath at unsea- 
sonable hours ; he was not fond of building houses, nor 
curious about what he eat, nor about the texture and 
color of his clothes, nor about the beauty of his slaves.* 
His dress came from Lorium, his villa on the coast, and 
from Lanuvium generally.:}: We know how he behaved 
to the toll-collector at Tusculum who asked his par- 
don ; and such was all his behavior. There was in 
him nothing harsh, nor implacable, nor violent, nor, as 
one may say, anything carried to the sweating point : 
but he examined all things severally, as if he had abun- 
dance of time, and without confusion, in an orderly 
way, vigorously and consistently. And that might be 
applied to him which is recorded of Socrates, that he 
was able both to abstain from, and to enjoy, those things 
which many are too weak to abstain from, and cannot 
enjoy without excess. But to be strong enough both 
to bear the one and to be sober in the other is the 
mark of a man who has a perfect and invincible soul, 
such as he showed in the illness of Maximus. 

17. To the gods I am indebted for having good 
grandfathers, good parents, a good sister, good teach- 
ers, good associates, good kinsmen and friends, nearly 

* This passage is corrupt and the exact meaning is uncertain. 
X Lorium was a villa on the coast north of Rome, and there 
Antoninus was brought up, and he died there. This also is corrupt. 

Xenophon, Memorab. i. 3. 15. 


everything good. Further, I owe it to the gods that I 
was not hurried into any offense against any of them, 
though I had a disposition which, if opportunity had 
offered, might have led me to do something of this 
kind; but, through their favor, there never was such a 
concurrence of circumstances as put me to the trial. 
Further, I am thankful to the gods that I was not 
longer brought up with my grandfather's concubine, 
and that I preserved the flower of my youth, and that 
I did not make proof of my virility before the proper 
season, but even deferred the time ; that I was subjected 
to a ruler and a father who was able to take away all 
pride from me, and to bring me to the knowledge that 
it is possible for a man to live in a palace without want- 
ing either guards or embroidered dresses, or torches 
and statues, and such-like show ; but it is in such a 
man's power to bring himself very near to the fashion 
of a private person, without being for this reason either 
meaner in thought, or more remiss in action, with 
respect to the things which must be done for the public 
interest in a manner that befits a ruler. I thank the 
gods for giving me such a brother,* who was able by 
his moral character to rouse me to vigilance over my- 
self, and who, at the same time, pleased me by his 
respect and affection ; that my children have not been 
stupid nor deformed in body ; that I did not make more 
proficiency in rhetoric, poetry, and the other studies, 
in which I should perhaps have been completely en- 
gaged, if I had seen that I was making progress in 
them ; that I made haste to place those who brought 
me up in the station of honor, which they seemed to 

* The emperor had no brother, except L. Verus, his brother by 


desire, without putting them off with hope of my doing 
it some time after, because they were then still young; 
that I knew Apollonius, Eusticus, Maximus; that I 
received clear and frequent impressions about living ac- 
cording to nature, and what kind of a life that is, so that, 
so far as depended on the gods, and their gifts and help, 
and inspirations, nothing hindered me from forthwith 
living according to nature, though I still fall short of 
it through my own fault, and though not observing the 
admonitions of the gods, and, I may almost say, their 
direct instructions ; that my body has held out so long in 
such a kind of life ; that I never touched either Benedicta 
or Theodotus, and that, after having fallen into ama- 
tory passions, I was cured ; and, though I was often out 
of humor with Rusticus, I never did anything of which 
I had occasion to repent ; that, though it was my 
mother's fate to die young, she spent the last years of her 
life with me; that whenever I wished to help any man 
in his need, or on any other occasion, I was never told 
that I had not the means of doing it ; and that to my- 
self the same necessity never happened, to receive any 
thing from another; that I have such a wife,* so 
obedient, and so affectionate, and so simple; that I had 
abundance of good masters for my children ; and that 
remedies have been shown to me by dreams, both 
others, and against blood-spitting and giddiness;;}: 
. . , and that, when I had an inclination to philos- 
ophy 1 did not fall into the hands of any sophist, and 
that I did not waste my time on writers [of histories], 
or in the resolution of syllogisms, or occupy myself 
about the investigation of appearances in tne heavens ; 

* See the Life of Antoninus, 
t Tliis is corrupt 


for all these things require the help of the gods and 

Among the Quadi at the Granua.* 

* The Quadi lived in the southern part of Bohemia and Moravia; 
and Antoninus made a campaign against them. (See the Life.) 
Granua is probably the river Graan, which flows into the Danube. 
If these words are genuine, Antoninus may have written this first 
book during the war with the Quadi. In the first edition of Anto- 
< ninus, and in the older editions, the first three sections of the second 
book make the conclusion of the first book. Gataker placed them at 
the beginning of the second book. 



Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet 
with the busybody, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, 
envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them 
by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. 
But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is 
beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature 
of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not [only] 
of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in 
[the same] intelligence and [the same] portion of the 
divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for 
no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry 
with my kinsman, nor hate him. For we are made 
for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like 
the rows of the upper and lower teeth.* To act 
against one another then is contrary to nature ; and it 
is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn 

2. Whatever this is that I am, it is a little flesh and 
breath, and the ruling part. Throw away thy books ; 
no longer distract thyself : it is not allowed ; but as if 
thou wast now dying, despise the flesh ; it is blood and 
bones and a network, a contexture of nerves, veins and 
arteries. See the breath also, what kind of a thing it 
is ; air, and not always the same, but every moment 
sent out and again sucked in. The third then is the 

*Xenophon, Mem. ii. 3. 18. 


ruling part : consider thus : Thou art an old man ; no 
longer let this be a slave, no longer be pulled by the 
strings like a puppet to unsocial movements, no longer 
be either dissatisfied with thy present lot, or shrink 
from the future. 

3. All that is from the gods is full of providence. 
That which is from fortune is not separated from 
nature or without an interweaving and involution with 
the things which are ordered by Providence. From 
thence all things flow ; and there is besides necessity, 
and that which is for the advantage of the whole uni- 
verse, of which thou art a part. But that is good for 
every part of nature which the nature of the whole 
brings, and what serves to maintain this nature. Now 
the universe is preserved, as by the changes of the 
elements so by the changes of things compounded of 
the elements. Let these principles be enough for thee ; 
let them always be fixed opinions. But cast away the 
thirst after books, that thou mayest not die murmur- 
ing, but cheerfully, truly, and from thy heart thankful 
to the gods. 

4. Remember how long thou hast been putting off 
these things, and how often thou hast received an 
opportunity from the gods, and yet dost not use it. 
Thou must now at last perceive of what universe thou a part, and of what administrator of the universe 
thy existence is an efflux, and that a limit of time is 
fixed for thee, which if thou dost not use for clearing 
away the clouds from thy mind, it will go and thou 
wilt go, and it will never return. 

5. Every moment think steadily as a Roman and a 
man to do what thou hast in hand with perfect and 
simple dignity, and feeling of affection, and freedom, 


and justice ; and to give thyself relief from all other 
thoughts. And thou wilt give thyself relief, if thou 
doest every act of thy life as if it were the last, laying 
aside all carelessness and passionate aversion from the 
commands of reason, and all hypocrisy, and self-love, 
and discontent with the portion which has been given 
to thee. Thou seest how few the things are, the which 
if a man lays hold of, he is able to live a life which 
flows in quiet, and is like the existence of the gods ; 
for the gods on their part will require nothing more 
from him who observes these things. 

6. Do wrong* to thyself, do wrong to thyself, my 
soul ; but thou wilt no longer have the opportunity of 
honoring thyself. Every man's life is sufficient. f But 
thine is nearly finished, though thy soul reverences not 
itself, but places thy felicity in the souls of others. 

7. Do the things external which fall upon thee dis- 
tract thee? Give thyself time to learn something new 
and good, and cease to be whirled around. But then 
thou must also avoid being carried about the other 
way. For those too are triflers who have wearied 
themselves in life by their activity, and } 7 et have no 
object to which to direct every movement, and, in a 
word, all their thoughts. 

8. Through not observing what is in the mind of 
another a man has seldom been seen to be unhappy ; 
but those who do not observe the movements of their 
own minds must of necessity be unhappy. 

9. This thou must always bear in mind, what is the 
nature of the whole, and what is my nature, and how 
this is related to that, and what kind of a part it is of 
what kind of a whole; and that there is no one who 

* Perhaps it should be " thou art doing violence to thyself." 


hinders thee from always doing and saying the things 
which are according to the nature of which thou art a 

10. Theophrastus, in his comparison of bad acts 
such a comparison as one would make in accordance 
with the common notions of mankind says, like a 
true philosopher, that the offenses which are committed 
through desire are more blameable than those which 
are committed through anger For he who is excited 
by anger seems to turn away from reason with a 
certain pain and unconscious contraction ; but he who 
offends through desire, being overpowered by pleasure, 
seems to be in a manner more intemperate and more 
womanish in his offenses. Kightly then, and in a 
way worthy of philosophy, he said that the offense 
which is committed with pleasure is more blameable 
than that which is committed with pain ; and on the 
whole the one is more like a person who has been first 
wronged and through pain is compelled to be angry ; 
but the other is moved by his own impulse to do 
wrong, being carried toward doing something by desire. 

11. Since it is possible* that thou mayest depart from 
life this very moment, regulate every act and thought 
accordingly.^: But to go away from among men, if 
there are gods, is not a thing to be afraid of, for the 
gods will not involve thee in evil ; but if indeed they do 
not exist, or if they have no concern about human 
affairs, what is it to me to live in a universe devoid of 
gods or devoid of providence ? But in truth they do 
exist, and they do care for human things, and they have 

* Or it may mean "since it is in thy power to depart ;" which 
gives a meaning somewhat different. 
X See Cicero, Tuscul. i. 49. 


put all the means in man's power to enable him not to 
fall into real evils. And as to the rest, if there was 
anything evil, they would have provided for this also, 
that it should be altogether in a man's power not to 
fall into it. Now, that which does not make a man 
worse, how can it make a man's life worse? But 
neither through ignorance, nor having the knowledge, 
but not the power to guard against or correct these 
things, is it possible that the nature of the universe has 
overlooked them ; nor is it possible that it has made so 
great a mistake, either through want of power or wj.nt 
of skill, that good and evil should happen indiscrimi- 
nately to the good and the bad. But death certainly, 
and life, honor and dishonor, pain and pleasure, all 
these things equally happen to good men and bad, 
being things which make us neither better nor worse. 
Therefore they are neither good nor evil. 

12. How quickly all these things disappear, in the 
universe the bodies themselves, but in time the remem- 
brance of them ; what is the nature of all sensible 
things, and particularly those which attract with the 
bait of pleasure or terrify by pain, or are noised abroad 
by vapory fame ; how worthless, and contemptible, 
and sordid and perishable, and dead they are all 
this it is the part of the intellectual faculty to observe. 
To observe too who these are whose opinions and 
voices give reputation; what death is, and the fact 
that, if a man looks at it in itself, and by the abstract- 
ive power of reflection resolves into their parts all the 
things which present themselves to the imagination in 
it, he will then consider it to be nothing else than an 
operation of nature ; and if any one is afraid of an 
operation of nature he is a child. This, however, is 


not only an operation of nature, but it is also a thing 
which conduces to the purposes of nature. To observe, 
too, how man comes near to the deity, and by what 
part of him, and when this part of man is so disposedf 
(vi. 28). 

13. Nothing is more wretched than a man who 
traverses everything in a round, and pries into the 
things beneath the earth, as the poet* says, and seeks 
by conjecture what is in the minds of his neighbors, 
without perceiving that it is sufficient to attend to the 
demon within him, and to reverence it sincere] v. And 
reverence of the demon consists in keeping it pure 
from passion and thoughtlessness, and dissatisfaction 
with what comes from gods and men. For the things 
from the gods merit veneration for their excellence ; 
and the things from men should be dear to us by 
reason of kinship ; and sometimes even, in a manner, 
they move our pity by reason of men's ignorance of 
good and bad ; this defect being not less than that 
which deprives us of the power of distinguishing 
things that are white and black. 

14. Though thou shouidest be going to live three 
thousand years, and as many times ten thousand years, 
still remember that no man loses any other life than 
this which he now lives, nor lives any other than this 
which he now loses. The longest and shortest are 
thus brought to the same. For the present is the 
same to all, though that which perishes is not the 
same ;f and so that which is lost appears to be a mere 
moment. For a man cannot lose either the past or the 
future : for what a man has not, how can any one take 
this from him ? These two things then thou must 

* Pindar in the Theaetetus of Plato. See xi. 1. 


bear in mind : the one, that all things from eternity 
are of like forms and come round in a circle, and that 
it makes no difference whether a man shall see the 
same things during a hundred years or two hundred, or 
an infinite time; and the second, that the longest liver 
and he who will die soonest lose just the same. For 
the present is the only thing of which a man can be 
deprived, if it is true that this is the only thing which 
he has, and that a man cannot lose a thing if he has 
it not. 

15. Remember that all is opinion. For what was 
said by the Cynic Monimus is manifest : and manifest 
too is the use of what was said, if a man receives what 
may be got out of it as far as it is true. 

16. The soul of man does violence to itself, first of 
all, when it becomes an abscess and, as it were, a tumor 
on the universe, so far as it can. For to be vexed at 
anything which happens is a separation of ourselves 
from nature, in some part of which the natures of all 
other things are contained. In the next place, the soul 
does violence to itself when it turns away from any 
man, or even moves toward him with the intention of 
injuring, such as are the souls of those who are angry. 
In the third place, the soul does violence to itself when 
it is overpowered by pleasure or by pain. Fourthly, 
when it plays a part, and does or says anything insin- 
cerely and untruly. Fifthly, when it allows any act 
of its own and any movement to be without an aim, 
and does anything thoughtlessly and without consider- 
ing what it is, it being right that even the smallest 
things be done with reference to an end ; and the end 
of rational animals is to follow the reason and the law 
of the most ancient city and polity. 


17. Of human life the time is a point, and the sub- 
stance is in a flux, and the perception dull, and the 
composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, 
and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and 
fame a thing devoid of judgment. And, to say all in a 
word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, 
and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapor, and 
life is a warfare and a stranger's sojourn, and after- 
fame is oblivion. What, then, is that which is able to 
conduct a man ? One thing, and only one philosophy. 
But this consists in keeping the demon within a man 
free from violence and unharmed, superior to pains and 
pleasures, doing nothing without a purpose, nor yet 
falsely and with hypocrisy, not feeling the need of an- 
other man's doing or not doing anything ; and besides, 
accepting all that happens, and all that is allotted, as 
coming from thence, wherever it is, from whence he 
himself came; and, finally, waiting for death with a 
cheerful mind, as being nothing else than a dissolution 
of the elements of which every living being is com- 
pounded. But if there is no harm to the elements 
themselves in each continually changing into another, 
why should a man have any apprehension about the 
change and dissolution of all the elements? For it 
is according to nature, and nothing is evil which is 
according to nature. 

This in Carnuntum.* 

* Carnuntum was a town of Pannonia, on the south side of the 
Danube, about thirty miles east of Vindobona (Vienna). Orosius (vii. 
15) and Eutropius (viii. 13) say that Antoninus remained three years 
at Carnu 'turn during his war with the Marcomanni. 



We ought to consider not only that our life is daily 
wasting away and a smaller part of it is left, but an- 
other thing also must be taken into the account, that if 
a man should live longer it is quite uncertain whether 
the understanding will still continue sufficient for the 
comprehension of things, and retain the power of con- 
templation which strives to acquire the knowledge of 
the divine and the human. For if he shall begin to fall 
into dotage, perspiration and nutrition and imagination 
and appetite, and whatever else there is of the kind, 
will not fail ; but the power of making use of our- 
selves, and filling up the measure of our duty, and 
clearly separating all appearances, and considering 
whether a man should now depart from life, and 
whatever else of the kind absolutely requires a dis- 
ciplined reason, all this is already extinguished. We 
must make haste then, not only because we are daily 
nearer to death, but also because the conception of 
things and the understanding of them cease first. 

2. We ought to observe also that even the things 
which follow after the things which are produced 
according to nature contain something pleasing and 
attractive. For instance, when bread is baked some 
parts are split at the surface, and these parts which 
thus open, and have a certain fashion contrary to the 
purpose of the baker's art, are beautiful in a manner, 


and in a peculiar way excite a desire for eating. And 
again, figs, when they are quite ripe, gape open, and in 
the ripe olives the very circumstance of their being 
near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit. 
And the ears of corn bending down, and the lion's eye- 
brows, and the foam which liows from the mouth of 
wild boars, and many other things though they are 
far from being beautiful, if a man should examine 
them severally still, because they are consequent 
upon the things which are formed by nature, help to 
adorn them, and they please the mind ; so that if a 
man should have a feeling and deeper insight with 
respect to the things which are produced in the uni- 
verse, there is hardly one of those which follow by way 
of consequence which will not seem to him to be in a 
manner disposed so as to give pleasure. And so he 
will see even the real gaping jaws of wild beasts with 
no less pleasure than those which painters and sculp- 
tors show by imitation; and in an old woman and an 
old man he will be able to see a certain maturity and 
comeliness ; and the attractive loveliness of young per- 
sons he will be able to look on with chaste eyes ; and 
many such things will present themselves, not pleasing 
to every man, but to him only who has become truly 
familiar with nature and her works. 

3. Hippocrates after curing many diseases himself 
fell sick and died. The Chaldasi foretold the deaths of 
many, and then fate caught them too. Alexander, 
and Pompeius, and Caius Cassar, after so often com- 
pletely destroying whole cities, and in battle cutting to 
pieces many ten thousands of cavalry and infantry, 
themselves too at last departed from life. Heraclitus, 
after so many speculations on the conflagration of the 


universe, was filled with water internally and died 
smeared all over with mud. And lice destroyed Demo- 
critus; and other lice killed Socrates. "What means 
all this ? Thou hast embarked, thou hast made the 
voyage, thou art come to shore ; get out. If indeed 
to another life, there is no want of gods, not even 
there. But if to a state without sensation, thou wilt 
cease to be held by pains and pleasures, and to be a 
slave to the vessel, which is as much inferior as that 
which serves it is superior ;f for the one is intelligence 
and deity ; the other is earth and corruption. 

4. Do not waste the remainder of thy life in thoughts 
about others, when thou dost not refer thy thoughts to 
some object of common utility. For thou losest the 
opportunity of doing something else when thou hast 
such thoughts as these. What is such a person doing, 
and why, and what is he saying, and what is he 
thinking of, and what is he contriving, and whatever 
else of the kind makes us wander away from the ob- 
servation of our own ruling power. We ought then 
to check in the series of our thoughts everything that 
is without a purpose and useless, but most of all the 
overcurious feeling and the malignant; and a man 
should use himself to think of those things only about 
which if one should suddenly ask, What hast thou now 
in thy thoughts ? with perfect openness thou mightest 
immediately answer : This or that ; so that from thy 
words it should be plain that everything in thee is 
simple and benevolent, and such as befits a social 
animal, and one that cares not for thoughts about 
pleasure or sensual enjoyments at all, nor has any 
rivalry or envy and suspicion, or anything else for 
which thou wouldst blush if thou shouldst say that thou 


hadst it in thy mind. For the man who is such and 
no longer delays being among the number of the best, 
is like a priest and minister of the gods, using too the 
[deity] which is planted within him, which makes the 
man uncontaminated by pleasure, unharmed by any 
pain, untouched by any insult, feeling no wrong, a 
fighter in the noblest fight, one who cannot be over- 
powered by any passion, dyed deep with justice, 
accepting with all his soul everything which happens 
and is assigned to him as his portion ; and not often, 
nor yet without great necessity and for the general 
interest, imagining what another says, or does, or 
thinks. For it is only what belongs to himself that 
he makes the matter for his activity ; and he con- 
stantly thinks of that which is allotted to himself out 
of the sum total of things, and he makes his own acts 
fair, and he is persuaded that his own portion is good. 
For the lot which is assigned to each man is carried 
along with him and carries him along with it.f And 
he remembers also that every rational animal is his 
kinsman, and that to care for all men is according to 
man's nature; and a man should hold on to the opin- 
ion not of all but of those only who confessedly live 
according to nature. But as to those who live not so, 
he always bears in mind what kind of men they are, 
both at home and from home, both by night and by 
day, and what they are, and with what men they live 
an impure life. Accordingly, he does not value at all 
the praise which comes from such men, since they are 
not even satisfied with themselves. 

5. Labor not unwillingly, nor without regard to the 
common interest, nor without due consideration, nor 
with distraction ; nor let studied ornament set off thy 


thoughts, and be not either a man of many words, or 
busy about too many things. And further, let the 
deity which is in thee be the guardian of a living 
being, manly and of ripe age, and engaged in matter 
political, and a Roman, and a ruler, who has taken his 
post like a man waiting for the signal which summons 
him from life, and ready to go, having need neither of 
oath nor of any man's testimony. Be cheerful also, 
and seek not external help nor the tranquillity which 
others give. A man then must stand erect, not be 
kept erect by others. 

6. If thou findest in human life anything better 
than justice, truth, temperance, fortitude, and, in a 
word, anything better than thy own mind's self- 
satisfaction in the things which it enables thee to do 
according to right reason, and in the condition that is 
assigned to thee without thy own choice ; if, I say, 
thou seest anything better than this, turn to it with 
all thy soul, and enjoy that which thou hast found to 
be the best. But if nothing appears to be better than 
the deity which is planted in thee, which has sub- 
jected to itself all thy appetites, and carefully ex- 
amines all the impressions, and, as Socrates said, has 
detached itself from the persuasions of sense, and has 
submitted itself to the gods, and cares for mankind ; 
if thou findest everything else smaller and of less 
value than this, give place to nothing else, for if thou 
dost once diverge and incline to it, thou wilt no 
longer without distraction be able to give the prefer- 
ence to that good thing which is thy proper posses- 
sion and thy own; for it is not right that anything of 
any other kind, such as praise from the many, or 
power, or enjoyment of pleasure, should come into 


competition with that which is rationally and politi- 
cally [or, practically] good. All these things, even 
though they may seem to adapt themselves [to the 
better things] in a small degree, obtain the superiority 
all at once, and carry us away. But do thou, I say, 
simply and freely choose the better, and hold to it. 
But that which is useful is the better. "Well then, if it 
is only useful to thee as a rational being, keep to it ; 
but if it is only useful to thee as an animal, say so, 
and maintain thy judgment without arrogance ; only 
take care that thou makest the inquiry by a sure 

7. Never value anything as profitable to thyself 
which shall compel thee to break thy promise, to lose 
thy self-respect, to hate any man, to suspect, to curse, 
to act the hypocrite, to desire anything which needs 
walls and curtains ; for he who has preferred to every- 
thing else his own intelligence and demon and the 
worship of its excellence, acts no tragic part, does not 
groan, will not need either solitude or much company ; 
and, what is chief of all, he will live without either 
pursuing or flying from [death] ;* but whether for a 
longer or a shorter time he shall have the soul in- 
closed in the body, he cares not at all ; for even if he 
must depart immediately, he will go as readily as if he 
were going to do anything else which can be done 
with decency and order ; taking care of this only, all 
through life, that his thoughts turn not away from 
anything which belongs to an intelligent animal and a 
member of a civil community. 

8. In the mind of one who is chastened and purified 
thou wilt find no corrupt matter, nor impurity, nor 

* Cornp. ix. 3. 


any sore skinned over. Nor is his life incomplete 
when fate overtakes him, as one may say of an actor 
who leaves the stage before ending and finishing the 
play. Besides, there is in him nothing servile, nor 
affected, nor too closely bound [to other things], nor 
yet detached* [from other things], nothing worthy of 
blame, nothing which seeks a hiding-place. 

9. Reverence the faculty which produces opinion. 
On this faculty it entirely depends whether there 
shall exist in thy ruling part any opinion inconsistent 
with nature and the constitution of the rational 
animal. And this faculty promises freedom from 
hasty judgment, and friendship toward men, and 
obedience to the gods. 

10. Throwing away, then, all things, hold to these 
only which are few ; and besides bear in mind that 
every man lives only this present time, which is an in- 
divisible point, and that all the rest of his life is either 
past or it is uncertain. Short then is the time which 
every man lives, and small the nook of the earth 
where he lives ; and short too the longest posthumous 
fame, and even this only continued by a succession of 
poor human beings, who will very soon die, and who 
know not even themselves, much less him who died 
long ago. 

11. To the aids which have been mentioned let this 
one still be added : Make for thyself a definition or 
description of the thing which is presented to thee, so 
as to see distinctly what kind of a thing it is in its 
substance, in its nudity, in its complete entirety, and 
tell thyself its proper name, and the names- of the 
things of which it has been compounded, and into 

* Comp. viii. 34. 


which it will be resolved. For nothing is so productive 
of elevation of mind as to be able to examine 
methodically and truly every object which is presented 
to thee in life, and always to look at things so as to 
see at the same time what kind of universe this is, 
and what kind of use everything performs in it, and 
what value everything has with reference to the 
whole, and what with reference to man, who is a 
citizen of the highest city, of which all other cities 
are like families ; what each thing is, and of what it is 
composed, and how long it is the nature of this thing 
to endure which now makes an impression on me, and 
what virtue I have need of with respect to it, such as 
gentleness, manliness, truth, fidelity, simplicity, con- 
tentment, and the rest. Wherefore, on every occasion 
a man should say : This comes from God ; and this is 
according to the apportionment! and spinning of the 
thread of destiny, and such-like coincidence and 
chance ; and this is from one of the same stock, and a 
kinsman and partner, one who knows not however 
what is according to his nature. But I know ; for this 
reason I behave toward him according to the natural 
law of fellowship with benevolence and justice. At 
the same time, however, in things indifferent* I 
attempt to ascertain the value of each. 

12. If thou workest at that which is before thee, fol- 
lowing right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, with- 
out allowing anything else to distract thee, but keep- 
ing thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound 
to give it back immediately ; if thou holdest to this, 
expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with 

* ' ' Est et horum quae media appellamus grande discrimen. " 
Seneca, Ep. 82. 


thy present activity according to nature, and with 
heroic truth in every word and sound which thou 
utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man 
who is able to prevent this. 

13. As physicians have always their instruments and 
knives ready for cases which suddenly require their 
skill, so do thou have principles ready for the under- 
standing of things divine and human, and for doing 
everything, even the smallest, with a recollection of 
the bond which unites the divine and human to one 
another. For neither wilt thou do anything well 
which pertains to man without at the same time hav- 
ing a reference to things divine ; nor the contrary. 

14. No longer wander at hazard ; for neither wilt 
thou read thy own memoirs,* nor the acts of the 
ancient Romans and Hellenes, and the selections from 
books which thou wast reserving for thy old age4 
Hasten then to the end which thou hast before thee, 
and, throwing away idle hopes, come to thy own aid, 
if thou carest at all for thyself, while it is in thy 

15. They know not how many things are signified 
by the words stealing, sowing, buying, keeping quiet, 
seeing what ought to be done ; for this is not effected 
by the eyes, but by another kind of vision. 

16. Body, soul, intelligence ; to the body belong 
sensations, to the soul appetites, to the intelligence 
principles. To receive the impressions of forms by 

* Memoranda, notes and the like. See i. 17. 

% Compare Fronto, ii. 9; a letter of Marcus to Fronto, who was 
then consul: "Feci tamen mihi per hos dies excerpta ex libris 
sexaginta in quinque tomis." But he says some of them were small 


means of appearances belongs even to animals; to be 
pulled by the strings* of desire belongs both to wild 
beasts and to men who have made themselves into 
women, and to a Phalaris and a Nero ; and to have 
the intelligence that guides to the things which appear 
suitable belongs also to those who do not believe in the 
gods, and who betray their country, and do their 
impure deeds when they have shut the doors. If then 
everything else is common to all that I have mentioned, 
there remains that which is peculiar to the good man, 
to be pleased and content with what happens, and with 
the thread which is spun for him ; and not to defile 
the divinity which is planted in his breast, nor disturb 
it by a crowd of images, but to preserve it tranquil, 
following it obediently as a god, neither saying any- 
thing contrary to the truth, nor doing anything con- 
trary to justice. And if all men refuse to believe that 
he lives a simple, modest, and contented life, he is 
neither angry with any of them, nor does he deviate 
from the way which leads to the end of life, to which 
a man ought to come pure, tranquil, ready to depart, 
and without any compulsion perfectly reconciled to his 

* Compare Plato, De Legibus, and Antoninus, ii. 2; vii. 3; xii. 19. 



That which rules within, when it is according to 
nature, is so affected with respect to the events which 
happen, that it always easily adapts itself to that 
which is possible and is presented to it. For it requires 
no definite material, but it moves toward its purpose,* 
under certain conditions however; and it makes a 
material for itself out of that which opposes it, as fire 
lays hold of what falls into it, by which a small light 
would have been extinguished : but when the fire is 
strong, it soon appropriates to itself the matter which 
is heaped on it, and consumes it, and rises higher by 
means of this very material. 

2. Let no act be clone without a purpose, nor other- 
wise than according to the perfect principles of art. 

3. Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the 
country, sea-shores and mountains ; and thou too art 
wont to desire such things very much. But this is 
altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, 
for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to 
retire into thyself. For nowhere, either with more 
quiet or more freedom from trouble, does a man retire 
than into his own soul, particularly w r hen he has 
within him such thoughts that by looking into them 
he is immediately in perfect tranquillity ; and I affirm 

* Literally "towards tliat which leads." The exact translation 
is doubtful. See Gataker's note. 


that tranquillity is nothing else than the good order- 
ing of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this 
retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be 
brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt 
recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul 
completely, and to send thee back free from all discon- 
tent with the things to which thou returnest. Fo* 
with what art thou discontented % With the badness 
of men? Recall to thy mind this conclusion, that 
rational animals exist for one another, and that to 
endure is a part of justice, and that men do wrong 
involuntarily ; and consider how many already, after 
mutual enmity, suspicion, hatred and fighting, have 
been stretched dead, reduced to ashes ; and be quiet at 
last. But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that 
which is assigned to thee out of the universe. Recall 
to thy recollection this alternative ; either there is 
providence or atoms [fortuitous concurrence of things] ; 
or remember the arguments by which it has been 
proved that the world is a kind of political community 
[and be quiet at last]. But perhaps corporeal things 
will still fasten upon thee. Consider then further that 
the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving 
gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart 
and discovered its own power, and think also of all 
that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and 
pleasure [and be quiet at last]. But perhaps the desire 
of the thing called fame will torment thee. See how 
soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of 
infinite time on each side of [the present], and the 
emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and 
want of judgment in those who pretend to give praise, 
and the narrowness of the ;>ace within which it i 


circumscribed [and be quiet at last]. For the whole 
earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy 
dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind 
of people are they who will praise thee. 

This then remains : Remember to retire into this 
little territory of thy own,* and, above all, do not dis- 
tract or strain thyself, but be free, and look at things 
as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal. 
But among the things readiest to thy hand to which 
thou shalt turn, let there be these, which are two. One 
is that things do not touch the soul, for they are 
external and remain immovable ; but our perturbations 
come only from the opinion which is within. The 
other is that all these things, which thou seest, change 
immediately and will no longer be ; and constantly 
bear in mind how many of these changes thou hast 
already witnessed. The universe is transformation : 
life is opinion. 

4. If our intellectual part is common, the reason 
also, in respect of which we are rational beings, is 
common ; if this is so, common also is the reason 
which commands us what to do, and what not to do ; 
if this is so, there is a common law also ; if this is so, 
we are fellow-citizens ; if this is so, we are members of 
some political community ; if this is so, the world is in 
a manner a state.^; For of what other common politi- 
cal community will any one say that the whole human 
race are members? And from thence, from this com- 
mon political community comes also our very intel- 
lectual faculty and reasoning faculty and our capacity 

* Tecum habita, noris quam sit tibi curta supellex. Persius, 
iv. 52. 

| Compare Cicero De Legibus, i. 7. 


for law ; or whence do they come ? For as my earthly 
part is a portion given to me from certain earth, and 
that which is watery from another element, and that 
which is hot and fiery from some peculiar source (for 
nothing comes out of that which is nothing, as nothing 
also returns to non-existence), so also the intellectual 
part comes from some source. 

5. Death is such as generation is, a mystery of 
nature ; a composition out of the same elements, and a 
decomposition into the same ; and altogether not a 
thing of which any man should be ashamed, for it is 
not contrary to [the nature of] a reasonable animal, 
and not contrary to the reason of our constitution. 

6. It is natural that these things should be done by 
such persons, it is a matter of necessity ; and if a man 
will not have it so, he will not allow the fig-tree to 
have juice. But by all means bear this in mind, that 
within a very short time both thou and he will be 
dead ; and soon not even your names will be left 

7. Take away thy opinion, and then there is taken 
away the complaint, " I have been harmed." Take 
away the complaint, " I have been harmed," and the 
harm is taken away. 

8. That which does not make a man worse than he 
was, also does not make his life worse, nor does it 
harm him either from without or from within. 

9. The nature of that which is [universally] useful 
has been compelled to do this. 

10. Consider that everything which happens, hap- 
pens justly, and if thou observest carefullj r , thou wilt 
find it to be so. I do not say only with respect to the 
continuity of the series of things, but with respect to 


what is just, and as if it were done by one who assigns 
to each thing its value. Observe then as thou hast 
begun ; and whatever thou doest, do it in conjunction 
with this, the being good, and in the sense in which a 
man is properly understood to be good. Keep to this 
in every action. 

11. Do not have such an opinion of things as he has 
who does thee wrong, or such as he wishes thee to 
have, but look at them as they are in truth. 

12. A man should always have these two rules in 
readiness ; the one, to do only whatever the reason of 
the ruling and legislating faculty may suggest for the 
use of men ; the other, to change thy opinion, if there 
is any one at hand who sets thee right and moves thee 
from any opinion. But this change of opinion must 
proceed only from a certain persuasion, as of what is 
just or of common advantage, and the like, not because 
it appears pleasant or brings reputation. 

13. Hast thou reason? I have. Why then dost not 
thou use it ? For if this does its own work, what else 
dost thou wish ? 

14. Thou hast existed as a part. Thou shalt dis- 
appear in that which produced thee ; but rather thou 
shalt be received back into its seminal principle by 

15. Many grains of frankincense on the same altar ; 
one falls before, another falls after ; but it makes no 

16. Within ten days thou wilt seem a god to those 
to whom thou art now a beast and an ape, if thou wilt 
return to thy principles and the worship of reason. 

17. Do not act as if thou w r ert going to live ten 
thousand years. Death hangs over thee. While thou 
livest, while it is in thy power, be good. 


18. How much trouble he avoids who does not look 
to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but 
only to what he does himself, that it may be just and 
pure; or as Agathonf says, look not round at the de- 
praved morals of others, but run straight along the 
line without deviating from it. 

19. He who has a vehement desire for posthumous 
fame does not consider that every one of those who 
remember him will himself also die very soon ; then 
again also they who have succeeded them, until the 
whole remembrance shall have been extinguished as it 
is transmitted through men who foolishly admire and 
perish. But suppose that those who will remember 
are even immortal, and that the remembrance will be 
immortal, what then is this to thee? And I say not 
what is it to the dead, but what is it to the living. 
"What is praise, exceptf indeed so far as it hasf a cer- 
tain utility ? For thou now rejectest unseasonably the 
gift of nature, clinging to something else. . . .f 

20. Everything which is in any way beautiful is 
beautiful in itself, and terminates in itself, not having 
praise as part of itself. Neither worse then nor better 
is a thing made by being praised. I affirm this also 
of the things which are called beautiful by the vulgar ; 
for example, material things and works of art. That 
which is really beautiful has no need of anything ; not 
more than law, not more than truth, not more than 
benevolence or modesty. Which of these things is 
beautiful because it is praised, or spoiled by being 
blamed ? Is such a thing as an emerald made worse 
than it was, if it is not praised ? or gold, ivory, purple, 
a lyre, a little knife, a flower, a shrub ? 

21. If souls continue to exist, how does the air con- 


tain them from eternity? But how does the earth 
contain the bodies of those who have been buried 
from time so remote ? For as here the mutation of 
these bodies after a certain continuance, whatever it 
may be, and their dissolution make room for other 
dead bodies; so the souls which are removed into the 
air after subsisting for some time are transmuted and dif- 
fused, and assume a fiery nature by being received into 
the seminal intelligence of the universe, and in this way 
make room for the fresh souls which come to dwell 
there. And this is the answer which a man might 
give on the hypothesis of souls continuing to exist. 
But we must not only think of the number of bodies 
which are thus buried, but also of the number of 
animals which are daily eaten by us and the other 
animals. For what a number is consumed, and thus 
in a manner buried in the bodies of those who feed on 
them ? And nevertheless this earth receives them by 
reason of the changes [of these bodies] into blood, 
and the transformations into the aerial, or the fiery 

What is the investigation into the truth in this mat- 
ter ? The division into that which is material and that 
which is the cause of form [the formal] (vii. 29). 

22. Do not be whirled about, but in every movement 
have respect to justice, and on the occasion of every 
impression maintain the faculty of comprehension [or 

23. Everything harmonizes with me, which is har- 
monious to thee, O Universe. Nothing for me is too 
early nor too late, which is in due time for thee. 
Everything is fruit to me which thy seasons bring, O 
Nature : from thee are all things, in thee are all things, 


to thee all things return. The poet says, Dear City 
of Cecrops ; and wilt not thou say, Dear city of Zeus? 
24. Occupy thyself with few things, says the philos- 
opher, if thou wouldst be tranquil. But consider if it 
would not be better to say, Do what is necessary, and 
whatever the reason of the animal which is naturally 
social requires, and as it requires. For this brings not 
only the tranquillity which comes from doing well, 
but also that which comes from doing few things. 
For the greatest part of what we say and do being un- 
necessary, if a man takes this away, he will have more 
leisure and less uneasiness. Accordingly on every 
occasion a man should ask himself, Is this one of the 
unnecessary things ? Now a man should take away not 
only unnecessary acts, but also unnecessary thoughts, 
for thus superfluous acts will not follow after. 

25. Try how the life of the good man suits thee, 
the life of him who is satisfied with his portion out of 
the whole, and satisfied with his own just acts and 
benevolent disposition. 

26. Hast thou seen those things? Look also at 
these. Do not disturb thyself. Make thyself all 
simplicity. Does any one do wrong? It is to himself 
that he does the wrong. Has anything happened to 
thee ? Well, out of the universe from the beginning 
everything which happens has been apportioned and 
spun out to thee. In a word, thy life is short. Thou 
must turn to profit the present by the aid of reason 
and justice. Be sober in thy relaxation. 

27. Either it is a well arranged universe* or a chaos 
huddled together, but still a universe. But can a 

* Antonius here uses the word ho6/uoS both in the sense of tha 
Universe and of Order; and it is difficult to express his meaning. 


certain order subsist in thee, and disorder in the All % 
And this, too, when all things are so separated and 
diffused and sympathetic. 

28. A black character, a womanish character, a 
stubborn character, bestial, childish, animal, stupid, 
counterfeit, scurrilous, fraudulent, tyrannical. 

29. If he is a stranger to the universe who does not 
know what is in it, no less is he a stranger who does 
not know what is going on it. He is a runaway, who 
flies from social reason ; he is blind, who shuts the eyes 
of the understanding ; he is poor, who has need of 
another, and has not from himself all things which are 
useful for life. He is an abscess on the universe who 
withdraws and separates himself from the reason of 
our common nature through being displeased with the 
things which happen, for the same nature produces 
this, and has produced thee too ; he is a piece rent 
asunder from the state, who tears his own soul from 
that of reasonable animals, which is one. 

30. The one is a philosopher without a tunic, and the 
other without a book ; here is another half-naked. 
Bread I have not, he says, and I abide by reason. 
And I do not get the means of living out of my learn- 
ing^ and I abide [by my reason]. 

31. Love the art, poor as it may be, which thou 
hast learned, and be content with it ; and pass through 
the rest of life like one who has intrusted to the gods 
with his whole soul all that he has, making thyself 
neither the tyrant nor the slave of any man. 

32. Consider, for example, the times of Yespasian. 
Thou wilt see all these things, people marrying, bring- 
ing up children, sick, dying, warring, feasting, traffick- 
ing, cultivating the ground, flattering, obstinately 


arrogant, suspecting, plotting, wishing for some to die, 
grumbling about the present, loving, heaping up 
treasure, desiring consulship, kingly power. "Well, 
then, that life of these people no longer exists at all. 
Again, remove to the times of Trajan. Again, all is 
the same. Their life, too, is gone. In like manner 
view also the other epochs of time and of whole 
nations, and see how many after great efforts soon fell 
and were resolved into the elements. But chiefly thou 
shouldst think of those whom thou hast thyself known 
distracting themselves about idle things, neglecting to 
do what was in accordance with their proper constitu- 
tion, and to hold firmly to this and to be content with 
it. And herein it is necessary to remember that the 
attention given to everything has its proper value and 
proportion. For thus thou wilt not be dissatisfied, if 
thou appliest thyself to smaller matters no further than 
is fit. 

33. The words which were formerly familiar are 
now antiquated ; so also the names of those who were 
famed of old, are now in a manner antiquated : 
Camillus, Csbso, Volesus, Leonnatus, and a little after 
also Scipio and Cato, then Augustus, then also Hadri- 
anus and Antoninus. For all things soon pass away 
and become a mere tale, and complete oblivion soon 
buries them. And I say this of those who have shone 
in a wondrous way. For the rest, as soon as they 
have breathed out their breath, they are gone, and no 
man speaks of them. And, to conclude the matter, 
what is even an eternal remembrance ? A mere 
nothing. What, then, is that about which we ought to 
employ our serious pains ? This one thing, thoughts 
just, and acts social, and words which never lie, and a 


disposition which gladly accepts all that happens, as 
necessary, as usual, as flowing from a principle and 
source of the same kind. 

34. Willingly give thyself up to Clotho [one of the 
fates], allowing her to spin thy thread f into whatever 
things she pleases. 

35. Everything is only for a day, both that w r hich 
remembers and that which is remembered. 

36. Observe constantly that all things take place by 
change, and accustom thyself to consider that the 
nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to 
change the things which are and to make new things 
like them. For everything that exists is in a manner 
the seed of that which will be. But thou art thinking 
only of seeds which are cast into the earth or into a 
womb : but this is a very vulgar notion. 

37. Thou wilt soon die, and thou art not yet simple, 
nor free from perturbations, nor "without suspicion of 
being hurt by external things, nor kindly disposed 
toward all ; nor dost thou yet place wisdom only in 
acting justly. 

38. Examine men's ruling principles, even those of 
the wise, what kind of things they avoid, and what 
kind they pursue. 

39. What is evil to thee does not subsist in the 
ruling principle of another ; nor yet in any turning 
and mutation of thy corporeal covering. Where is it 
then? It is in that part of thee in which subsists the 
power of forming opinions about evils. Let this power 
then not form [such] opinions, and all is well. And if 
that which is nearest to it, the poor body, is cut, burnt, 
filled with matter and rottenness, nevertheless let the 
part which forms opinions about these things be quiet, 


that is, let it judge that nothing is either bad or good 
which can happen equally to the bad man and the good. 
For that which happens equally to him who lives con- 
trary to nature and to him who lives according to 
nature, is neither according to nature nor contrary to 

40. Constantly regard the universe as one living 
being, having one substance and one soul; and observe 
how all things have reference to one perception, the 
perception of this one living being ; and how all things 
act with one movement ; and how all things are the 
co-operating causes of all things which exist ; observe 
too the continuous spinning of the thread and the 
contexture of the web. 

41. Thou art a little soul bearing about a corpse, as 
Epictetus used to say (i. c. 19). 

42. It is no evil for things to undergo change, 
and no good for things to subsist in consequence of 

43. Time is like a river made up of the events which 
happen, and a violent stream ; for as soon as a thing 
has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in 
its place, and this will be carried away too. 

44. Everything which happens is as familiar and 
well known as the rose in spring and the fruit in 
summer ; for such is disease, and death, and calumny, 
and treachery, and whatever else delights fools or 
vexes them. 

45. In the series of things those which follow are 
always aptly fitted to those which have gone before ;^ 
for this series is not like a mere enumeration of dis- 
jointed things, which has only a necessary sequence, 
but it is a rational connection : and as all existing 


things are arranged together harmoniously, so the 
things which come into existence exhibit no mere suc- 
cession, but a certain wonderful relationship (vi. 38 ; 
vii. 9 ; vii. 75, note). 

46. Always remember the saying of Heraclitus, that 
the death of earth is to become water, and the death 
of water is to become air, and the death of air is to 
become fire, and reversely. And think too of him who 
forgets whither the way leads, and that men quarrel 
with that with which they are most constantly in 
communion, the reason which governs the universe ; 
and the things which they daily meet with seem to 
them strange : and consider that we ought not to act 
and speak as if we were asleep, for even in sleep we 
seem to act and speak ; and that f we ought not, like 
children who learn from their parents, simply to act 
and speak as we have been taught.f 

47. If any god told thee that thou shalt die to-mor- 
row, or certainly on the day after to-morrow, thou 
wouldst not care much whether it was on the third 
day or on the morrow, unless thou wast in the highest 
degree mean-spirited for how small is the differ- 
ence? so think it no great thing to die after as many 
years as thou canst name rather than to-morrow. 

48. Think continually how many physicians are 
dead after often contracting their eyebrows over the 
sick ; and how many astrologers after predicting with 
great pretensions the deaths of others ; and how T many 
philosophers after endless discourses on death or im- 
mortality ; how many heroes after killing thousands ; 
and how many tyrants who have used their power 
over men's lives with terrible insolence as if they were 
immortal ; and how many cities are entirely dead, so 


to speak, Helice* and Pompeii and Herculaneum, and 
others innumerable. Add to the reckoning all whom 
thou hast known, one after another. One man after 
burying another has been laid out dead, and another 
buries him ; and all this in a short time. To conclude, 
always observe how ephemeral and worthless human 
things are, and what was yesterday a little mucus, to- 
morrow will be a mummy or ashes. Pass then through 
this little space of time conformably to nature, and 
end thy journey in content, just as an olive falls off 
when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and 
thanking the tree on which it grew. 

49. Be like the promotory against which the waves 
continually break, but it stands firm and tames the 
fury of the water around it. 

Unhappy am I, because this has happened to me 
Not so, but Happy am I, though this has happened to 
me, because I continue free from pain, neither crushed 
by the present nor fearing the future. For such a 
thing as this might have happened to every man ; but 
every man would not have continued free from pain 
on such an occasion. Why, then, is that rather a mis- 
fortune than this a good fortune ? And dost thou in 
all cases call that a man's misfortune, which is not a 
deviation from man's nature ? And does a thing seem to 
thee to be a deviation from man's nature, when it is not 
contrary to the will of man's nature? Well, thou kno west 
the will of nature. Will then this which has happened 
prevent thee from being just, magnanimous, temper- 
ate, prudent, secure against inconsiderate opinions and 

* Ovid, Met. xv. 293: 

Si quaeras Helicen et Burin Acliaidas urbes, 
Invenies sub aquis. 


falsehood ; will it prevent thee from having modesty, 
freedom, and everything else, by the presence of 
which man's nature obtains all that is its own ? Re- 
member, too, on every occasion which leads thee to 
vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a mis- 
fortune, but that to bear it nobty is good fortune. 

50. It is a vulgar, but still a useful help toward con- 
tempt of death, to pass in review those who have 
tenaciously stuck to life. What more then have they 
gained than those who have died early? Certainly 
they lie in their tombs somewhere at last, Cadicianus, 
Fabius, Julianus, Lepidus, or any one else like them, 
Avho have carried out many to be buried, and then 
were carried out themselves. Altogether the inter- 
val is small [between birth and death] ; and consider 
with how much trouble, and in company with what 
sort of people, and in what a feeble body this interval 
is laboriously passed. Do not then consider life a 
thing of any value, f For look to the immensity of 
time behind thee, and to the time which is before thee, 
another boundless space. In this infinity then what is 
the difference between him who lives three days and 
him who lives three generations ?* 

51. Always run to the short way ; and the short way 
is the natural : accordingly say and do everything in 
conformity with the soundest reason. For such a 
purpose frees a man from trouble, f and warfare, and 
all artifice and ostentatious display, 

* An allusion to Homer's Nestor, who was living at the war of 
Troy among the third generation, like old Parr with his hundred and 
fifty-two years, and some others in modern times who have beaten 
Parr by twenty or thirty years, if it is true; and yet they died at last. 



In the morning when thou risest unwillingly, let this 
thought be present I am rising to the work of a 
human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am 
going to do the things for which I exist and for which 
I was brought into the world ? Or have I been made 
for this, to lie in the bedclothes and keep myself warm ? 
But this is more pleasant. Dost thou exist then to 
take thy pleasure, and not at all for action or exer- 
tion ? Dost thou not see the little plants, the little 
birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together 
to put in order their several parts of the universe ? 
And art thou unwilling to do the work of a human 
being-, and dost thou not make haste to do that wiiich 
is according to thy nature? But it is necessary to take 
rest also. It is necessary : however nature has fixed 
bounds to this too : she has fixed bounds both to eating 
and drinking, and yet thou goest beyond these bounds, 
beyond what is sufficient ; yet in thy acts it is not so, 
but thou stoppest short of what thou canst do. So 
thou lovest not thyself, for if thou didst, thou wouldst 
love thy nature and her will. But those who love 
their several arts exhaust themselves in working at 
them unwashed and without food; but thou valuest 
thy own nature less than the turner values the turning 
art, or the dancer the dancing art, or the lover of 
money values his money, or the vainglorious man his 


little glory. And such men, when they have a violent 
affection to a thing, choose neither to eat nor to sleep 
rather than to perfect the things which they care for. 
But are the acts which concern society more vile in 
thy eyes and less worthy of thy labor ? 

2. How easy it is to repel and to wipe away every 
impression which is troublesome or unsuitable, and 
immediately to be in all tranquilly. 

3. Judge every word and deed which are according 
to nature to be fit for thee ; and be not diverted by 
the blame which follows from any people, nor by their 
words, but if a thing is good to be done or said, do not 
consider it unworthy of thee. For those persons have 
their peculiar leading principle and follow their pecu- 
liar movement ; which things do not thou regard, but 
go straight on, following thy own nature and the com- 
mon nature ; and the way of both is one. 

4. I go through the things which happen according 
to nature until I shall fall and rest, breathing out my 
breath into that element out of which I daily draw it 
in, and falling upon that earth out of which my father 
collected the seed, and my mother the blood, and my 
nurse the milk ; out of which during so many years I 
have been supplied with food and drink ; which bears 
me when I tread on it and abuse it for so many 

5. Thou sayest, men cannot admire the sharpness of 
thy wits Be it so ; but there are many other things 
of which thou canst not say, I am not formed for them 
by nature. Show those qualities then which are alto- 
gether in thy power : sincerity, gravity, endurance of 
labor, aversion to pleasure, contentment with thy por- 
tion and with few things, benevolence, frankness, no 


love of superfluity, freedom, from trifling magnanimity. 
Dost thou not see how many qualities thou art imme- 
diately able to exhibit, in which there is no excuse of 
natural incapacity and unfitness, and yet thou still 
remainest voluntarily below the mark? or art thou 
compelled through being defectively furnished by 
nature to murmur, and to be stingy, and to flatter, and 
to find fault with thy poor body, and to try to please 
men, and to make great display, and to be so restless 
in thy mind ? No, by the gods ; but thou mightest 
have been delivered from these things long ago. Only 
if in truth thou canst be charged with being rather 
slow and dull of comprehension, thou must exert thy- 
self about this also, not neglecting it nor yet taking 
pleasure in thy dullness. 

6. One man, when he has done a service to another, 
is ready to set it clown to his account as a favor con- 
ferred. Another is not ready to do this, but still in his 
own mind he thinks of the man as his debtor, and he 
knows what he has done. A third in a manner does 
not even know what he has done, but he is like a vine 
which has produced grapes, and seeks for nothing 
more after it has once produced its proper fruit. As a 
horse when he has run, a dog when he has tracked the 
game, a bee when it has made the honey, so a man 
when he has done a good act, does not call out for 
others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, 
as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in 
season. Must a man then be one of these, who in a 
manner act thus without observing it ? Yes. But this 
very tiling is necessary, the observation of what a man 
is doing; for, it may be said, it is characteristic of the 
social animal to perceive that he is working in a social 


manner, and indeed to wish that his social partner also 
should perceive it. It is true what thou say est, but 
thou dost not rightly understand what is now said ; 
and for this reason thou wilt become one of those of 
whom I spoke before, for even they are misled by a 
certain show of reason. But if thou wilt choose to 
understand the meaning of what is said, do not fear 
that for this reason thou wilt omit any social act. 

7. A prayer of the Athenians : Eain, rain, O dear 
Zeus, down on the plowed fields of the Athenians, 
and on the plains. In truth we ought not to pray at 
all, or we ought to pray in this simple and noble 

8. Just as we must understand when it is said, That 
iEsculapius prescribed to this man horse-exercise, or 
bathing in cold water, or going without shoes, so we 
must understand it when it is said, That the nature of 
the universe prescribed to this man disease or mutila- 
tion or loss of anything else of the kind. For in the 
first case prescribed means something like this: he 
prescribed this for this man as a thing adapted to pro- 
cure health ; and in the second case it means, that 
which happens* to [or suits] every man is fixed in a 
manner for him suitably to his destiny. For this is 
what we mean when we say that things are suitable to 
us, as the workmen say of squared stones in walls or 
the pyramids, that they are suitable, when they fit 
them to one another in some kind of connection. For 
there is altogether one fitness [harmony]. And as 
the universe is made up out of ail bodies to be such a 
body as it is, so out of all existing causes necessity 
[destiny] is made up to be such a cause as it is. And 

*In this section there is a play on the meaning of dvpfiaivetv. 


even those who are completely ignorant understand 
what I mean, for they say, It [necessity, destiny] 
brought this to such a person. This, then, was 
brought and this was prescribed to him. Let us then 
receive these things, as well as those which JEsculapiu? 
prescribes. Many, as a matter of course, even among 
his prescriptions, are disagreeable, but we accept them 
in the hope of health. Let the perfecting and accom- 
plishment of the things, which the common nature 
judges to be good, be judged by thee to be of the same 
kind as thy health. And so accept everything which 
happens, even if it seem disagreeable, because it leads 
to this, to the health of the universe and to the pros- 
perity and felicity of Zeus [the universe]. For he 
would not have brought on any man what he has brought, 
if it were not useful for the whole. Neither does the 
nature of anything, whatever it may be, cause any- 
thing which is not suitable to that which is directed by 
it. For two reasons, then, it is right to be content 
with that which happens to thee ; the one, because it 
was done for thee and prescribed for thee, and in a 
manner had reference to thee, originally from the 
most ancient causes spun with thy destiny ; and the 
other, because even that which comes severally to 
every man is to the power which administers the uni- 
verse a cause of felicity and perfection, nay even of its 
very continuance. For the integrity of the whole is 
mutilated, if thou cuttest off anything whatever from 
the conjunction and the continuity either of the parts 
or of the causes. And thou dost cut off, as far as it is 
in thy power, when thou art dissatisfied, and in a 
manner triest to put anything out of the way. 
9. Be not disgusted, nor discouraged, nor dissatisfied, 


if thou dost not succeed in doing everything according 
to right principles; but when thou hast failed, return 
back again, and be content if the greater part of what 
thou doest is consistent with man's nature, and love 
this to which thou returnest ; and do not return to 
philosophy as if she were a master, but act like those 
who have sore eyes and apply a bit of sponge and egg, 
or as another applies a plaster, or drenching with 
water. For thus thou wilt not fail to f obey reason 
and thou wilt repose in it. And rem ember that philoso- 
phy requires only the things which thy nature requires; 
but thou wouldst have something else which is not ac- 
cording to nature. It may be objected, Why, what 
is more agreeable than this [which I am doing]? But 
is not this the very reason why pleasure deceives us? 
And consider if magnanimity, freedom, simplicity, 
equanimity, piety, are not more agreeable. For what 
is more agreeable than wisdom itself, when thou 
thinkest of the security and the happy course of all 
things which depend on the faculty of understanding 
and knowledge? 

10. Things are in such a kind of envelopment that 
they have seemed to philosophers, not a few nor those 
common philosophers, altogether unintelligible; nay 
even to the Stoics themselves they seem difficult to 
understand. And all our assent is changeable; for 
where is the man who never changes? Carry thy 
thoughts then to the objects themselves, and consider 
how short-lived they are and worthless, and that they 
may be in the possession of a filthy wretch or a whore or 
a robber. Then turn to the morals of those who live 
with thee, and it is hardly possible to endure even the 
most agreeable of them, to say nothing of a man being 


hardly able to endure himself. In such darkness then, 
and dirt, and in so constant a flux, both of substance 
and of time, and of motion, and of things moved, what 
there is worth being highly prized, or even an object of 
serious pursuit, I cannot imagine. But on the contrary 
it is a man's duty to comfort himself, and to wait for 
the natural dissolution and not to be vexed at the delay, 
but to rest in these principles only: the one, that 
nothing will happen to me which is not conformable to 
the nature of the universe; and the other, that it is in 
my power never to act contrary to my god and 
demon: for there is no man who will compel me to 

11. About what am I now employing my own soul ? 
On every occasion I must ask myself this question, 
and inquire, what have I now in this part of me which 
they call the ruling principle ? and whose soul have I 
now ? that of a child, or of a young man, or of a feeble 
woman, or of a tyrant, or of a domestic animal, or of 
a wild beast ? 

12. What kind of things those are which appear 
good to the many, we may learn even from this. For 
if any man should conceive certain things as being 
really good, such as prudence, temperance, justice, 
fortitude, he would not after having first conceived 
these endure to listen to anythingf which should not 
be in harmony with what is really good.f But if a 
man has first conceived as good the things which 
appear to the many to be good, he will listen and 
readily receive as very applicable that which was said 
by the comic writer. fThus even the many perceive 
the difference! For Avere it not so, this saving would 
not offend and would not be rejected [in the first 


case], while we receive it when it is said of wealth, 
and of the means which further luxury and fame, as 
said fitly and wittily. Go on then and ask if we 
should value and think those things to be good, to 
which after their first conception in the mind the words 
of the comic writer might be aptiy applied that he 
who has them, through pure abundance has not a place 
to ease himself in. 

13. I am composed of the formal and the material ; 
and neither of them will perish into non-existence, as 
neither of them came into existence out of non- 
existence. Every part of me then will be reduced by 
change into some part of the universe, and that again 
will change into another part of the universe, and so 
on forever. And by consequence of such a change I 
too exist, and those who begot me, and so on forever 
in the other direction. For nothing hinders us from 
saying so, even if the universe is administered according 
to definite periods [of revolution]. 

14. Reason and the reasoning art [philosophy] are 
powers which are sufficient for themselves and for 
their own works. They move then from a first prin- 
ciple which is their own, and they make their way to 
the end which is proposed to them; and this is the 
reason why such acts are named Catorthoseis or right 
acts, which word signifies that they proceed by the 
right road. 

15. None of these things ought to be called a man's, 
which do not belong to a man, as man. They are not 
required of a man, nor does man's nature promise 
them, nor are they the means of man's nature attain- 
ing its end. Neither then does the end of man lie in 
these things, nor yet that which aids to the.accoin- 


plishraent of this end, and that which aids toward this 
end is that which is good. Besides, if any of these 
things did belong to man, it would not be right for a 
man to despise them and to set himself against them ; 
nor would a man be worthy of praise who showed that 
he did not want these things, nor would he who stinted 
himself in any of them be good, if indeed these things 
were good. But now the more of these things a man 
deprives himself of, or of other things like them, or 
even when he is deprived of any of them, the more 
patiently he endures the loss, just in the same degree 
he is a better man. 

16. Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will 
be the character of thy mind ; for the soul is dyed by 
the thoughts. Dye it then with a continuous series of 
such thoughts as these : for instance, that where a 
man can live, there he can also live well. But he must 
live in a palace well then, he can also live well in a 
palace. And again, consider that for whatever pur- 
pose each thing has been constituted, for this it has 
been constituted, and toward this it is carried ; and its 
end is in that toward which it is carried ; and where 
the end is, there also is the advantage and the good of 
each thing. ~Now the good for the reasonable animal 
is society ; for that we are made for society has been 
shown above.* Is it not plain that the inferior exist 
for the sake of the superior? but the things which 
have life are superior to those which have not life, and 
of those which have life the superior are those which 
have reason. 

17. To seek what is impossible is madness : and it is 

*Comp. ii. 1. 


impossible that the bad should not do something of this 

18. Nothing happens to any man which he is not 
formed by nature to bear. The same things happen to 
another, and either because he does not see that they 
have happened or because he would show a great 
spirit he is firm and remains unharmed. It is a shame 
then that ignorance and conceit should be stronger 
than wisdom. 

19. Things themselves touch not the soul, not in the 
least degree ; nor have they admission to the soul, nor 
can they turn or move the soul : but the soul turns 
and moves itself alone, and whatever judgments it may 
think proper to make, such it makes for itself the 
things which present themselves to it. 

20. In one respect man is the nearest thing to me, 
so far as I must do good to men and endure them. But 
so far as some men make themselves obstacles to my 
proper acts, man becomes to me one of the things 
which are indifferent, no less than the sun or wind or 
a wild beast. Now it is true that these may impede 
my action, but they are no impediments to ray affects 
and disposition, which have the power of acting con- 
ditionally and changing: for the mind converts and 
changes every hindrance to its activity into an aid : 

CD / %j 7 

and so that which is a hindrance is made a furtherance 
to an act ; and that which is an obstacle on the road 
helps us on this road. 

21. Reverence that which is best in the universe; 
and this is that which makes use of all things and 
directs all things. And in like manner also reverence 
that which is best in thyself; and this is of the same 
kind as that. For in thyself also, that which makes 


use of everything else, is this, and thy life is directed 
by this. 

22. That which does no harm to the State, does no 
harm to the citizen. In the case of every appearance 
of harm apply this rule : if the State is not harmed by 
this, neither am I harmed. But if the State is harmed, 
thou must not be angrj^ with him who does harm to 
the State. Show him where his error is. 

23. Often think of the rapidity with which things 
pass by and disappear, both the things which are and 
the things which are produced. For substance is like 
a river in a continual flow, and the activities of things 
are in constant change, and the causes work in infinite 
varieties ; and there is hardly anything which stands 
still. And consider this which is near to thee, this 
boundless abyss of the past and of the future in which 
all things disappear. How then is he not a fool who is 
puffed up with such things or plagued about them and 
makes himself miserable ? for they vex him only for a 
time, and a short time. 

24. Think of the universal substance, of which thou 
hast a very small portion ; and of universal time, of 
which a short and indivisible interval has been assigned 
to thee ; and of that which is fixed by destiny, and 
how small a part of it thou art. 

25 Does another do me wrong? Let him look to it. 
He has his own disposition, his own activity. I now 
have what the universal nature wills me to have; and 
I do what my nature now wills me to do. 

26. Let the part of thy soul which leads and governs 
be undisturbed by the movements in the flesh, whether 
of pleasure or of pain ; and let it not unite with them, 
but let it circumscribe itself and limit those affects to 


their parts. But when these affects rise up to the 
mind by virtue of that other sympathy that naturally 
exists in a body which is all one, then thou must not 
strive to resist the sensation, for it is natural : but let 
not the ruling part of itself add to the sensation the 
opinion that it is either good or bad. 

27. Live with the gods. And he does live with the 
gods who constantly shows to them that his own soul 
is satisfied with that which is assigned to him, ami 
that it does all that the demon wishes, which Zeus 
hath given to every man for his guardian and guide, a 
portion of himself. And this is every man's under- 
standing and reason. 

28. Art thou angry with him whose arm-pits stink ? 
Art thou angry with him whose mouth smells foul ? 
"What good will this anger do thee ? He has such a 
mouth, he has such arm-pits : it is necessary that such 
an emanation must come from such things but the 
man has reason, it will be said, and he is able, if he 
takes pains, to discover wherein he offends I wish 
thee well of thy discovery. Well, then, and thou hast 
reason : by thy rational faculty stir up his rational 
faculty ; show him his error, admonish him. For if he 
listens, thou wilt cure him, and there is no need of 
anger, [f Neither tragic actor nor whore. f]* 

29. As thou intendest to live when thou art gone 
out, . . . so it is in thy power to live here. But if 
men do not permit thee, then get away out of life, yet 
so as if thou Avert suffering no harm. The house is 
smoky, and I quit it. Why dost thou think that this 

*This is imperfect or corrupt, or both. I Lave translated it 
literally and left it imperfect. 
J Epictetus, i. 25, 18. 


is any trouble ? But so long as nothing of the kind 
drives me out, I remain, am free, and no man shall 
hinder me from doing what I choose ; and I choose to 
do what is according to the nature of the rational and 
social animal. 

30. The intelligence of the universe is social. 
Accordingly it has made the inferior things for the 
sake of the superior, and it has fitted the superior to one 
another. Thou seest how it has subordinated, co-ordi- 
nated and assigned to everything its proper portion, 
and has brought together into concord with one 
another the things which are the best. 

31. How hast thou behaved hitherto to the gods, 
thy parents, brethren, children, teachers, to those who 
looked after thy infancy, to thy friends, kinsfolk, to 
thy slaves? Consider if thou hast hitherto behaved 
to all in such a way that this may be said of thee : 

Never has wronged a man in deed or word. 

And call to recollection both how many things thou 
hast passed through, and how many things thou hast 
been able to endure : and that the history of thy life 
is now complete, and thy service is ended: and how 
many beautiful things thou hast seen : and how many 
pleasures and pains thou hast despised ; and how many 
things called honorable thou hast spurned ; and to how 
many ill - minded folks thou hast shown a kind 

32. "Why do unskilled and ignorant souls disturb 
him who has skill and knowledge? What soul then 
has skill and knowledge? That which knows bemn- 
ning and end, and knows the reason which pervades 


all substance and through all time by fixed periods 
[revolutions] administers the universe. 

33. Soon, very soon, thou wilt be ashes, or a skeleton, 
and either a name or not even a name ; but name is 
sound and echo. And the things which are much 
valued in life are empty and rotten and trilling, and 
[like] little dogs biting one another, and little children 
quarrelling, laughing, and then straightway weeping. 
But fidelity and modesty and justice and truth are 

Up to Olympus from the wide-spread earth. 

Hesiod, Works, etc., v. 197. 

"What then is there which still detains thee here? If 
the objects of sense are easily changed and never 
stand still, and the organs of perception are dull and 
easily receive false impressions ; and the poor soul 
itself is an exhalation from blood. But to have good 
repute amid such a world as this is an empty thing. 
Why then dost thou not wait in tranquillity for thy 
end, whether it is extinction or removal to another 
state ? And until that time comes, what is sufficient ? 
"Why, what else than to venerate the gods and bless 
them, and to do good to men, and to practice tolerance 
and self-restraint ; * but as to everything which is 
beyond the limits of the poor flesh and breath, to 
remember that this is neither thine nor in thy power. 
34. Thou canst pass thy life in an equable flow of 
happiness, if thou canst go by the right way, and think 
and act in the right way. These two things are com- 

* This is the Stoic precept dvsxov xai drte'xov. The first part 
teaches us to be content with men and things as they are. The 
second part teaches us the virtue of self restraint, or the government 
of our passions. 


mon both to the soul of God and to the soul of man, 
and to the soul of every rational being, not to be 
hindered by another ; and to hold good to consist in 
the disposition to justice and the practice of it, and in 
this to let thy desire find its termination. 

35. If this is neither my own badness, nor an effect 
of my own badness, and the common weal is not 
injured, why am I troubled about it? and what is the 
harm to the common weal ( 

36. Do not be carried along inconsiderately by the 
appearance of things, but give help [to all] according 
to thy ability and their litness ; and if they should 
have sustained loss in matters which are indifferent, do 
not imagine this to be a damage. For it is a bad 
habit. But as the old man, when he went away, 
asked back his foster-child's top, remembering that it 
was a top, so do thou in this case also. 

When thou art calling out on the Rostra, hast thou 
forgotten, man, what these things are 1 Yes ; but they 
are objects of great concern to these people wilt thou 
too then be made a fool for these things '( I was once 
a fortunate man, but I lost it, I know not how. But 
fortunate means that a man has assigned to himself a 
good fortune ; and a good fortune is good disposition 
of the soul, good emotions, good actions.* 

*This section is unintelligible. Many of the words may be 
corrupt, and the general purport of the section cannot be discovered. 
Perhaps several things have been improperly joined in one section. 
I have translated it nearly literally. Different translators give the 
section a different turn, and the critics have tried to mend what they 
cannot understand. 



The SUBSTANCE of the universe is obedient and com- 
pliant; and the reason which governs it has in itself 
no cause for doing evil, for it has no malice, nor does 
it do evil to anything, nor is anything harmed by it. 
l>nt all things are made and perfected according to 
this reason. 

2. Let it make no difference to thee whether thou 
art cold or warm, if thou art doing thy duty ; and 
whet her thou art drowsy or satisfied with sleep; and 
whether ill-spoken of or praised ; and whether dying 
or doing something else. For it is one of the acts of 
life, this act by which we die ; it is sufficient then in 
this act also to do well what we have in hand 
(vi. 22, 28). 

.'{. Look within. Let neither the peculiar quality of 
anything nor its value escape thee. 

4. All existing things soon change, and they will 
either bo reduced to vapor, if indeed all substance is 
one, or they will bo dispersed. 

5. The reason which governs knows what its own 
disposition is, and what it does, and on what material 
it works. 

6. The best way of avenging thyself is not to become 
like | the wrong doer]. 

7. Tako pleasure in one thing and rest in it, in 


passing from one social act to another social act, think- 
ing of God. 

8. The ruling principle is that which rouses and 
turns itself, and while it makes itself such as it is and 
such as it wills to be, it also makes everything which 
happens appear to itself to be such as it wills. 

9. In conformity to the nature of the universe every 
single thing is accomplished, for certainly it is not in 
con form ity to any other nature that each thing is 
accomplished, either a nature which externally com- 
prehends this, or a nature which is comprehended 
within this nature, or a nature external and inde- 
pendent of this (xi. 1, vi. 40, viii. 50). 

10. The universe is either a confusion, and a mutual 
involution of things, and a dispersion ; or it is unity 
and order and providence. If then it is the former, 
why do I desire to tarry in a fortuitous combination 
of things and such a disorder ? and why do I care about 
anvthing else than how I shall at last become earth? 
and why am I disturbed, for the dispersion of my ele- 
ments will happen whatever I do. But if the other 
supposition is true, I venerate, and I am firm, and I 
trust in him who governs (iv. 27). 

11. When thou hast been compelled by circum- 
stances to be disturbed in a manner, quickly return to 
thyself and do not continue out of tune longer than 
the compulsion lasts; for thou wilt have more mastery 
over the harmony by continually recurring to it. 

12. If thou hadst a step-mother and a mother at the 
same time, thou wouldst be dutiful to thy step-mother, 
but still thou wouldst constantly return to thy mother. 
Let the court and philosophy now be to thee step- 
mother and mother; return to philosophy frequently 


and repose in her, through whom what thou meetest 
with in the court appears to thee tolerable, and thou 
appearest tolerable in the court. 

13. "When we have meat before us and such eatables, 
we receive the impression, that this is the dead body 
of a fish, and this is the dead body of a bird or of a pig ; 
and again, that this Falernian is only a little grape 
juice, and this purple robe some sheep's wool dyed 
with the blood of a shell-fish ; such then are these im- 
pressions, and they reach the things themselves and 
penetrate them, and so we see what kind of things 
they are. Just in the same way ought we to act all 
through life, and where there are things which appear 
most worthy of our approbation, we ought to lay them 
bare and look at their worthlessness and strip them of 
all the words by which they are exalted. For outward 
show is a wonderful perverter of the reason, and when 
thou art most sure that thou art employed about 
things worth thy pains, it is then that it cheats thee 
most. Consider then what Crates says of Xenocrates 

14. Most of the things which the multitude admire 
are referred to objects of the most general kind, those 
which are held together by cohesion or natural organi- 
zation, such as stones, wood, fig-trees, vines, olives. 
But those which are admired by men, who are a little 
more reasonable, are referred to the things which are 
held together by a living principle, as flocks, herds. 
Those which are admired by men who are still more 
instructed are the things which are held together by a 
rational soul, not however a universal soul, but rational 
so far as it is a soul skilled in some art, or expert in some 
other way, or simply rational so far as it possesses a 


number of slaves. But he who values a rational soul, 
a soul universal and fitted for political life, regards 
nothing else except this ; and above all things he keeps 
his soul in a condition and in an activity conformable 
to reason and social life, and he co-operates to this end 
with those who are of the same kind as himself. 

15. Some things are hurrying into existence, and 
others are hurrying out of it ; and of that which is 
coming into existence part is already extinguished. 
Motions and changes are continually renewing the 
world, just as the uninterrupted course of time is 
always renewing the infinite duration of ages. In 
this flowing stream then, on which there is no abiding, 
what is there of the things which hurry by on which 
a man would set a high price ? It would be just as if 
a man should fall in love with one of the sparrows 
which fly by, but it has already passed out of sight. 
Something of this kind is the very life of every man, 
like the exhalation of the blood and the respiration of 
the air. For such as it is to have once drawn in the air 
and to have given it back, which we do every moment, 
just the same as it is with the whole respiratory power, 
which thou didst receive at thy birth yesterday and 
the day before, to give it back to the element from 
which thou didst first draw it. 

16. Neither is transpiration, as in plants, a thing to 
be valued, nor respiration, as in domesticated animals 
and wild beasts, nor the receiving of impressions by 
the appearances of things, nor being moved by desires 
as puppets by strings, nor assembling in herds, nor 
being nourished by footl ; for this is just like the act of 
separating and parting with the useless part of our 
food. "What then is worth being valued? To be re- 


ceived with clapping of hands? No. Neither must 
we value the clapping of tongues for the praise which 
comes from the many is a clapping of tongues. Sup- 
pose then that thou hast given up this worthless thing 
called fame, what remains that is worth valuing? 
This, in my opinion, to move thyself and to restrain 
thyself in conformity to thy proper constitution, to 
which end both all employments and arts lead. For 
every art aims at this, that the thing which has been 
made should be adapted to the work for which it has 
been made ; and both the vine-planter who looks after 
the vine, and the horse-breaker, and he who trains the 
dog, seek this end. But the education and the teach- 
ing of youth aim at something. In this then is the 
value of the education and the teaching. And if this 
is well, thou wilt not seek anything else. Wilt thou 
not cease to value many other things too? Then thou 
wilt be neither free, nor sufficient for thy own happi- 
ness, nor without passion. For of necessity thou must 
be envious, jealous, and suspicious of those who can 
take away those things, and plot against those who 
have that which is valued by thee. Of necessity a 
man must be altogether in a state of perturbation who 
wants any of these things ; and besides, he must often 
find fault with the gods. But to reverence and honor 
thy own mind will make thee content with thyself, 
and in harmony with society, and in agreement with 
the gods, that is, praising all that they give and have 

17. Above, below, all around are the movements of 
the elements. But the motion of virtue is in none of 
these ; it is something more divine, and advancing by 
a way hardly observed it goes happily on its road. 


18. How strangely men act. They will not praise 
those who are living at the same time and living with 
themselves ; but to be themselves praised by posterity, 
by those whom they have never seen or ever will see, 
this they set much value on. But this is very much 
the same as if thou shouldst be grieved because those 
who have lived before thee did not praise thee. 

19. If a thing is difficult to be accomplished by thyself, 
do not think that it is impossible for man ; but if any- 
thing is possible for man and conformable to his nature, 
think that this can be attained by thyself too. 

20. In the gymnastic exercises suppose that a man 
has torn thee with his nails, and by dashing against 
thy head has inflicted a wound. Well, we neither 
show any signs of vexation, nor are we offended, nor 
do we suspect him afterward as a treacherous fellow ; 
and yet we are on our guard against him, not however 
as an enemy, nor yet with suspicion, but we quietly 
get out of his way. Something like this let thy be- 
havior be in all the other parts of life ; let us overlook 
many things in those who are like antagonists in the 
gymnasium. For it is in our power, as I said, to get 
out of the way, and to have no suspicion nor hatred. 

21. If any man is able to convince me and show me 
that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change ; 
for I seek the truth by which no man was every in- 
jured. But he is injured who abides in his error and 

22. I do my duty: other things trouble me not; 
for they are either things without life, or things with- 
out reason, or things that have rambled and know not 
the way. 

23. As to the animals which have no reason, and 


generally all things and objects, do thou, since thou 
hast reason and they have none, make use of them 
with a generous and liberal spirit. But toward 
human beings, as they have reason, behave in a social 
spirit. And on all occasions call on the gods, and do 
not perplex thyself about the length of time in which 
thou shalt do this ; for even three hours so spent are 

24. Alexander the Macedonian and his groom by 
death were brought to the same state ; for either they 
were received among the same seminal principles of 
the universe, or they were alike dispersed among the 

25. Consider how many things in the same indivisi- 
ble time take place in each of us, things which concern 
the body and things which concern the soul ; and so 
thou wilt not wonder if many more things, or rather 
all thing's which come into existence in that which is 
the one and all, which we call Cosmos, exist in it at 
the same time. 

26. If any man should propose to thee the question, 
how the name Antoninus is written, wouldst thou with 
a straining of the voice utter each letter ? What then 
if they grow angry, wilt thou be angry too? Wilt 
thou not go on with composure and number every 
letter ? Just so then in this life also remember that 
every duty is made up of certain parts. These it is 
thy duty to observe and without being disturbed or 
showing anger toward those who are angry with thee 
to go on thy way and finish that which is set before 

27. How cruel it is not to allow men to strive after 
the things which appear to them to be suitable to their 


nature and profitable ! And yet in a manner thou dost 
not allow them to do this, when thou art vexed because 
they do wrong. For they are certainly moved toward 
things because they suppose them to be suitable to 
their nature and profitable to them. But it is not 
so. Teach them then, and show them without being 

28. Death is a cessation of the impressions through 
the senses, and of the pulling of the strings which 
move the appetites, and of the discursive movements 
of the thoughts, and of the service to the flesh (ii. 12). 

29. It is a shame for the soul to be first to give way 
in this life, when thy body does not give way. 

30. Take care that thou art not made into a Cassar, 
that thou art not dyed with this dye ; for such things 
happen. Keep thyself then simple, good, pure, serious, 
free from affectation, a friend of justice, a worshiper 
of the gods, kind, affectionate, strenuous in all proper 
acts. Strive to continue to be such as philosophy 
wished to make thee. Eeverence the gods, and help 
men. Short is life. There is only one fruit of this 
terrene life, a pious disposition and social acts. Do 
everything as a disciple of Antoninus. Remember his 
constancy in every act which was conformable to 
reason, and his evenness in all things, and his piety, 
and the serenity of his countenance, and his sweetness, 
and his disregard of empty fame, and his efforts to 
understand things ; and how he would never let any- 
thing pass without having first most carefully exam- 
ined it and clearly understood it ; and how he bore 
with those who blamed him unjustly without blaming 
them in return ; how he did nothing in a hurry ; and 
how he listened not to calumnies, and how exact an 


examiner of manners and actions he was ; and not 
given to reproach people, nor timid, nor suspicious, 
nor a sophist; and with how little he was satisfied, 
such as lodging, bed, dress, food, servants ; and how 
laborious and patient; and how he was able on account 
of his sparing diet to hold out to the evening, not 
even requiring to relieve himself by any evacuations 
except at the usual hour ; and his firmness and uni- 
formity in his friendships; and how he tolerated 
freedom of speech in those who opposed his opinions ; 
and the pleasure that he had when any man showed 
him anything better; and how religious he was with- 
out superstition. Imitate all this that thou mayest 
have as good a conscience, when thy last hour comes, 
as he had (i. 16). 

31. Return to thy sober senses and call thyself back ; 
and when thou hast roused thyself from sleep and hast 
perceived that they were only dreams which troubled 
thee, now in thy waking hours look at these [the 
things about thee] as thou didst look at those [the 

32. I consist of a little body and a soul. Now to 
this little body all things are indifferent, for it is not 
able to perceive differences. But to the understanding 
those things only are indifferent, which are not the 
works of its own activity. But whatever things are 
the works of its own activity, all these are in its 
power. And of these, however, only those which are 
done with reference to the present ; for as to the 
future and the past activities of the mind, even these 
are for the present indifferent. 

33. Neither the labor which the hand does nor that 
of the foot is contrary to nature, so long as the foot 


does the foot's work and the hand the hand's. So 
then neither to a man as a man is his labor contrary to 
nature, so long as it does the things of a man. But if 
the labor is not contrary to his nature, neither is it an 
evil to him. 

34. How many pleasures have been enjoyed by 
robbers, patricides, tyrants. 

35. Dost thou not see how the handicraftsmen ac- 
commodate themselves up to a certain point to those 
who are not skilled in their craft nevertheless they 
cling to the reason [the principles] of their art and do 
not endure to depart from it ? Is it not strange if the 
architect and the physician shall have more respect to 
the reason [the principles] of their own arts than man 
to his own reason, which is common to him and the 

36. Asia, Europe are corners of the universe ; all the 
sea a drop in the universe ; Athos a little clod of the 
universe ; all the present time is a point in eternity. 
All things are little, changeable, perishable. All 
things come from thence, from that universal ruling 
power either directly proceeding or by way of sequence. 
And accordingly the lion's gaping jaws, and that which 
is poisonous, and every harmful thing, as a thorn, as 
mud, are after-products of the grand and beautiful. 
Do not then imagine that they are of another kind 
from that which thou dost venerate, but form a just 
opinion of the source of all (vii. 75). 

37. He who has seen present things has seen all, 
both everything which has taken place from all eternity 
and everything which will be for time without end; 
for all things are of one kin and of one form. 

38. Frequently consider the connection of all things 
in the universe and their relation to one another. For 


in a manner all things are implicated with one another, 
and all in this way are friendly to one another ; for 
one thing comes in order after another, and this is by 
virtue of thef active movement and mutual conspira- 
tion and the unity of the substance (ix. 1). 

39. Adapt thyself to the things with which thy lot 
has been cast; and the men among whom thou hast 
received thy portion, love them, but do it truly 

40. Every instrument, tool, vessel, if it does that for 
which it has been made, is well, and yet he who made 
it is not there. But in the things which are held to- 
gether by nature there is within and there abides in 
them the power which made them ; wherefore the 
more is it fit to reverence this power, and to think, 
that, if thou dost live and act according to its will, 
everything in thee is in conformity to intelligence. 
And thus also in the universe the things which belong 
to it are in conformity to intelligence. 

41. "Whatever of the things which are not within 
thy power thou shalt suppose to be good for thee or 
evil, it must of necessity be that, if such a bad thing 
befall thee or the loss of such a good thing, thou wilt 
blame the gods, and hate men too, those who are the 
cause of the misfortune or the loss, or those who are 
suspected of being likely to be the cause ; and indeed 
we do much injustice, because we make a difference 
between these things [because we do not regard these 
things as indifferentf]. But if we judge only those 
things which are in our power to be good or bad, there 
remains no reason either for finding fault with God or 
standing in a hostile attitude to man.* 

*Cicero, De Natura Deorooi, iii. 32. 


42. We are all working together to one end, some 
with knowledge and design, and others without know- 
ing what they do ; as men also when they are asleep, 
of whom it is Heraclitus, I think, who says that they 
are laborers and co-operators in the things which take 
place in the universe. But men co-operate after dif- 
ferent fashions: and even those co operate abundantly, 
who find fault with what happens and those who try 
to oppose it and to hinder it ; for the universe had 
need even of such men as these. It remains then for 
thee to understand among what kind of workmen thou 
placest thyself; for he who rules all things will cer- 
tainly make a right use of thee, and he will receive 
thee among some part of the co-operators and of those 
whose labors conduce to one end. But be not thou 
such a part as the mean and ridiculous verse in the 
play, which Chrysippus speaks of.* 

43. Does the sun undertake to do the work of the 
rain, or JEsculapius the work of the Fruit-bearer [the 
earth] ? And how is it with respect to each of the 
stars, are they not different, and yet they work to- 
gether to the same end ? 

44. If the gods have determined about me and about 
the things which must happen to me, the}^ have de- 
termined well, for it is not easy even to imagine a 
deity without forethought ; and as to doing me harm, 
why should they have any desire toward that? for 
what advantage would result to them from this or to 
the whole, which is the special object of their provi- 
dence? But if they have not determined about me 
individually, they have certainly determined about the 
whole at least, and the things which happen by way 

*Plutarch, adversus Stoicos, c. 14. 


of sequence in this general arrangement I ought to 
accept with pleasure and to be content with them. But 
if they determine about nothing which it is wicked 
to believe, or if we do believe it, let us neither sacrifice 
nor pray nor swear by them, nor do anything else 
which we do as if the gods were present and lived 
with us but if, however, the gods determine about 
none of the things which concern us, I am able to 
determine about myself, and I can inquire about that 
which is useful ; and that is useful to every man which 
is conformable to his own constitution and nature. 
But my nature is rational and social ; and my city and 
country, so far as I am Antoninus, is Rome, but so far 
as I am a man, it is the world. The things then which 
are useful to these cities are alone useful to me. 

45. Whatever happens to every man, this is for the 
interest of the universal ; this might be sufficient. But 
further thou wilt observe this also as a general truth, 
if thou dost observe, that whatever is profitable to any 
man is profitable also to other men. But let the word 
profitable be taken here in the common sense as said 
of things of the middle kind [neither good nor bad]. 

46. As it happens to thee in the amphitheater and 
such places, that the continual sight of the same 
things and the uniformity make the spectacle weari- 
some, so it is in the whole of life ; for all things above, 
below, are the same and from the same. How long 

47. Think continually that all kinds of men and of 
all kinds of pursuits and of all nations are dead, so 
that thy thoughts come down even to Philistion and 
Phoebus and Origanion. Now turn thv thoughts to 
the other kinds [of men]. To that place then we 


must remove, where there are so many great orators, 
ami so many noble philosophers, Heraclitus, Pytha- 
goras, Socrates ; so many heroes of former days, and 
so many generals after them, and tyrants ; besides 
these, Eudoxus, Hipparchns, Archimedes, and other 
men of acute natural talents, great minds, lovers of 
labor, versatile, confident, mockers even of the perish- 
able and ephemeral life of man, as Menippus and such 
as are like him. As to all these consider that they 
have long been in the dust. What harm then is this 
to them ; and what to those whose names are alto- 
gether unknown? One thing here is worth a great 
deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevo- 
lent disposition even to liars and unjust men. 

4S. When thou wishest to delight thyself, think of 
the virtues of those who live with thee ; for instance, 
the activity of one, and the modesty of another, and 
the liberality of a third, and some other good quality 
of a fourth. For nothing delights so much as the 
examples of the virtues, when they are exhibited in 
the morals of those who live with us and present them- 
selves in abundance, as far as is possible. Wherefore 
we must keep them before us. 

49. Thou art not dissatisfied, I suppose, because thou 
weighest only so many litre and not three hundred. Be 
not dissatisfied then that thou must live only so many 
years and not more ; for as thou art satisfied with the 
amount of substance which has been assigned to thee, 
so be content with the time. 

50. Let us try to persuade them [men]. But act 
even against their will, when the principles of justice 
lead that way. If, however, any man by using force 
stands in thy way, betake thyself to contentment and 


tranquillity, and at the same time employ the 
hinderance toward the exercise of some other virtue ; 
and remember that thy attempt was with a reservation 
[conditionally], that thou didst not desire to do impos- 
sibilities. What then didst thou desire? Some such 
effort as this. But thou attainest thy object, if 
the things to which thou wast moved are [not] 

51. He who loves fame considers another man's 
activity to be his own good ; and he who loves 
pleasure, his own sensations ; but he who has under- 
standing, considers his own acts to be his own good. 

52. It is in our power to have no opinion about a 
thing, and not to be disturbed in our soul ; for things 
themselves have no natural power to form our 

53. Accustom thyself to attend carefully to what is 
said by another, and as much as it is possible, be in the 
speaker's mind. 

54. That which is not good for the swarm, neither is 
it good for the bee. 

55. If sailors abused the helmsman or the sick the 
doctor, would they listen to anybody else ; or how 
could the helmsman secure the safety of those in 
the ship or the doctor the health of those whom he 
attends ? 

56. How many together with whom I came into the 
world are already gone out of it. 

57. To the jaundiced honey tastes bitter, and to 
those bitten by mad dogs water causes fear ; and to 
little ohildren the ball is a fine thing-. Whv then am 
I angry? Dost thou think that a false opinion has 
less power than the bile in the jaundiced or the poison 
in him who is bitten by a mad dog. 


58. No man will hinder thee from living according 
to the reason of thy own nature : nothing will happen 
to thee contrary to the reason of the universal 

59. What kind of people are those whom men wish 
to please, and for what objects, and by what kind of 
acts? How soon will time cover all things, and how 
many it has covered already. 



What is badness? It is that which thou hast often 
seen. And on the occasion of everything which 
happens keep this in mind, that it is that which thou 
hast often seen. Everywhere up and down thou wilt 
find the same things, with which the old histories are 
filled, those of the middle ages and those of our own 
day; with which cities and houses are filled now. 
There is nothing new ; all things are both familiar and 
short lived. 

2. How can our principles become dead, unless the 
impressions [thoughts] which correspond to them are 
extinguished ? But it is in thy power continuously to 
fan these thoughts into a flame. I can have that 
opinion about anything, which I ought to have. If I 
can, why am I disturbed? The things which are ex- 
ternal to my mind have no relation at all to my mind. 
Let this be the state of thy affects, and thou standest 
erect. To recover thy life is in thy power. Look at 
things again as thou didst use to look at them ; for in 
this consists the recovery of thy life. 

3. The idle business of show, plays on the stage, flocks 
of sheep, herds, exercises with spears, a bone cast to 
little dogs, a bit of bread into fish-ponds, laborings of 
ants and burden-carrying, runnings about of fright- 
ened little mice, puppets pulled by strings [all alike]. 
It is thy duty then in the midst of such things to show 


good humor and not a proud air ; to understand, how- 
ever, that every man is worth just so much as the 
things are worth about which he busies himself. 

4. In discourse thou must attend to what is said, and 
in everv movement thou must observe what is doing. 
And in the one thou shouldst see immediately to what 
end it refers, but in the other watch carefully what is 
the thing signified. 

5. Is my understanding sufficient for this or not? If 
it is sufficient I use it for the work as an instrument 
given by the universal nature. But if it is not suffi- 
cient, then either I retire from the work and give way 
to him who is able to do it better, unless there be some 
reason why I ought not to do so ; or I do it as well as I 
can, taking to help me the man who with the aid of 
my ruling principle can do what is now fit and useful 
for the general good. For whatsoever either by m} 7 self 
or with another I can do, ought to be directed to this 
only, to that which is useful and well-suited to society. 

6. How many after being celebrated by fame have 
been given up to oblivion ; and how many who have 
celebrated the fame of others have long been dead. 

7. Be not ashamed to be helped ; for it is thy busi- 
ness to do thy duty like a soldier in the assault on a 
town. How then, if being lame thou canst not mount 
up on the battlements alone, but with the help of 
another it is possible? 

8. Let not future things disturb thee, for thou wilt 
come to them, if it shall be necessary, having with thee 
the same reason which now thou usest for present 

9. All things are implicated with one another, and 
the bond is holy ; and there is hardly anything uncon- 


nected with any other thing. For things have been 
co-ordinated, and they combine to form the same uni- 
verse [order]. For there is one universe made up of 
all things, and one god who pervades all things, and 
one substance, and one law, [one] common reason in 
all intelligent animals, and one truth ; if indeed there 
is also one perfection for all animals which are of the 
same stock and participate in the same reason. 

10. Everything material soon disappears in the sub- 
stance of the whole; and everything formal [causal] is 
very soon taken back into the universal reason; and 
the memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed 
in time. 

11. To the rational animal the same act is according 
to nature and according to reason. 

12. Be thou erect, or be made erect (hi. 5). 

13. Just as it is with the members in these bodies 
which are united in one, so it is with rational beings 
which exist separate, for they have been constituted 
for one co-operation. And the perception of this will 
be more apparent to thee, if thou often sayest to thy- 
self that I am a member \jie'Xoi\ of the system of 
rational beings. But if [using the letter r\ thou sayest 
that thou art a part [Me'pos], thou dost not yet love men 
from thy heart ; beneficence does not yet delight thee 
for its own sake; thou still doest it barely as a thing 
of propriety, and not yet as doing good to thyself. 

14. Let there fall externally what will on the parts 
which can feel the effects of this fall. For those parts 
which have felt will complain, if they choose. But I, 
unless I think that what has happened is an evil, am 
not injured. And it is in my power not to think so. 

15. Whatever any one does or says, I must be good. 


just as if the gold, or the emerald, or the purple were 
ahvays saying this, Whatever any one does or says, I 
must be emerald and keep my color. 

16. The ruling faculty does not disturb itself ; I 
mean, does not frighten itself or cause itself pain.f 
But if any one else can frighten or pain it, let him do 
so. For the faculty itself will not b} 7 its own opinion 
turn itself into such ways. Let the body itself take 
care, if it can, that it suffer nothing, and let it speak, 
if it suffers. But the soul itself, that which is subject 
to fear, to pain, which has completely the power of 
forming an opinion about these things, will suffer 
nothing, for it will never deviate into such a judgment. 
The leading principle in itself wants nothing, unless it 
makes a want for itself ; and therefore it is both free 
from perturbation and unimpeded, if it does not dis- 
turb and impede itself. 

17. Eudaemonia [happiness] is a good demon, or a 
good thing. What then art thou doing here, O 
imagination ? go away, I entreat thee by the gods, as 
thou didst come, for I want thee not. But thou art 
come according to thy old fashion. I am not angry 
with thee ; only go away. 

18. Is any man afraid of change? Why what can 
take place without change ? What then is more pleas- 
ing or more suitable to the universal nature ? And 
canst thou take a bath unless the wood undergoes a 
change ? And canst thou be nourished, unless the food 
undergoes a change ? And can anything else that is 
useful be accomplished without change? Dost thou 
not see then that for thyself also to change is just the 
same, and equally necessary for the universal nature ? 

19. Through the universal substance as through a 


furious torrent all bodies are carried, being by their 
nature united with and co-operating with the whole, 
as the parts of our body with one another. How many 
a Chrysippus, how many a Socrates, how many an 
Epictetus has time already swallowed up ? And let 
the same thought occur to thee with reference to every 
man and thing (v. 23; vi. 15). 

20. One thing only troubles me, lest I should do 
something which the constitution of man does not 
allow, or in the way which it does not allow, or what 
it does not allow now. 

21. Near is thy forgetfulness of all things ; and near 
the forgetfulness of thee by all. 

22. It is peculiar to man to love even those who do 
wrong. And this happens, if when they do wrong it 
occurs to thee that they are kinsmen, and that they do 
wrong through ignorance and unintentionally, and 
that soon both of you will die ; and above all, that the 
wrong-doer has done thee no harm, for he has not 
made thy ruling faculty worse than it was before. 

23. The universal nature out of the universal sub- 
stance, as if it were wax, now molds a horse, and 
when it has broken this up, it uses the material for a 
tree, then for a man, then for something else ; and 
each of these things subsists for a very short time. 
But it is no hardship for the vessel to be broken up, 
just as there was none in its being fastened together 
(viii. 50). 

24. A scowling look is altogether unnatural ; when 
it is often assumed,* the result is that all comeliness 
dies away, and at last is so completely extinguished 
that it cannot be again lighted up at all. Try to con- 

S i . ,.-.,., . . ... , . - , - * 

* This is corrupt. 


elude from this very fact that it is contrary to reason. 
For if even the perception of doing wrong shall 
depart, what reason is there for living any longer ? 

25. Nature which governs the whole will soon 
change all things which thou seest, and out of their 
substance will make other things, and again other 
things from the substance of them, in order that the 
world may be ever new (xii. 23). 

26. When a man has done thee any wrong, imme- 
diately consider with what opinion about good or evil 
he has done wrong. For when thou hast seen this, 
thou wilt pity him, and wilt neither wonder nor be 
angry. For either thou thyself thinkest the same 
thing to be good that he does, or another thing of the 
same kind. It is thy duty then to pardon him. 
But if thou dost not think such things to be good or 
evil, thou wilt more readily be well disposed to him 
who is in error. 

27. Think not so much of what thou hast not as of 
what thou hast : but of the things which thou hast 
select the best, and then reflect how eagerly they 
would have been sought, if thou hadst them not. At 
the same time, however, take care that thou dost not 
through being so pleased with them accustom thyself 
to overvalue them, so as to be disturbed if ever thou 
shouldst not have them. 

28. Retire into thyself. The rational principle which 
rules has this nature, that it is content with itself when 
it does what is just, and so secures tranquillity. 

29. Wipe out the imagination. Stop the pulling of 
the strings. Confine thyself to the present. Under- 
stand well what happens either to thee or to another- 
Divide and distribute every object into the casual 


[formal] and the material. Think of thy last hour. 
Let the wrong which is done by a man stay there 
where the wrong was done (viii. 29). 

30. Direct thy attention to what is said. Let thy 
understanding enter into the things that are doing and 
the things which do them (vii. 4). 

31. Adorn thyself with simplicity and modesty and 
with indifference toward the things which lie between 
virtue and vice. Love mankind. Follow God. The 
poet says that Law rules all.f And it is enough to 
remember that law rules all.* 

32. About death : whether it is a dispersion, or a 
resolution into atoms, or annihilation, it is either 
extinction or change. 

33. About pain : the pain which is intolerable carries 
us off ; but that which lasts a long time is tolerable ; 
and the mind maintains its own tranquillity by retiring 
into itself,f and the ruling faculty is not made worse. 
But the parts which are harmed by pain, let them, if 
they can, give their opinion about it. 

34. About fame : look at the minds [of those who 
seek fame], observe what they are, and what kind of 
things they avoid, and what kind of things they 
pursue. And consider that as the heaps of sand piled 
on one another hide the former sands, so in life the 
events which go before are soon covered by those 
which come after. 

35. From Plato :$ the man who has an elevated 
mind and takes a view of all time and of all substance, 
dost thou suppose it possible for him to think that 
human life is an} T thing great? It is not possible, he 

*Tlie end of this section is unintelligible. 
X Plato, Pol. vi. 486. 


said. Such a man then will think that death also is no 
evil. Certainly not. 

36. From Antisthenes : It is royal to do good and 
to be abused. 

37. It is a base thing for the countenance to be 
obedient and to regulate and compose itself as the 
mind commands, and for the mind not to be regulated 
and composed by itself. 

38. It is not right to vex ourselves at things, 
For they care nought about it.* 

39. To the immortal gods and us give joy. 

40. Life must be reaped like the ripe ears of corn : 
One man is born ; another dies4 

41. If gods care not for me and for my children, 
There is a reason for it. 

42. For the good is with me, and the just. 

43. No joining others in their wailing, no violent 

44. From Plato : || But I would make this man a 
sufficient answer, which is this : Thou say est not well, 
if thou thinkest that a man who is good for anything 
at all ought to compute the hazard of life or death, 
and should not rather look to this only in all that he 
does, whether he is doing what is just or unjust, and 
the works of a good or a bad man. 

45. fl For thus it is, men of Athens, in truth ; wher- 

* From the Bellerophon of Euripides. 

X From the Hypsipyle of Euripides. Cicero (Tuscul. iii. 25), 
has translated six lines from Euripides, and among them are these 
two lines : 

Reddenda terrse est terra : turn vita omnibus 
Metenda ut fruges : Sic jubet necessitas. 
See Aristophanes, Acharnenses, v. 661. 
\ From the Apologia, c. 16. 


ever a man has placed himself thinking it the best 
place for him, or has been placed by a commander, 
there in my opinion he ought to stay and to abide the 
hazard, taking nothing into the reckoning, either death 
or anything else, before the baseness [of deserting his 

46. But, my good friend, reflect whether that which 
is noble and good is not something different from 
saving and being saved ; for as to a man living such or 
such a time, at least one who is really a man, consider 
if this is not a thing to be dismissed from the thoughts : 
and there must be no love of life: but as to these 
matters a man must intrust them to the deity and 
believe what the women say, that no man can escape 
his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best 
live the time that he has to live.* 

47. Look round at the courses of the stars, as if thou 
wert going along with them ; and constantly consider 
the changes of the elements into one another ; for such 
thoughts purge away the filth of the terrene life. 

48. This is a fine saying of Plato 4 That he who is 
discoursing about men should look also at earthly 
things as if he viewed them from some higher place ; 
should look at them in their assembles, armies, agri- 
cultural labors, marriages, treaties, births, deaths, noise 
of the courts of justice, desert places, various nations 
of barbarians, feasts, lamentations, markets, a mixture 
of all things and an orderly combination of contraries. 

49. Consider the past ; such great changes of polit- 
ical supremacies. Thou mayest foresee also the things 
which will be. For they will certainly be of like form, 

* Plato, Gorgias, c. 68 (512). 

% It is said that this is not in the extant writings of Plato. 


and it is not possible that they should deviate from the 
order of the things which take place now : accordingly 
to have contemplated human life for forty years is the 
same as to have contemplated it for ten thousand 
years. For what more wilt thou see ? 

50. That which has grown from the earth to the 

But that which has sprung from heavenly seed, 
Back to the heavenly realms returns.* 
This is either a dissolution of the mutual involution 
of the atoms, or a similar dispersion of the unsentient 

51. With food and drinks and cunning magic arts 
Turning the channel's course to 'scape from 

death 4 

The breeze which heaven has sent 
We must endure, and toil without complaining. 

52. Another may be more expert in casting his 
opponent ; but he is not more social, nor more modest, 
nor better disciplined to meet all that happens, nor 
more considerate with respect to the faults of his 

53. Where any work can be done conformably to 
the reason which is common to gods and men, there we 
have nothing to fear ; for where we are able to get 
profit by means of the activity which is successful and 
proceeds according to our constitution, there no harm 
is to be suspected. 

54. Everywhere and at all times it is in thy power 
piously to acquiesce in thy present condition, and to 
behave justly to those who are about thee, and to 

* From the Chrysippus of Euripides. 

% The first two lines are from the Supplices of Euripides, v. 1110. 


exert thy skill upon thy present thoughts, that nothing 
shall steal into them without being well examined. 

55. Do not look around thee to discover other men's 
ruling principles, but look straight to this, to what 
nature leads thee, both the universal nature through 
the things which happen to thee, and thy own nature 
through the acts which must be done by thee. But 
every being ought to do that which is according to its 
constitution ; and all other things have been consti- 
tuted for the sake of rational beings, just as among 
irrational things the inferior for the sake of the 
superior, but the rational for the sake of one another. 

The prime principle then in man's constitution is the 
social. And the second is not to yield to the per- 
suasions of the body, for it is the peculiar office of the 
rational and intelligent motion to circumscribe itself, 
and never to be overpowered either by the motion of 
the senses or of the appetites, for both are animal ; but 
the intelligent motion claims superiority and does not 
permit itself to be overpowered by the others. And 
with good reason, for it is formed by nature to use all 
of them. The third thing in the rational constitution 
is freedom from error and from deception. Let then 
the ruling principle holding fast to these things go 
straight on, and it has what is its own. 

56. Consider thyself to be dead, and to have com- 
pleted thy life up to the present time ; and live accord- 
ing to nature the remainder which is allowed thee. 

57. Love that only which happens to thee and is 
spun with the thread of thy destiny. For what is 
more suitable % 

58. In everything which happens keep before thy 
eyes those to whom the same things happened, and 


how they were vexed, and treated them as strange 
things, and found fault with them ; and now where 
are they ? Nowhere. Why then dost thou too choose 
to act in the same way ? and why dost thou not leave 
these agitations which are foreign to nature, to those 
who cause them and those who are moved bv them '? 
And why art thou not altogether intent upon the right 
way of making use of the things which happen to 
thee? for then thou wilt use them well, and they will 
be a material for thee [to work on]. Only attend to 
thyself, and resolve to be a good man in every act 
which thou doest ; and remember * 

59. Look within. "Within is the fountain of good, 
and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig. 

60. The body ought to be compact, and to show no 
irregularity either in motion or attitude. For what 
the mind shows in the face bv maintaining 1 in it the 
expression of intelligence and propriety, that ought to 
be required also in the whole body. But all these 
things should be observed without affectation. 

61. The art of life is more like the wrestler's art 
than the dancer's, in respect of this, that it should 
stand ready and firm to meet onsets which are sudden 
and unexpected. 

62. Constantly observe who those are whose appro- 
bation thou wishest to have, and what ruling prin- 
ciples they possess. For then thou wilt neither blame 
those who offend involuntarily, nor wilt thou want 
their approbation, if thou lookest to the sources of 
their opinions and appetites. 

* This section is obscure, and the conclusion is so corrupt that it 
5s impossible to give any probable meaning to it. It is better to 
leave it as it is than to patch it up, as some critics and translators 
have done. 


63. Every soul, the philosopher says, is involuntarily 
deprived of truth ; consequently in the same way it is 
deprived of justice and temperance and benevolence 
and everything of the kind. It is most necessary to 
bear this constantly in mind, for thus thou wilt be 
more gentle toward all. 

64. In every pain let this thought be present, that 
there is no dishonor in it, nor does it make the govern- 
ing intelligence worse, for it does not damage the 
intelligence either so far as the intelligence is rational 
or so far as it is social. Indeed in the case of most 
pains let this remark of Epicurus aid thee, that pain is 
neither intolerable nor everlasting, if thou bearest in 
mind that it has its limits, and if thou addest nothing 
to it in imagination : and remember this, too, that we 
do not perceive that many things which are disagree- 
able to us are the same as pain, such as excessive drowsi- 
ness, and the being scorched by heat, and the having no 
appetite. When then thou art discontented about any 
of these things, say to thyself, that thou art yielding 
to pain. 

65. Take care not to feel toward the inhuman, as 
they feel toward men. 

66. How do we know if Telauges was not superior 
in character to Socrates? for it is not enough that 
Socrates died a more noble death, and disputed more 
skillfully with the sophists, and passed the night in 
the cold with more endurance, and that when he was 
bid to arrest Leon* of Salamis, he considered it more 
noble to refuse, and that he walked in a swaggering 

* Leon of Salamis. See Plato, Epist. 7 ; Apolog. c. 20 ; Epic- 
tetus, iv. 1, 160; iv. 7, 30. 


way in the streets* though as to this fact one may 
have great doubts if it was true. But we ought to 
inquire, what kind of a soul it was that Socrates pos- 
sessed, and if he was able to be content with berns 
just toward men and pious toward the gods, neither 
idly vexed on account of men's villainy, nor yet making 
himself a slave to any man's ignorance, nor receiving 
as strange anything that fell to his share out of the 
universal, nor enduring it as intolerable, nor allowing 
his understanding to sympathize with the affects of 
the miserable flesh. 

67. Nature has not so mingledf [the intelligence] with 
the composition of the body, as not to have allowed 
thee the power of circumscribing thyseif and of bring- 
ing under subjection to thyself all that is thy own; 
for it is very possible to be a divine man and to be 
recognized as such by no one. Always bear this in 
mind ; and another thing too, that very little indeed 
is necessary for living a happy life. And because thou 
hast despaired of becoming a dialectician and skilled in 
the knowledge of nature, do not for this reason re- 
nounce the hope of being both free and modest and 
social and obedient to God. 

68. It is in thy power to live free from all compul- 
sion in the greatest tranquillity of mind, even if all 
the world cry out against thee as much as they choose, 
and even if wild beasts tear in pieces the members of 
this kneaded matter which has grown around thee. 
For what hinders the mind in the midst of all this 
from maintaining itself in tranquillity, and in a just 
judgment of all surrounding things, and in a ready 
use of the obj ects which are presented to it, so that 

*, Nub. 302. 


the judgment may say to the thing which falls under 
its observation: This thou art in substance [reality], 
though in men's opinion thou mayest appear to be of 
a different kind ; and the use shall say to that which 
falls under the hand : Thou art the thing that I was 
seeking ; for to me that which presents itself is always 
a material for virtue, both rational and political, and, 
in a word, for the exercise of art, which belongs to 
man or God. For everthing which happens has a 
relationship either to God or man, and is neither new 
nor difficult to handle, but usual and apt matter to 
work on. 

69. The perfection of moral character consists in 
this, in passing every day as the last, and in being 
neither violently excited, nor torpid, nor playing the 

TO. The gods who are immortal are not vexed be- 
cause during so long a time they must tolerate contin- 
ually men such as they are and so many of them bad ; 
and besides this, they also take care of them in all 
ways. But thou, who art destined to end so soon, art 
thou wearied of enduring the bad, and this too when 
thou art one of them ? 

71. It is a ridiculous thing for a man not to fly from 
his own badness, which is indeed possible, but to fly 
from other men's badness, which is impossible. 

72. Whatever the rational and political [social] 
faculty finds to be neither intelligent nor social, it 
properly judges to be inferior to itself. 

73. When thou hast done a good act and another 
has received it, why dost thou still look for a third thing 
besides these, as fools do, either to have the reputation 
of having done a good act or to obtain a return ? 


74. No man is tired of receiving what is useful. But 
it is useful to act according to nature. Do not then 
be tired of receiving what is useful by doing it to 

75. The nature of the All moved to make the uni- 
verse. But now either everything that takes place 
comes by way of consequence or [continuity] ; or even 
the chief things toward which the ruling power of the 
universe directs its own movement are governed by 
no rational principle. If this is remembered it will 
make thee more tranquil in many things (vi. 44 ; ix. 

* It is not easy to understand this section. It has been suggested 
that there is some error in rj dX6yi6za, etc. Some of the trans- 
lators have made nothing of the passage, and they have somewhat 
perverted the words. The first proposition is, that the universe was 
made by some sufficient power. A beginning of the universe is 
assumed, and a power which framed an order. The next question 
is, How are things produced now; or, in other words, by what power 
do forms appear in continuous succession ? The answer, according to 
Antoninus, may be this: It is by virtue of the original constitution 
of things that all change and succession have been effected and are 
effected. And this is intelligible in a sense, if we admit that the 
universe is always one and the same, a continuity of identity; as 
much one and the same as man is one and the same, which he 
believes himself to be, though he also believes, and cannot help believ- 
ing, that both in his body and in his thoughts there is change and 
succession. There is no real discontinuity then in the universe ; and 
if we say that there was an order framed in the beginning and that 
the things which are now produced are a consequence of a previous 
arrangement, we speak of things as we are compelled to view them, 
as forming a series or succession ; just as we speak of the changes 
in our own bodies and the sequence of our own thoughts. But as 
there are no intervals, not even intervals infinitely small, between 
any two supposed states of any one thing, so there are no intervals, 
not even infinitely small, between what we call one thing and any 
other thing which we speak of as immediately preceding or follow- 


ing it. What we call time is an idea derived from our notion of a 
succession of things or events, an idea which is a part of our con- 
stitution, but not an idea which we can suppose to belong to an 
infinite intelligence and power. The conclusion then is certain that 
the present and the past, the production of present things and the 
supposed original order, out of which we say tbat present things 
now come, are one ; and the present productive power and the so- 
called past arrangement are only different names for one thing. I 
suppose then that Antoninus wrote here as people sometimes talk 
now, and that his real meaning is not exactly expressed by his words. 
There are certainly other passages from which, I think, that we may 
collect that he had notions of production something like what I have 

We now come to the alternative: "or even the chief things 
. . . principle." I do not exactly know what he means by 
rd Hvpicjrara, "the chief," or "the most excellent," or whatever 
it is. But as he speaks elsewhere of inferior and superior things, 
and of the inferior being for the use of the superior, and of rational 
beings being the highest, he may here mean rational beings. He also, 
in this alternative, assumes a governing power of the universe, and 
that it acts by directing its power toward these chief objects, or 
making its special, proper, motion toward them. And here he uses 
the noun (dpjtnf) "movement," which contains the same notion as 
the verb (oopjiir]6E) "moved," which he used at the beginning of the 
paragraph when he was speaking of the making of the universe. If 
we do not accept the first hypothesis, he says, we must take the con- 
clusion of the second, that the "chief things toward which the 
ruling power of the universe directs its own movement are governed 
by no rational principle." The meaning then is, if there is a mean- 
ing in it, that though there is a governing power, which strives to 
give effect to its efforts, we must conclude that tbere is no rational 
direction of anything, if the power which first made the universe 
does not in some way govern it still. Besides, if we assume that 
anything is now produced or now exists without the action of the 
supreme intelligence, and yet that this intelligence makes an effort 
to act, we obtain a conclusion which cannot be reconciled with the 
nature of a supreme power, whose existence Antoninus always 
assumes. The tranquillity that a man may gain from these reflec- 
tions must result from his rejecting the second hypothesis, and 
accepting the first ; whatever may be the exact sense in which the 
emperor understood the first. Or, as he says elsewhere, if there is 


no providence which governs the world, man has at least the power 
of governing himself according to the constitution of his nature ; 
and so he may be tranquil, if he does the best that he can. 

If there is no error in the passage, it is worth the labor to dis- 
cover the writer's exact meaning ; for I think that he had a meaning, 
though people may not agree what it was. (Compare ix. 28.) If I 
have rightly explained the emperor's meaning in this and other pas- 
sages, he has touched the solution of a great question. 



This reflection also tends to the removal of the desire 
of empty fame, that it is no longer in thy power to 
have lived the whole of thy life, or at least thy life 
from thy youth upward, like a philosopher; but both 
to many others and to thyself it is plain that thou art 
far from philosophy. Thou hast fallen into disorder 
then, so that it is no longer easy for thee to get the 
reputation of a philosopher; and thy plan of life also 
opposes it. If then thou hast truly seen where the 
matter lies, throw away the thought, How thou shalt 
seem [to others], and be content if thou shalt live 
the rest of thy life in such wise as thy nature wills. 
Observe then what it wills, and let nothing else distract 
thee ; for thou hast had experience of many wander- 
ings without having found happiness anywhere, not 
in syllogisms, nor in wealth, nor in reputation, nor in 
enjoyment, nor anywhere. Where is it then? In 
doing what man's nature requires. How then shall a 
man do this? If he has principles from which come 
his affects and his acts. What principles? Those 
which relate to good and bad : the belief that there is 
nothing good for man, which does not make him just, 
temperate, manly, free ; and that there is nothing bad, 
which does not do the contrary to what has been 

2. On the occasion of every act ask thyself, How is 


this with respect to me ? Shall I repent of it ? A 
little time and I am dead, and all is gone. What more 
do I seek, if what I am now doing is the work of an 
intelligent living being, and a social being, and one 
who is under the same law with God ? 

3. Alexander and Caius* and Pompeius, what are 
they in comparison with Diogenes and Heraclitus and 
Socrates ? For they were acquainted with things, and 
their causes [forms], and their matter, and the ruling 
principles of these men were the same [or conformable 
to their pursuits]. But as to the others, how many 
things had they to care for, and to how many things 
were they slaves. 

4. [Consider] that men will do the same things 
nevertheless, even though thou shouldst burst. 

5. This is the chief thing : Be not perturbed, for all 
things are according to the nature of the universal ; 
and in a little time thou wilt be nobody and nowhere, 
like Hadrianus and Augustus. In the next place 
having fixed thy eyes steadily on thy business look at 
it, and at the same time remembering that it is thy 
duty to be a good man, and what man's nature 
demands, do that without turning aside ; and speak as 
it seems to thee most just, only let it be with a 
good disposition and with modesty and without 

6. The nature of the universal has this work to do, 
to remove to that place the things which are in this, to 
change them, to take them away hence, and to carry 
them there. All things are change, yet we need not 
fear anything new. All things are familiar [to us] ; 
but the distribution of them still remains the same. 

* Caius is C. Julius Csesar, the dictator ; and Pompeius is Cn. 
Pompeius, named Magnus. 


7. Every nature is contented with itself when it goes 
on its way well ; and a rational nature goes on its way 
well, when in its thoughts it assents to nothing false or 
uncertain, and when it directs its movements to social 
acts only, and when it confines its desires and aversions 
to the things which are in its power, and when it is 
satisfied with everything that is assigned to it by the 
common nature. For of this common nature every 
particular nature is a part, as the nature of the leaf is 
a part of the nature of the plant ; except that in the 
plant the nature of the leaf is part of a nature which 
has not perception or reason, and is subject to be 
impeded ; but the nature of man is part of a nature 
which is not subject to impediments, and is intelligent 
and just, since it gives to everything in equal portions 
and according to its worth, times, substance, cause 
[form], activity, and incident. But examine, not to 
discover that any one thing compared with any other 
single thing is equal in all respects, but by taking all 
the parts together of one thing and comparing them 
with all the parts together of another. 

8. Thou hast not leisure [or ability] to read. But 
1-hou hast leisure [or ability] to check arrogance : thou 
hast leisure to be superior to pleasure and pain : thou 
hast leisure to be superior to love of fame, and not to 
be vexed at stupid and ungrateful people, nay even to 
care for them. 

9. Let no man any longer hear thee finding fault 
with the court life or with thy own (v. 16). 

10. Repentance is a kind of self-reproof for having 
neglected something useful ; but that which is good 
must be something useful, and the perfect good man 
should look after it. But no such man would ever 


repent of having refused any sensual pleasure. Pleasure 
then is neither good nor useful. 

11. This thing, what is it in itself, in its own consti- 
tution? What is its substance and material? And 
what its causal nature [or form] ? And what is it doing 
in the world ? And how long does it subsist ? 

12. When thou risest from sleep with reluctance, 
remember that it is according to thy constitution and 
according to human nature to perform social acts, but 
sleeping is common also to irrational animals. But 
that which is according to each individual's nature 
is also more peculiarly its own, and more suitable to its 
nature, and, indeed, also more agreeable (v. 1). 

13. Constantly and, if it be possible, on the occasion 
of every impression on the soul, apply to it the princi- 
ples of Physic, of Ethic, and of Dialectic. 

14. Whatever man thou meetest with, immediately 
say to thyself : What opinions has this man about good 
and bad ? For if with respect to pleasure and pain 
and the causes of each, and with respect to fame and 
ignominy, death and life he has such and such opinions, 
it will seem nothing wonderful or strange to me, if he 
does such and such things ; and I shall bear in mind 
that he is compelled to do so.* 

15. Kemember that as it is a shame to be surprised 
if the fig-tree produces figs, so it is to be surprised if 
the world produces such and such things of which it 
is productive ; and for the physician and the helms- 
man it is a shame to be surprised, if a man has a fever, 
or if the wind is unfavorable. 

16. Remember that to change thy opinion and to 
follow him who corrects thy error is as consistent with 

* Antoninus V. 16. Thucydides, iii. 10. 


freedom as it is to persist in thy error. For it is thy 
own, the activity which is exerted according to thy 
own movement and judgment, and indeed according 
to thy own understanding too. 

17. If a thing is in thy own power, why dost thou 
do it ? but if it is in the power of another, whom dost 
thou blame ? the atoms [chance] or the gods? Both are 
foolish. Thou must blame nobody. For if thou canst, 
correct [that which is the cause] ; but if thou canst 
not do this, correct at least the thing itself ; but if thou 
canst not do even this, of what use is it to thee to find 
fault? for nothing should be done without a purpose. 

18. That which has died falls not out of the universe. 
If it stays here, it also changes here, and is dis- 
solved into its proper parts, which are elements of the 
universe and of thyself. And these too change, and 
they murmur not. 

19. Everything exists for some end, a horse, a vine. 
"Why dost thou wonder ? Even the sun will say, I 
am for some purpose, and the rest of the gods will 
say the same. For what purpose then art thou ? To 
enjoy pleasure ? See if common sense allows this. 

20. Nature has had regard in everything no less to 
the end than to the beginning and the continuance, 
just like the man who throws up a ball. What good 
is it then for the ball to be thrown up, or harm for it 
to come down, or even to have fallen ? And what good 
is it to the bubble while it holds together, or what 
harm when it is burst ? The same may be said of a 
light also. 

21. Turn it [the body] inside out, and see what kind 
of thing it is; and when it has grown old, what kind 
of thing it becomes, and when it is diseased. 


Short lived are both the praiser and the praised, and 
the rememberer and the remembered : and all this in 
a nook of this part of the world ; and not even here 
do all agree, no, not any one with himself : and the 
whole earth too is a point. 

22. Attend to the matter which is before thee, 
whether it is an opinion or an act or a word. 

Thou sufferest this justly : for thou choosest rather 
to become good to-morrow than to be good to-day. 

23. Am I doing anything? I do it with reference 
to the good of mankind. Does anything happen to 
me? I receive it and refer it to the gods, and the 
scource of all things, from which all that happens is 

24. Such as bathing appears to thee oil, sweat, dirt, 
filthy water, all things disgusting so is every part of 
life and everything. 

25. Lucilla saw Verus die, and then Lucilla died. 
Secunda saw Maximus die, and then Secunda died. 
Epitynchanus saw Diotimus die, and then Epityncha- 
nus died. Antoninus saw Faustina die, and then 
Antoninus died. Such is everything. Celer saw 
Hadrianus die, and then Celer died. And those sharp- 
witted men, either seers or men inflated with pride, 
where are they ? for instance, the sharp-witted men, 
Charax and Demetrius the Platonist and Eudasmon, 
and any one else like them. All ephemeral, dead long 
ago. Some indeed have not been remembered even 
for a short time, and others have become the heroes of 
fables, and again others have disappeared even from 
fables. Remember this, then, that this little com- 
pound, thyself, must either be dissolved, or thy poor 
breath must be extinguished, or be removed and placed 


26. It is satisfaction to a man to do the proper works 
of a man. Now it is a proper work of a man to be 
benevolent to his own kind, to despise the movements 
of the senses, to form a just judgment of plausible 
appearances, and to take a survey of the nature of the 
universe and of the things which happen in it. 

27. There are three relations [between thee and 
other things] : the one to the body which surrounds 
thee ; the second to the divine cause from which all 
things come to all ; and the third to those who live 
with thee. 

28. Pain is either an evil to the body then let the 
body say what it thinks of it or to the soul ; but it is 
in the power of the soul to maintain its own serenity 
and tranquillity, and not to think that pain is an evil. 
For every judgment and movement and desire and 
aversion is within, and no evil ascends so high. 

29. "Wipe out thy imaginations by often saying to 
thyself : now it is in my power to let no badness be in 
this soul, nor desire, nor any perturbation at all ; but 
looking at all things I see what is their nature, and I 
use each according to its value. Remember this power 
which thou hast from nature. 

30. Speak both in the senate and to every man, who- 
ever he may be, appropriately, not with any affecta- 
tion ; use plain discourse. 

31. Augustus' court, wife, daughter, descendants, 
ancestors, sister, Agrippa, kinsmen, intimates, friends, 
Areius,* Mascenas, physicians and sacrificing priests 
the whole court is dead. Then turn to the rest, not 

* Areius was a philosopher, who was intimate with Augustus ; 
Sucton, Augustus, c. 89 ; Plutarch, Antoninus, 80 ; Dion Cassius, 51, 
c. 16. 


considering the death of a single man, [but of a whole 
race], as of the Pompeii ; and that which is inscribed 
on the tombs the last of his race. Then consider 
what trouble those before them have had that they 
might leave a successor ; and then, that of necessity 
some one must be the last. Again here consider the 
death of a whole race. 

32. It is thy duty to order thy life well in every 
single act ; and if every act does its duty, as far as is 
possible, be content; and no one is able to hinder thee 
so that each act shall not do its duty but something 
external will stand in the way. Nothing will stand 
in the way of thy acting justly and soberly and con- 
siderately, but perhaps some other active power will 
be hindered. Well, but by acquiescing in the hin- 
derance and by being content to transfer thy efforts to 
that which is allowed, another opportunity of action 
is immediately put before thee in place of that which 
was hindered, and one which will adapt itself to this 
ordering of which we are speaking. 

33. Receive [wealth or prosperity] without arn> 
gance ; and be ready to let it go. 

34. If thou didst ever see a hand cut off, or a foot, 
or a head, lying anywhere apart from the rest of the 
body, such does a man make himself, as far as he can, 
who is not content with what happens, and separates 
himself from others, or does anything unsocial. Sup- 
pose that thou hast detached thyself from the natural 
unity for thou wast made by nature a part, but now 
thou hast cut thyself off yet here there is this beauti- 
ful provision, that it is in thy power again to unite 
thyself. God has allowed this to no other part, after 
it has been separated and cut asunder, to come 


together again. But consider the kindness by which 
he has distinguished man, for he has put it in his 
power not to be separated at all from the universal ; 
and when he has been separated, he has allowed him 
to return and to be united and to resume his place as a 

35. As the nature of the universal has given to ever} r 
rational being all the other powers that it has,f so we 
have received from it this power also. For as the 
universal nature converts and fixes in its predestined 
place everything which stands in the way and opposes 
it, and makes such things a part of itself, so also the 
rational animal is able to make every hinderance its 
own material, and to use it for such purposes as it may 
have designed. 

36. Do not disturb thyself by thinking of the whole 
of thy life. Let not thy thoughts at once embrace all 
the various troubles which thou mayest expect to 
befall thee : but on every occasion ask thyself, What 
is there in this which is intolerable and past bearing? 
for thou wilt be ashamed to confess. In the next 
place remember that neither the future nor the past 
pains thee, but only the present. But this is reduced 
to a very little, if thou only circumscribest it, and 
chidest thy mind, if it is unable to hold out against 
even this. 

37. Does Panthea or Pergamus now sit by the tomb 
of Verus?* Does Chaurias or Diotimus sit by the tomb 
of Hadrianus ? That would be ridiculous. Well, sup- 
pose they did sit there, would the dead be conscious 
of it? and if the dead were conscious, would thev be 

*" Verus" is a conjecture of Saumaise, and perhaps the true 


pleased? and if they were pleased, would that make 
them immortal? Was it not in the order of destiny 
that these persons too should first become old women 
and old men and then die ? What then would those 
do after these were dead? All this is foul smell and 
blood in a bag. 

38. If thou canst see sharp, look and judge wisely,f 
says the philosopher. 

39. In the constitution of the rational animal I see 
no virtue which is opposed to justice ; but I see a 
virtue which is opposed to love of pleasure, and that 
is temperance. 

40. If thou takest away thy opinion about that 
which appears to give thee pain, thou thyself standest 
in perfect security. Who is this self ? The reason. 
But I am not reason. Be it so. Let then the reason 
itself not trouble itself. But if any other part of thee 
suffers, let it have its own opinion about itself (vii. 16). 

41. Hinderance to the perceptions of sense is an evil 
to the animal nature. Hinderance to the movements 
[desires] is equally an evil to the animal nature. And 
something else also is equally an impediment and an 
evil to the constitution of plants. So then that which 
is a hinderance to the intelligence is an evil to the 
intelligent nature. Apply all these things then to 
thyself. Does pain or sensuous pleasure affect thee ? 
The senses will look to that. Has any obstacle opposed 
thee in thy efforts toward an object? if indeed thou 
wast making this effort absolutely [unconditionally, or 
without any reservation], certainly this obstacle is an 
evil to thee considered as a rational animal. But if 
thou takest [into consideration] the usual course of 
things, thou hast not yet been injured nor even ini- 


peded. The things however which are proper to the 
understanding no other man is used to impede, for 
neither fire, nor iron, nor tyrant, nor abuse, touches it 
in any way. When it has been made a sphere, it 
continues a sphere (xi. 12). 

42. It is not fit that I should give myself pain, for I 
have never intentionally given pain even to another. 

43. Different things delight different people. But 
it is my delight to keep the ruling faculty sound with- 
out turning away either from any man or from any 
of the things which happen to men, but looking at 
and receiving all with welcome eyes and using every 
thing according to its value. 

44. See that thou secure this present time to thyself ; 
for those who rather pursue posthumous fame do not 
consider that the men of after time will be exactly 
such as these whom they cannot bear now ; and both 
are mortal. And what is it in any way to thee if 
these men of after time utter this or that sound, or 
have this or that opinion about thee. 

45. Take me and cast me where thou wilt ; for there 
I shall keep my divine part tranquil, that is, content, 
if it can feel and act conformably to its proper con- 
stitution. Is this [change of place] sufficient reason 
why my soul should be unhappy and worse than it 
was, depressed, expanded, shrinking, affrighted ? and 
what wilt thou find which is sufficient reason for this.* 

46. Nothing can happen to any man which is not a 
human accident, nor to an ox which is not according 
to the nature of an ox, nor to a vine which is not 

* opeyof-iEvrj in this passage seems to have a passive sense. It is 
difficult to find an apt expression for it and some of the other words. 
A comparison with xi. 12, will help to explain the meaning. 


according to the nature of a vine, nor to a stone which 
is not proper to a stone. If then there happens to each 
thing both what is usual and natural, why shouldst 
thou complain? For the common nature brings 
nothing which may not be borne by thee. 

47. If thou art pained by any external thing, it is 
not this thing that disturbs thee, but thy own judg- 
ment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out 
this judgment now. But if anything in thy own dis- 
position gives thee pain, who hinders thee from cor- 
recting thy opinion? And even if thou art pained 
because thou art not doing some particular thing 
which seems to thee to be right, why dost thou not 
rather act than complain? But some insuperable 
obstacle is in the way ? Do not be grieved then, for 
the cause of its not being done depends not on thee. 
But it is not worth while to live, if this cannot be 
done. Take thy departure then from life contentedly, 
just as he dies who is in full activity, and well pleased 
too with the things which are obstacles. 

48. Remember that the ruling faculty is invincible, 
when self-collected it is satisfied with itself, if it does 
nothing which it does not choose to do, even if it resist 
from mere obstinacy. What then will it be when it 
forms a judgment about anything aided by reason and 
deliberately ? Therefore the mind which is free from 
passions is a citadel, for man has nothing more secure 
to which he can fly for refuge and for the future be 
inexpugnable. He then who has not seen this is an 
ignorant man ; but he who has seen it and does not fly 
to this refuge is unhappy. 

49. Say nothing more to thyself than what the first 
appearances report. Suppose that it has been reported 


to thee that a certain person speaks ill of thee. This 
has been reported ; but that thou hast been injured, 
that has not been reported. I see that my child is 
sick. I do see ; but that he is in danger, I do not see. 
Thus then always abide by the first appearances, and 
*idd nothing thyself from within, and then nothing 
happens to thee. Or rather add something, like a man 
who knows everything that happens in the Avorld. 

50. 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 ? For thou wilt be ridiculed by a 
man who is acquainted with nature, as thou wouldst 
be ridiculed by a carpenter and shoemaker if thou 
didst find fault because thou seest in their workshop 
shavings and cuttings from the things which they 
make. And yet they have places into which they can 
throw these shavings and cuttings, and the universal 
nature has no external space ; but the wondrous part of 
her art is that though she has circumscribed herself, 
everything within her which appears to decay and to 
grow old and to be useless she changes into herself, 
and again makes other new things from these very 
same, so that she requires neither substance from with- 
out nor wants a place into which she may cast that 
which decays. She is content then with her own 
space, and her own matter, and her own art. 

51. Neither in thy actions be sluggish, nor in thy 
conversation without method, nor wandering in thy 
thoughts, nor let there be in thy soul inward conten- 
tion nor external effusion, nor in life be so busy as to 
have no leisure. 

Suppose that men kill thee, cut thee in pieces, curse 


thee. "What then can these things do to prevent thy 
mind from remaining pure, wise, sober, just 2 For 
instance, if a man should stand by a limpid pure spring, 
and curse it, the spring never ceases sending up potable 
water ; and if he should cast clay into it or filth, it 
will speedily disperse them and wash them out, and 
will not be at all polluted. How then shalt thou pos- 
sess a perpetual fountain [and not a mere well] ? By 
formingf thyself hourly to freedom conjoined with 
contentment, simplicity and modesty. 

52. He who does not know what the world is, does 
not know where he is. And he who does not know 
for what purpose the world exists, does not know who 
he is, nor what the world is. But he who has failed 
in any one of these things could not even say for what 
purpose he exists himself. What then dost thou think 
of him who [avoids or] seeks the praise of those who 
applaud, of men who know not either where they are 
or who they are ? 

53. Dost thou wish to be praised by a man who 
curses himself thrice every hour? Wouldst thou wish 
to please a man who does not please himself? Does a 
man please himself who repents of nearly everything 
that he does ? 

54. No longer let thy breathing only act in concert 
with the air which surrounds thee, but let thy intelli- 
gence also now be in harmony with the intelligence 
which embraces all things. For the intelligent power 
is no less diffused in all parts and pervades all things 
for him who is willing to draw it to him than the 
aerial power for him who is able to respire it. 

55. Generally, wickedness does no harm at all to the 
universe; and particularly, the wickedness [of one 


man] does no harm to another. It is only harmful to 
him who has it in his power to be released from it, as 
soon as he shall choose. 

56. To mv own free will the free will of mv neigh- 
bor is just as indifferent as his poor breath and flesh. 
For though we are made especially for the sake of one 
another, still the ruling power of each of us has its 
own office, for otherwise my neighbor's wickedness 
would be my harm, w T hich God has not willed in order 
that my un happiness may not depend on another. 

57. The sun appears to be poured down, and in all 
directions indeed it is diffused, yet it is not effused. 
For this diffusion is extension : Accordingly its rays 
are called Extensions [dxTivei\ because they are ex- 
tended [and tov kt sir e6Q<xi\* But one may judge 
what kind of a thing a ray is, if he looks at the sun's 
light passing through a narrow opening into a 
darkened room, for it is extended in a right line, and, 
as it were, is divided when it meets with any solid body 
which stands in the w T ay and intercepts the air beyond ; 
but there the light remains fixed and does not glide or 
fall off. Such then ought to be the outpouring and 
diffusion of the understanding, and it should in no 
way be an effusion, but an extension, and it should 
make no violent or impetuous collision with the obsta- 
cles which are in its way ; nor yet fall down, but be 
fixed and enlightened that which receives it. For a 
body will deprive itself of the illumination, if it does 
not admit it. 

58. He who fears death either fears the loss of sen- 
sation or a different kind of sensation. But if thou 
shalt have no sensation, neither wilt thou feel any 

* A piece of bad etymology. 


harm ; and if thou shalt acquire another kind of sensa- 
tion, thou wilt be a different kind of living being, and 
thou wilt not cease to live. 

59. Men exist for the sake of one another. Teach 
them then or bear with them. 

60. In one way an arrow moves, in another way the 
mind. The mind, indeed, both when it exercises 
caution and when it is employed about inquiry, moves 
straight onward not the less, and to its object. 

61. Enter into every man's ruling faculty ; and also 
let every other man enter into thine.* 

* Compare Epictetus, iii. 9, 12. 



He who acts unjustly acts impiously. For since the 
universal nature has made rational animals for the sake 
of one another to help one another according to their 
deserts, but in no way to injure one another, he who 
transgresses her Avill, is clearly guilty of impiety 
toward the highest divinity. And he too who lies is 
guilty of impiety to the same divinity ; for the uni- 
versal nature is the nature of things that are; and 
things that are have a relation to all things that come 
into existence.* And further, this universal nature is 
named truth, and is the prime cause of all things that 
are true. He then who lies intentionally is guilty of 
impiety inasmuch as he acts unjustly by deceiving ; and 
he also who lies unintentionally, inasmuch as he is at 
variance with the universal nature, and inasmuch as he 
disturbs the order by fighting against the nature of 
the world ; for he fights against it, who is moved of 
himself to that which is contrary to truth, for he had 

* " As there is not any action or natural event, which we are 
acquainted with, so single and unconnected as not to have a respect 
to some other actions and events, so, possibly each of them, when it 
has not an immediate, may yet have a remote, natural relation to 
other actions and events, much beyond the compass of this present 
world." Again: "Things seemingly the most insignificant imagin- 
able, are perpetually observed to be necessary conditions to other 
things of the greatest importance; so that any one thing whatever, 
may, for aught we know to the contrary, be a necessary condition to 
any other." (Butler's Aaalogy, Chap. 7. See all the chapter.) 


red powers from nature through the neglect of 

which he is not able now to distinguish falsehood from 

- th. And. indeed, he who pursue- pleasure as good, 

and avoids rain as eviL is guilty of impiety. For of 

ss ty such a man must often find fault with the 

universal nature, alleging th; I it ass jus th::;^? bo the 

ad the Rood contrary to their deserts, because 

:. the bad are in the enjoyment of pleasure 

ssess the things which procure pleasure, but the 

pain foi their share and the things which 

se pain. And further, he who is afraid of pain will 

Les also be afirai I : some of the things which 

will en in the world, and even this is imp: 

. . . . pursues pleasure will not abstain from 

injusl . and this is plainly impiety. Xow. with 

respect to the things toward which the universal 

natn - -equally affected for it would not have nu 

th, unless it was - wily afl I ~ th 

rd these they w sh to follow nature should be 

: tfa a me mind with it. and equally affected. AVith 

I I pain, then, and pleasure, or death and life, 

-honor, which the universal nature 

empl r s equally, whoever is not equally affect* 

sf acting umj jusly. And I say that the uni- 

: .'.ploys them equally, instead of saying 

b en alike to those who are produced in 

s series and tc tl se who come . fter them 

: . tain original movement of Provi- 

g to which it moved krom a certain 

_ - this ordering of things, having conceived 

- : the things which were to be. and 

rers ictive of beings and of 

ngea and of such like successions i,vii. 75). 


2. It would be a man's happiest lot to depart from 
mankind without having had any taste of lying and 
hypocrisy and luxury and pride. However to breathe 
out one's life when a man has had enough of these 
things is the next best voyage, as the saying is. Hast 
thou determined to abide with vice, and has not 
experience yet induced thee to fly from this pestilence ? 
For the destruction of the understanding is a pesti- 
lence, much more, indeed, than any such corruption 
and change of this atmosphere which surrounds us. 
For this corruption is a pestilence of animals so far as 
they are animals ; but the other is a pestilence of men. 
so far as they are men. 

3. Do not despise death, but be well content with 
it, since this too is one of those things which nature 
wills. For such as it is to be young and to grow old, 
and to increase and to reach maturity, and to have 
teeth and beard and gray hairs, and to beget, and to 
be pregnant, and to bring forth, and all the other 
natural operations which the seasons of thy life bring, 
such also is dissolution. This, then, is consistent with 
the character of a reflecting man, to be neither care- 
less nor impatient nor contemptuous with respect to 
death, but to wait for it as one of the operations of 
nature. As thou now waitest for the time when the 
child shall come out of thy wife's womb, so be ready 
for the time when thy soul shall fall out of this 
envelope.* But if thou requirest also a vulgar kind 
of comfort which shall reach thy heart, thou wilt be 
made best reconciled to death by observing the objects 
from which thou art going to be removed, and the 
morals of those with whom thy soul will no longer be 

* See note of the Philosophy, p. 67. 


mingled. For it is no way right to be offended with 
men, but it is thy duty to care for them and to bear 
with them gently ; and yet to remember that thy 
departure will be not from men who have the same 
principles as thyself. For this is the only thing, if 
there be any, which could draw us the contrary way 
and attach us to life, to be permitted to live with those 
w r ho have the same principles as ourselves. But now 
thou seest how great is the trouble arising from the 
discordance of those who live together, so that thou 
mayest say, Come quick, O death, lest perchance I, too, 
should forget myself. 

4. He who does wrong does wrong against himself. 
He w T ho acts unjustly acts unjustly to himself, because 
he makes himself bad. 

5. He often acts unjustly who does not do a certain 
thing ; not only he who does a certain thing. 

6. Thy present opinion founded on understanding, 
and thy present conduct directed to social good, and 
thy present disposition of contentment with every 
thing which happensf that is enough. 

7. Wipe out imagination : check desire : extinguish 
appetite : keep the ruling faculty in its own power. 

8. Among the animals which have not reason one 
life is distributed ; but among reasonable animals one 
intelligent soul is distributed : just as there is one 
earth of all things which are of an earthly nature, 
and we see by one light, and breathe one air, all of us 
that have the faculty of vision and all that have life. 

9. All things which participate in anything which 
is common to them all move toward that which is of 
the same kind with themselves. Everything which is 
earthly turns toward the earth, everything which is 


liquid flows together, and everything which is of an 
aerial kind does the same, so that they require some- 
thing to keep them asunder, and the application of 
force. Fire indeed moves upward on account of the 
elemental fire, but it is so ready to be kindled together 
with all the fire which is here, that even every sub- 
stance which is somewhat dry, is easily ignited, because 
there is less mingled with it of that which is a hinder- 
ance to ignition. Accordingly, then everything also 
which participates in the common intelligent nature 
moves in like manner toward that which is of the 
same kind with itself, or moves even more. For so 
much as it is superior in comparison with all other 
things, in the same degree also is it more ready to 
mingle with and to be fused with that w T hich is akin 
to it. Accordingly among animals devoid of reason 
we find swarms of bees, and herds of cattle, and the 
nurture of young birds, and in a manner, loves ; for 
even in animals there are souls, and that power which 
brings them together is seen to exert itself in the 
superior degree, and in such a way as never has been 
observed in plants nor in stones nor in trees. But in 
rational animals there are political communities and 
friendships, and families and meetings of people ; and 
in wars, treaties and armistices. But in the things 
which are still superior, even though they are sepa- 
rated from one another, unity in a manner exists, as in 
the stars. Thus the ascent to the higher degree is able 
to produce a sympathy even in things which are sepa- 
rated. See, then, what now takes place. For only 
intelligent animals have now forgotten this mutual 
desire and inclination, and in them alone the property 
of flowing together is not seen. But still, though men 


strive to avoid [this union], they are caught and held 
by it, for their nature is too strong for them ; and thou 
wilt see what I say, if thou only observest. Sooner, 
then, will one find anvthing earthv which conies in 
contact with no earthy thing than a man altogether 
separated from other men. 

10. Both man and God and the universe produce 
fruit ; at the proper seasons each produces it. But if 
usage has especially fixed these terms to the vine and 
like things, this is nothing. Reason produces fruit 
both for all and for itself, and there are produced from 
it other things of the same kind as reason itself. 

11. If thou art able, correct by teaching those who 
do wrong; but if thou canst not, remember that indul- 
gence is given to thee for this purpose. And the gods, 
too, are indulgent to such persons ; and for some pur- 
poses they even help them to get health, wealth, 
reputation ; so kind they are. And it is in thy power 
also ; or say, who hinders thee? 

12. Labor not as one who is wretched, nor vet as 
one who would be pitied or admired ; but direct thy 
will to one thing only, to put thyself in motion and to 
check thyself, as the social reason requires. 

13. To-dav I have got out of all trouble, or rather I 
have cast out all trouble, for it was not outside, but 
within and in my opinions. 

14. All things are the same, familiar in experience, 
and ephemeral in time, and worthless in the matter. 
Everything now is just as it was in the time of those 
whom we have buried. 

15. Things stand outside of us, themselves hy them- 
selves, neither knowing aught of themselves, nor ex- 
pressing any judgment. What is it, then, which does 
judge about them ? The ruling faculty. 


16. Not in passivity, but in activity lie the evil and 
the good of the rational social animal, just as his virtue 
and his vice lie not in passivity, but in activity.* 

17. For the stone which lias been thrown up it is no 
evil to come down, nor indeed any good to have been 
carried up (viii. 20). 

18. Penetrate inward into men's leading principles, 
and thou wilt see what judges thou art afraid of, and 
what kind of judges they are of themselves. 

19. All things are changing ; and thou thyself art 
in continuous mutation and in a manner in continuous 
destruction, and the whole universe too. 

20. It is thy duty to leave another man's wrongful 
act there where it is (vii. 29, ix. 38). 

21. Termination of activity, cessation from move- 
ment and opinion, and in a sense their death, is no 
evil. Turn thy thoughts now to the consideration of 
thy life, thy life as a child, as a youth, thy manhood, 
thy old age, for in these also every change was a death. 
Is this anything to fear? Turn thy thoughts now to 
thy life under thy grandfather, then to thy life under 
thy mother, then to thy life under thy father ; and as 
thou findest many other differences and changes and 
terminations, ask thyself, Is this anything to fear ? In 
like manner, then, neither are the termination and 
cessation and change of thy whole life a thing to be 
afraid of. 

22. Hasten [to examine] thy own ruling faculty and 
that of the universe and that of thy neighbor ; thy 
own that thou mayest make it just ; and that of the 
universe, that thou mayest remember of what thou art 

* ' Virtutis omnis laus in actione consistk." (Cicero, De 
Off, i 6.) 


a part ; and that of thy neighbor, that thou mayest 
know whether he has acted ignorantly or with knowl- 
edge, and that thou mayest also consider that his ruling 
faculty is akin to thine. 

23. As thou thyself art a component part of a social 
system, so let every act of thine be a component part 
of social life. Whatever act of thine then has no 
reference, either immediately or remotely, to a social 
end, this tears asunder thy life, and does not allow it 
to be one, and it is of the nature of a mutin}^ just as 
when in a popular assembly a man acting by himself 
stands apart from the general agreement. 

24. Quarrels of little children and their sports, and 
poor spirits carrying about dead bodies [such is every- 
thing] ; and so what is exhibited in the representation 
of the mansions of the dead strikes our eyes more 

25. Examine into the quality of the form of an 
object, and detach it altogether from its material part, 
and then contemplate it; then determine the time, the 
longest which a thing of this peculiar form is naturally 
made to endure. 

26. Thou hast endured infinite troubles through not 
being contented with thy ruling faculty, when it does 
the things which it is constituted by nature to do. But 
enough f [of this]. 

27. "When another blames thee or hates thee, or 
when men say about thee anything injurious, approach 
their poor souls, penetrate within, and see what kind 
of men they are. Thou wilt discover that there is no 
reason to take any trouble that these men may have 
this or that opinion about thee. However, thou must 
be well-disposed toward them, for by nature they are 


friends. And the gods too aid them in all ways, by 
dreams, by signs, toward the attainment of those things 
on which they set a value, f 

28. The periodic movements of the universe are the 
same, up and down from age to age. And either the 
universal intelligence puts itself in motion for every 
separate effect, and if this is so, be thou content with 
that which is the result of its activity; or it puts itself 
in motion once, and everything else comes by way of 
sequence in a manner ; or indivisible elements are the 
origin of all things. In a word, if there is a god, all is 
well ; and if chance rules, do not thou also be governed 
by it (vi. 44, vii. 75). 

Soon will the earth cover us all : then the earth, too, 
will change, and the things also which result from 
change will continue to change forever, and these 
again forever. For if a man reflects on the changes 
and transformations which follow one another like 
wave after wave and their rapidity, he will despise 
everything which is perishable (xii. 21). 

29. The universal cause is like a winter torrent : it 
carries everything along with it. But how worthless 
are all these poor people who are engaged in matters 
political, and, as they suppose, are playing the philoso- 
pher! All drivelers. Well then, man: do what 
nature now requires. Set thyself in motion, if it is in 
thy power, and do not look about thee to see if any 
one will observe it ; nor yet expect Plato's Republic : * 
but be content if the smallest thing goes on well, and 
consider such an event to be no small matter. For who 
can change men's opinions % And without a change of 

* Those who wish to know what Plato's Republic is, may now 
study it in the accurate translation of Davies and Vaughan. 


opinions what else is there than the slavery of men 
who groan while they pretend to obey ? Come now 
and tell me of Alexander and Philippus and Demetrius 
of Phalerum. They themselves shall judge whether 
they discovered what the common nature required, and 
trained themselves accordingly. But if they acted like 
tragedy heroes, no one has condemned me to imitate 
them. Simple and modest is the work of philosophy. 
Draw me not aside to insolence and pride. 

30. Look down from above on the countless herds of 
men and their countless solemnities, and the infinitely 
varied voyagings in storms and calms, and the differ- 
ences among those who are born, who live together, 
and die. And consider, too, the life lived by others in 
olden time, and the life of those who will live after 
thee, and the life now lived among barbarous nations, 
and how many know not even thy name, and how 
many will soon forget it, and how they who, perhaps, 
now are praising thee will very soon blame thee, and 
that neither a posthumous name is of any value, nor 
reputation, nor anything else. 

31. Let there be freedom from perturbations with 
respect to the things which come from the external 
cause ; and let there be justice in the things done by 
virtue of the internal cause, that is, let there be move- 
ment and action terminating in this, in social acts, for 
this is according to thy nature. 

32. Thou canst remove out of the way many useless 
things among those which disturb thee, for they lie 
entirely in thy opinion ; and thou wilt then gain for 
thyself ample space by comprehending the whole uni- 
verse in thy mind, and by contemplating the eternity 
of time, and observing the rapid change of every sev- 


eral thing, how short is the time from birth to dissolu- 
tion, and the illimitable time before birth as well as 
the equally boundless time after dissolution. 

33. All that thou seest will quickly perish, and those 
who have been spectators of its dissolution will very 
soon perish too. And he who dies at the extremest 
old age will be brought into the same condition with 
him who died prematurely. 

34. What are these men's leading principles, and 
about what kind of things are they busy, and for what 
kind of reasons do they love and honor ? Imagine that 
thou seest their poor souls laid bare. When they 
think that they do harm by their blame or good by 
their praise, what an idea ! 

35. Loss is nothing else than change. But the uni- 
versal nature delights in change, and in obedience to 
her all things are now done well, and from eternity 
have been clone in like form, and will be such to time 
without end. What, then, dost thou say? That all 
things have been and all things always will be bad, 
and that no power has ever been found in so many 
gods to rectify these things, but the world has been 
condemned to be bound in never-ceasing evil ? (iv. 45, 
vii. 18.) 

36. The rottenness of the matter which is the foun- 
dation of everything ! water, dust, bones, filth ; or 
again, marble rocks, the callosities of the earth ; and 
gold and silver, the sediments ; and garments, only 
bits of hair; and purple dye, blood; and everything 
else is of the same kind. And that which is of the 
nature of breath, is also another thing of the same 
kind, changing from this to that. 

37. Enough of this wretched life and murmuring 


and apish tricks. Why art thou disturbed? What is 
there new in this ? What unsettles thee ? Is it the 
form of the thing? Look at it. Or is it the matter? 
Look at it. But besides these there is nothing. 
Toward the gods, then, now become at last more sim- 
ple and better. It is the same whether we examine 
these things for a hundred years or three. 

38. If any man has done wrong, the harm is his 
own. But perhaps he has not done wrong. 

39. Either all things proceed from one intelligent 
source and come together as in one body, and the part 
ought not to find fault with what is done for the 
benefit of the whole; or there are only atoms, and 
nothing else than mixture and dispersion. Why, then, 
art thou disturbed ? Say to the ruling faculty, Art 
thou dead, art thou corrupted, art thou playing the 
hypocrite, art thou become a beast, dost thou herd and 
feed with the rest ?* 

40. Either the gods have no power or they have 
power. If, then, they have no power, why dost thou 
pray to them? But if they have power, why dost 
thou not pray for them to give thee the faculty of not 
fearing any of the things which thou fearest, or of not 
desiring any of the things which thou desirest, or not 
being pained at anything, rather than pray that any 
of these things should not happen or happen? for cer- 
tainly if they can co-operate with men, they can co- 
operate for these purposes. But perhaps thou wilt 
say, the gods have placed them in thy power. Well, 

* There is some corruption at the end of this section ; but I think 
that the translation expresses the emperor's meaning - . Whether intelli- 
gence rules all things or chance rules, a man must not be disturbed. 
He must use the power that he has, and be tranquil. 


then, is it not better to use what is in thy power like 
a free man than to desire in a slavish and abject way 
what is not in thy power ? And who has told thee 
that the gods do not aid us even in the things which 
are in our power? Begin, then, to pray for such 
things, and thou wilt see. One man prays thus : How 
shall I be able to lie with that woman ? Do thou pray 
thus : How shall I not desire to lie with her ? Another 
prays thus: How shall I be released from this? 
Another prays : How shall I not desire to be released ? 
Another thus: How shall I not lose my little son? 
Thou thus : How shall I not be afraid to lose him ? In 
fine, turn thy prayers this way, and see what comes. 

41. Epicurus says, In my sickness my conversation 
was not about my bodily sufferings, nor, says he, did I 
talk on such subjects to those who visited me ; but I 
continued to discourse on the nature of things as 
before, keeping to this main point, how the mind, 
while participating in such movements as go on in the 
poor flesh, shall be free from perturbations and main- 
tain its proper good. Nor did I, he says, give the 
physicians an opportunity of putting on solemn looks, 
as if they were doing something great, but my life 
went on well and happily. Do, then, the same that he 
did both in sickness, if thou art sick, and in any other 
circumstances ; for never to desert philosophy in any 
events that may befall us, nor to hold trifling talk either 
with an ignorant man or with one unacquainted with 
nature, is a principle of all schools of philosophy ; but 
to be intent only on that which thou art now doing 
and on the instrument by which thou doest it. 

42. When thou art offended with any man's shame- 
less conduct, immediately ask thyself, Is it possible, 


then, that shameless men should not be in the world ? 
It is not possible. Do not, then, require what is impos- 
sible. For this man also is one of those shameless men 
who must of necessity be in the world. Let the same 
considerations be present to thy mind in the case of 
the knave, and the faithless man, and of every man 
who does wrong in any way. For, at the same time, 
that thou dost remind thyself that it is impossible that 
such kind of men should not exist, thou wilt become 
more kindly disposed toward every one individually. 
It is useful to perceive this, too, immediately when the 
occasion arises, what virtue nature has given to man to 
oppose to every wrongful act. For she has given to 
man, as an antidote against the stupid man, mildness, 
and against another kind of man some other power. 
And in all cases it is possible for thee to correct by 
teaching the man who is gone astray ; for every man 
who errs misses his object and is gone astray. Besides 
wherein hast thou been injured ? For thou wilt find 
that no one among those against whom thou art 
irritated has done anything by which thy mind could 
be made worse ; but that which is evil to thee and 
harmful has its foundation only in the mind. And 
what harm is done or what is there strange, if the man 
who has not been instructed does the acts of an unin- 
structed man ? Consider whether thou shouldst not 
rather blame thyself, because thou didst not expect 
such a man to err in such a way. For thou hadst 
means given thee by thy reason to suppose that it was 
likely that he would commit this error, and yet thou 
hast forgotten and art amazed that he has erred. But 
most of all when thou blamest a man as faithless or 
ungrateful, turn to thyself. For the fault is manifestly 


thy own, whether thou didst trust that a man who had 
such a disposition would keep his promise, or when 
conferring thy kindness thou didst not confer it abso- 
lutely, nor yet in such way as to have received from 
thy very act all the profit. For what more dost thou 
want when thou hast done a man a service? Art thou 
not content that thou hast done something conforma- 
ble to thy nature, and dost thou seek to be paid for it ? 
Just as if the eye demanded a recompense for seeing, 
or the feet for walking. For as these members are 
formed for a particular purpose, and by working 
according to their several constitutions obtain what is 
their own ; so also as man is formed by nature to acts 
of benevolence, when he has done anything benevolent 
or in any other way conducive to the common interest, 
he has acted conformably to his constitution, and he 
gets what is his own. 



Wilt thou, then, my soul, never be good and. simple 
and one and naked, more manifest than the body 
which surrounds thee? Wilt thou never enjoy an 
affectionate and contented disposition? Wilt thou 
never be full and without a want of any kind, longing 
for nothing more, nor desiring anything, either ani- 
mate or inanimate, for the enjoyment of pleasures ? 
nor yet desiring time wherein thou shalt have longer 
enjoyment, or place, or pleasant climate, or society of 
men with whom thou may est live in harmony ? but wilt 
thou be satisfied with thy present condition, and 
pleased with all that is about thee, and wilt thou con- 
vince thyself that thou hast everything and that it 
comes from the gods, that everything is well for thee, 
and will be well whatever shall please them, and what- 
ever they shall give for the conservation of the perfect 
living being,* the good and just and beautiful, which 
generates and holds together all things, and contains 
and embraces all things which are dissolved for the 
production of other like things? Wilt thou never be 
such that thou shalt so dwell in community with gods 
and men as neither to find fault with them at all, nor 
to be condemned by them ? 

2. Observe what thy nature requires, so far as thou 

* That is, God (iv. 40), as lie is defined by Zeno. But the con- 
fusion between gods and God is strange. 


art governed by nature only ; then do it and accept it, 
if thy nature, so far as thou art a living being, shall 
not be made worse by it. And next thou must observe 
what thy nature requires so far as thou art a living 
being. And all this thou mayest allow thyself, if thy 
nature, so far as thou art a rational animal, shall not 
be made worse by it. But the rational animal is conse- 
quently also a political [social] animal. Use these 
rules, then, and trouble thyself about nothing else. 

3. Everything which happens either happens in such 
wise as thou art formed by nature to bear it, or as 
thou art not formed by nature to bear it. If, then, it 
happens to thee in such way as thou art formed by 
nature to bear it, do not complain, but bear it as thou 
art formed by nature to bear it. But if it happens in 
such wise as thou art not formed by nature to bear it, 
do not complain, for it will perish after it has con- 
sumed thee. Remember, however, that thou art 
formed by nature to bear everything, with respect to 
which it depends on thy own opinion to make it endur- 
able and tolerable, by thinking that it is either thy 
interest or thy duty to do this. 

4. If a man is mistaken, instruct him kindly and 
show him his error. But if thou art not able, blame 
thyself, or blame not even thyself. 

5. Whatever may happen to thee, it was prepared 
for thee from all eternity; and the implication of 
causes was from eternity spinning the thread of thy 
being, and of that which is incident to it (iii. 11 ; iv. 26). 

6. Whether the universe is [a concourse of] atoms, 
or nature [is a system], let tiiis first be established, 
that I am a part of the whole which is governed by 
nature ; next, I am in a manner intimately related to 


the parts which are of the same kind with myself. 
For remembering this, inasmuch as I am a part, I shall 
be discontented with none of the things which are 
assigned to me out of the whole ; for nothing is in- 
jurious to the part, if it is for the advantage of the 
whole. For the whole contains nothing which is not 
for its advantage ; and all natures indeed have this 
common principle, but the nature of the universe has 
this principle besides, that it cannot be compelled even 
by any external cause to generate anything harmful to 
itself. By remembering, then, that I am a part of 
such a whole, I shall be content with everything that 
happens. And inasmuch as I am in a manner inti- 
mately related to the parts which are of the same 
kind with myself, I shall do nothing unsocial, but I 
shall rather direct myself to the things which are of 
the same kind with myself, and I shall turn all my 
efforts to the common interest, and divert them from 
the contrary. Now, if these things are done so, life 
must flow on happily, just as thou mayest observe that 
the life of a citizen is happy, who continues a course of 
action which is advantageous to his fellow-citizens, and 
is content with whatever the state may assign to him. 

7. The parts of the whole, everything, I mean, which 
is naturally comprehended in the universe, must of 
necessity perish ; but let this be understood in this 
sense, that they must undergo change. But if this is 
naturally both an evil and a necessity for the parts, 
the whole would not continue to exist in a good con- 
dition, the parts being subject to change and consti- 
tuted so as to perish in various ways. For whether 
did nature herself design to do evil to the things which 
are parts of herself, and to make them subject to evil 


and of necessity fall into evil, or have such results 
happened without her knowing it ? Both these sup- 
positions, indeed, are incredible. But if a man should 
even drop the term Nature [as an efficient power], 
and should speak of these things as natural, even then 
it would be ridiculous to affirm at the same time that 
the parts of the whole are in their nature subject to 
change, and at the same time to be surprised or vexed 
as if something were happening contrary to nature, 
particularly as the dissolution of things is into those 
things of which each thing is composed. For there is 
either a dispersion of the elements out of which every 
thing has been compounded, or a change from the 
solid to the earthly and from the airy to the aerial, so 
that these parts are taken back into the universal 
reason, whether this at certain periods is consumed by 
fire or renewed by eternal changes. And do not 
imagine that the solid and the airy part belong to thee 
from the time of generation. For all this received its 
accretion only yesterday and the day before, as one 
may say, from the food and the air which is inspired. 
This, then, which has received [the accretion], changes, 
not that which thy mother brought forth. But sup- 
pose that this [which thy mother brought forth] im- 
plicates thee very much with that other part, which 
has the peculiar quality [of change], this is nothing in 
fact in the way of objection to what is said.* 

* The end of this section is perhaps corrupt. The meaning is 
very obscure. I have given that meaning which appears to be con- 
sistent with the whole argument. The emperor here maintains that the 
essential part of man is unchangeable, and that the other parts, if 
they change or perish, do not affect that which really constitutes tli8 
man. See the Philosophy of Antoninus, p. 50, note. 


8. "When thou hast assumed these names, good, mod- 
est, true, rational, a man of equanimity, and magnani- 
mous, take care thou dost not change these names ; 
and if thou shouldst lose them, quickly return to 
them. And remember that the term Rational was in- 
tended to signify a discriminating attention to every 
several thing and freedom from negligence ; and that 
Equanimity is the voluntary acceptance of the things 
which are assigned to thee by the common nature ; 
and that Magnanimity is the elevation of the intelli- 
gent part above the pleasurable or painful sensations 
of the flesh, and above that poor thing called fame, 
and death, and all such things. If, then, thou main- 
tamest thyself in the possession of these names, with- 
out desiring to be called by these names by others, 
thou wilt be another person and wilt enter on another 
life. For to continue to be such as thou hast hitherto 
been, and to be torn in pieces and defiled in such a 
life, is the character of a very stupid man and one 
overfond of his life, and like those half-devoured fight- 
ers with wild beasts, who, though covered with wounds 
and gore, still intreat to be kept to the following day, 
though they will be exposed in the same state to the 
same claws and bites.* Therefore fix thyself in the 
possession of these few names : and if thou art able 
to abide in them, abide as if thou wast removed to 
certain islands of the Happy 4 But if thou shalt 

* See Seneca, Epp. 70, on these exhibitions which amused the 
people of those days. These fighters were the Bestlarii, some of 
whom may have been criminals, but even if they were, the exhibi- 
tion was equally characteristic of the depraved habits of the spectators. 

\ The islands of the Happy, or the Fortunatas Insula?, are spoken 
of by the Greek and Roman writers. They were the abode of 
Heroes, like Achilles and Diomedes, as we see in the Scolion of Har- 


perceive that thou fallest out of them and dost not 
maintain thy hold, go courageously into some nook 
where thou shalt maintain them, or even depart at 
once from life, not in passion, but with simplicity and 
freedom and modesty, after doing this one [laudable] 
thing at least in thy life, to have gone out of it thus. 
In order, however, to the remembrance of these 
names, it will greatly help thee, if thou rememberest 
the gods, and that they wish not to be flattered, but 
wish all reasonable beings to be made like themselves ; 
and if thou rememberest that what does the work of 
a fig-tree is a fig-tree, and that what does the work of 
a dog is a dog, and that what does the work of a bee 
is a bee, and that what does the work of a man is a 

9. Mimi,* war, astonishment, torpor, slavery, will daily 
wipe out those holy principles of thine, fllow many 
things without studying nature dost thou imagine, and 
how many dost thou neglect ? But it is thy duty so to 

modius and Aristogiton. Sertorius heard of the islands at Cadiz from 
some sailors who had been there, and he had a wish to go and live in 
them and rest from his troubles. (Plutarch, Sertorius, c. 8.) In the 
Odyssey, Proteus told Menelaus that he should not die in Argos, but 
be removed to a place at the boundary of the earth where Rhada- 
manthus dwelt : (Odyssey, iv. 565.) 

For there in sooth man's life is easiest: 
Nor snow nor raging storm nor rain is there, 
But ever gently breathing gales of Zephyr 
Oceanus sends up to gladden man. 

It is certain that the writer of the Odyssey only follows some old 
legend without having any knowledge of any place which corresponds 
to his description. The two islands which Sertorius heard of may be 
Madeira and the adjacent island. (Compare Pindar, 01. ii. 129.) 

* Corais conjectured juidoi " hatred " in place of Mimi, Roman 
plays in which action and gesticulation were all or nearly all. 


look on and so to do everything, that at the same time 
the power of dealing with circumstances is perfected, 
and the contemplative faculty is exercised, and the 
confidence which comes from the knowledge of each 
several thing is maintained without showing it, but 
yet not concealed. For when wilt thou enjoy simplic- 
ity, when gravity, and when the knowledge of every 
several thing, both what it is in substance, and what 
place it has in the universe, and how long it is formed 
to exist, and of what things it is compounded, and to 
whom it can belong, and who are able both to give it 
and take it away % 

10. A spider is proud when it has caught a fly, and 
another when he has caught a poor hare, and another 
when he has taken a little fish in a net, and another 
when he has taken wild boars, and another when he 
has taken bears, and another when he has taken Sar- 
matians. Are not these robbers, if thou examinest 
their opinions ? * 

11. Acquire the contemplative way of seeing how 
all things change into one another, and constantly 
attend to it, and exercise thyself about this part [of 
philosophy]. For nothing is so much adapted to pro- 
duce magnanimity. Such a man has put off the body, 
and, as he sees that he must, no one knows how soon, 
go away from among men and leave everything here, he 
gives himself up entirely to just doing in ail his 
actions, and in everything else that happens he resigns 
himself to the universal nature. But as to what any 
man shall say or think about him, or do against him, he 

* Marcus means to say that conquerors are robbers. He himself 
warred against Sarmatians, and was a robber, as he says, like the 
rest. But compare the life of Avidius Cassius, c. 4, by Vulcatius. 


never even thinks of it, being himself contented with 
these two things, with aciing justly in what he now 
does, and being satisfied with what is now assigned to 
him ; and he lays aside all distracting and busy pur- 
suits, and desires nothing else than to accomplish the 
straight course through the law,* and by accomplish- 
ing the straight course to follow God. 

12. What need is there of suspicious fear, since it is 
in thy power to inquire what ought to be done? And 
if thou seest clear, go by this way content, without 
turning back : but if thou dost not see clear, stop and 
take the best advisers. But if any other things oppose 
thee, go on according to thy powers with due consid- 
eration, keeping to that which appears to be just. 
For it is best to reach this object, and if thou dost fail, 
let thy failure be in attempting this. He who follows 
reason in all things is both tranquil and active at the 
same time, and also cheerful and collected. 

13. Inquire of thyself as soon as thou wakest from 
sleep whether it will make any difference to thee, if 
another does what is just and right. It will make no 
difference (vi. 32 ; viii. 55). 

Thou has not forgotten, I suppose, that those who 
assume arrogant airs in bestowing their praise or 
blame on others, are such as they are at bed and at 
board, and thou hast not forgotten what they do, and 
what they avoid and what they pursue, and how the}' 
steal and how they rob, not with hands and feet, but 
with their most valuable part, by means of which there 
is produced, when a man chooses, fidelity, modesty, 
truth, law, a good demon [happiness]? (vii. 17.) 

* By the law, he means the divine law, obedience to the will of 


14. To her who gives and takes back all, to nature, 
the man who is instructed and modest says, Give what 
thou wilt ; take back what thou wilt. And he says 
this not proudly, but obediently and well pleased 
with her. 

15. Short is the little which remains to thee of life. 
Live as on a mountain. For it makes no difference 
whether a man lives there or here, if he lives every- 
where in the world as in a state [political community]. 
Let men see, let them know a real man who lives 
according to nature. If they cannot endure him, let 
them kill him. For that is better than to live thus [as 
men do]. 

16. No longer talk at all about the kind of man that 
a good man ought to be, but be such. 

17. Constantly contemplate the whole of time and 
the whole of substance, and consider that all individual 
things as to substance are a grain of a fig, and as to 
time, the turning of a gimlet. 

18. Look at everything that exists, and observe that 
it is already in dissolution and in change, and as it 
were putrefaction or dispersion, or that everything is 
so constituted by nature as to die. 

19. Consider what men are when they are eating, 
sleeping, generating, easing themselves and so forth. 
Then what kind of men they are when they are im- 
periousf and arrogant, or angry and scolding from 
their elevated place. But a short time ago to how 
many they were slaves and for what things : and 
after a little time consider in what a condition they 
will be. 

20. That is for the good of each thing, which the 
universal nature brings to each. And it is for its 
good at the time when nature brings it. 


21. " The earth loves the shower ;" and "the solemn 
ether loves :" and the universe loves to make what- 
ever is about to be. I say then to the universe, that I 
love as thou lovest. And is not this too said, that 
"this or that loves [is wont] to be produced."* 

22. Either thou livest here and hast already accus- 
tomed thyself to it, or thou art going away, and this 
was thy own will : or thou art dying and hast dis- 
charged thy duty. But besides these things there is 
nothing. Be of good cheer, then. 

23. Let this always be plain to thee, that this piece 
of land is like any other; and that all things here are 
the same with things on the top of a mountain, or on 
the sea-shore, or wherever thou choosest to be. For 
thou wilt find just what Plato says, Dwelling within 
the walls of a city as in a shepherd's fold on a mount- 
ain. [The three last words are omitted in the trans- 

24. What is my ruling faculty now to me? and of 
what nature am I now making it ? and for what pur- 
pose am I now using it ? is it void of understanding ? 
is it loosed and rent asunder from social life? is it 
melted into and mixed with the poor flesh so as to 
move together with it ? 

* These words are from Euripides. They are cited by Aristotle, 
Ethic. Nicom. viii. 1. It was the fashion of the Stoics to work on 
the meanings of words. So Antoninus here takes the verb cpiXec, 
"loves," which has also the sense of "is wont," "uses," and the 
like. He finds in the common language of mankind a philosophical 
truth, and most great truths are expressed in the common language 
of life; some understand them, but most people utter them, without 
knowing how much they mean. 

% Plato, Theaet. 174 D. E. But compare the original with the 
use that Antoninus has made of it. 


25. He who flies from his master is a runaway ; but 
the law is master, and he who breaks the law is a run- 
away. And he also who is grieved or angry or af raid,+ 
is dissatisfied because something has been or is or shall 
be of the things which are appointed by him who rules 
all things, and he is Law, and assigns to every man 
Avhat is fit. He then who fears or is grieved or is 
angry is a runaway.* 

26. A man deposits seed in a womb and goes away, 
and then another cause takes it, and labors on it and 
makes a child. What a thing from such a material ! 
Again, the child passes food down through the throat, 
and then another cause takes it and makes perception 
and motion, and in fine life and strength and other 
things ; how many and how strange ! Observe then 
the things which are produced in such a hidden way, 
and see the power just as we see the power which 
carries things downward and upward, not with the 
eyes, but still no less plainly (vii. 75). 

27. Constantly consider how all things such as they 
now are, in time past also were ; and consider that they 
will be the same again. And place before thy eyes 
entire dramas and stages of the same form, whatever 
thou hast learned from thy experience or from older 
history; for example, the whole court of Hadrianus, 
and the whole court of Antoninus, and the whole court 
of Philippus, Alexander, Croesus ; for all those were 
such dramas as we see now, only with different actors. 

28. Imagine every man who is grieved at anything 
or discontented to be like a pig which is sacrificed and 
kicks and screams. 

* Antoninus is here playing on the etymology of vopoS, law, as 
signment, that which assigns (re/^ei) to every man his portion. 


Like this pig also is he who on his bed in silence 
laments the bonds in which we are held. And con- 
sider that only to the rational animal is it given to 
follow voluntarily what happens ; but simply to follow 
is a necessity imposed on all. 

29. Severally on the occasion of everything that 
thou doest, pause and ask thyself, if death is a dread- 
ful thing because it deprives thee of this. 

30. When thou art offended at anv man's fault, 
forthwith turn to thyself and reflect in what like man- 
ner thou dost err thyself ; for example, in thinking 
that money is a good thing, or pleasure, or a bit of 
reputation, and the like. For by attending to this 
thou wilt quickly forget thy anger, if this considera- 
tion also is added, that the man is compelled ; for what 
else could he do ? or, if thou art able, take away from 
him the compulsion. 

31. When thou hast seen Satyron* the Socratic,f 
think of either Eutyches or Hymen, and when thou 
hast seen Euphrates, think of Eutychion or Silvanus, 
and when thou hast seen Alciphron think of Tropseo- 
phorus, and when thou hast seen Xenophon think of 
Crito^: or Severus, and when thou hast looked on thy- 
self, think of any other Cassar, and in the case of every 
one do in like manner. Then let this thought be in 
thy mind, Where then are those men ? Nowhere, or 

* Nothing is known of Satyron or Satyrion; nor, I believe, of 
Eutyches or Hymen. Euphrates is honorably mentioned by Epictetus 
(iii. 15, 8; iv. 8, 17). Pliny (Epp. i. 10), speaks very highly of him. 
He obtained the permission of the Emperor Hadrian to drink poison, 
because he was old and in bad health (Dion Cassius. 69, c. 8). 

JCrito is the friend of Socrates; and he was, it appears, also a 
friend of Xenophon. When the emperor says "seen," he does not 
mean with the eyes. 


nobody knows where. For thus continuously thou 
wilt look at human things as smoke and nothing at 
all ; especially if thou reflectest at the same time that 
what has once changed will never exist again in the 
infinite duration of time. But thou, in what a brief 
space of time is thy existence? And why art thou 
not content to pass through this short time in an 
orderly way ? What matter and opportunity [for thy 
activity] art thou avoiding? For what else are all 
these things, except exercises for the reason, when it 
has viewed carefully and by examination into their 
nature the things which happen in life? Persevere 
then until thou shalt have made these things thy own, 
as the stomach which is strengthened makes all things 
its own, as the blazing fire makes flame and brightness 
out of everything that is thrown into it. 

32. Let it not be in any man's power to say truly of 
thee that thou art not simple, or that thou art not 
good ; but let him be a liar whoever shall think any- 
thing of this kind about thee ; and this is altogether in 
thy power. For who is he that shall hinder thee from 
being good and simple? Do thou only determine 
to live no longer, unless thou shalt be such. For 
neither does reason allow [thee to live], if thou art not 

33. What is that which as to this material [our life] 
can be done or said in the way most conformable to 
reason. For whatever this may be, it is in thy power 
to do it or to say it, and do not make excuses that thou 
art hindered. Thou wilt not cease to lament till thy 
mind is in such a condition that, what luxury is to 
those who enjoy pleasure, such shall be to thee, in the 

* Compare Epictetus, i. 29, 28, 


matter which is subjected and presented to thee, the 
doing of the things which are conformable to man's 
constitution ; for a man ought to consider as an enjoy- 
ment everything which it is in his power to do accord- 
ing to his own nature. And it is in his power every- 
where. Now, it is not given to a cylinder to move 
everywhere by its own motion, nor yet to water nor to 
fire, nor to anything else which is governed by nature 
or an irrational soul, for the things which check them 
and stand in the way are many. But intelligence and 
reason are able to go through everything that opposes 
them, and in such manner as they are formed by nature 
and as they choose. Place before thy eyes this facility 
with which the reason will be carried through all 
things, as fire upward, as a stone downward, as a cyl- 
inder down an inclined surface, and seek for nothing- 
further. For all other obstacles either affect the body 
only which is a dead thing ; or, except through opinion 
and the yielding of the reason itself, they do not crrish 
nor do any harm of any kind ; for if they did, he who 
felt it would immediately become bad. Now, in the 
case of all things which have a certain constitution, 
whatever harm may happen to any of them, that 
which is so affected becomes consquently -worse ; but 
in the like case, a man becomes both better, if one may 
say so, and more worthy of praise by making a right 
use of these accidents. And finally remember that 
nothing harms him who is really a citizen, which does 
not harm the state ; nor yet does anything harm the 
state which does not harm law [order] ; and of these 
things which are called misfortunes not one harms law. 
"What then does not harm law does not harm either 
state or citizen. 


34. To him who is penetrated by true principles even 
the briefest precept is sufficient, and any common pre- 
cept, to remind him that he should be free from grief 
and fear. For example : 

Leaves, some the wind scatters on the ground 
So is the race of men.* 

Leaves, also, are thy children ; and leaves, too, are they 
who cry out as if they were worthy of credit and 
bestow their praise, or on the contrary curse, or 
secretly blame and sneer ; and leaves, in like manner, 
are those who shall receive and transmit a man's fame 
to after-times. For all such things as these "are pro- 
duced in the season of spring," as the poet says ; then 
the wind casts them down; then the forest produces 
other leaves in their places. But a brief existence is 
common to all things, and yet thou avoidest and pur- 
suest all things as if they would be eternal. A little 
time, and thou shalt close thy eyes ; and him who 
has attended thee to thy grave another soon will 

35. The healthy eye ought to see all visible things 
and not to say, I wish for green things ; for this is the 
condition of a diseased eye. And the healthy hearing 
and smelling ought to be ready to perceive all that 
can be heard and smelled. And the health} 7 stomach 
ought to be with respect to all food just as the mill 
with respect to all things which it is formed to grind. 
And accordingly the healthy understanding ought to 
be prepared for everything winich happens ; but that 
which says, Let my dear children live, and let all men 
praise whatever I may do, is an eye which seeks for 
green things, or teeth which seek for soft things. 
* Homer, II. vi. 146. 


36. There is no man so fortunate that there shall 
not be by him when he is dying some who are pleased 
with what is going to happen.* Suppose that he was 
a good and wise man, will there not be at last some 
one to say to himself, Let us at last breathe freely 
being 1 relieved from this school-master ? It is true that 
he was harsh to none of us, but I perceived that he 
tacitly condemns us. This is what is said of a good 
man. But in our own case how many other things 
are there for which there are many who wish to get 
rid of us. Thou wilt consider this then when thou 
art dying, and thou wilt depart more contentedly by 
reflecting thus : I am going away from such a life, in 
which even my associates in behalf of whom 1 have 
striven so much, prayed, and cared, themselves wish 
me to depart, hoping perchance to get some little 
advantage by it. "Why then should a man cling to a 
longer stay here ? Do not, however, for this reason go 
awa}^ less kindly disposed to them, but preserving thy 
own character, and friendly and benevolent and mild, 
and on the other hand not as if thou wast torn away ; 
but as when a man dies a quiet death, the poor soul is 
easily separated from the body, such also ought thy 
departure from men to be, for nature united thee to 
them and associated thee. But does she now dissolve 
the union \ Well, I am separated as from kinsmen, not 
however dragged resisting, but without compulsion ; 
for this too is one of the things according to nature. 

37. Accustom thyself as much as possible on the 
occasion of anything being done by any person to 

* He says hckxov but as lie affirms in other places that death is 
no evil, he must mean what others may call an evil, and he means 
only " what is going to happen." 


inquire with thyself, For what object is this man 
doing this? but begin with thyself, and examine 
thyself first. 

38. Remember that this which pulls the strings is 
the thing v vhich is hidden within : this is the power 
of persuasion, this is life ; this, if one may so say, is man. 
In contemplating thyself never include the vessel 
which surrounds thee, and these instruments which are 
attached about it. For they are like to an ax, differing 
only in this that they grow to the body. For indeed 
there is no more use in these parts without the cause 
which moves and checks them than in the weaver's 
shuttle, and the writer's pen, and the driver's whip.* 

* See " The Philosophy of Antoninus," n. la 



These are the properties of the rational soul : it sees 
itself, analyzes itself, and makes itself such as it 
chooses ; the fruit which it bears itself enjoys for the 
fruits of plants and that in animals which corresponds 
to fruits others enjoy it obtains its own end, wherever 
the limit of life may be fixed. Not as in a dance and 
in a play and in such like things, where the whole 
action is incomplete, if anything cuts it short ; but in 
every part and wherever it may be stopped, it makes 
what has been set before it full and complete, so that 
it can say, I have what is my own. And further it 
traverses the whole universe, and the surrounding 
vacuum, and surveys its form, and it extends itself into 
the infinity of time, and embraces and comprehends 
the * periodical renovation of all things, and it com- 
prehends that those who come after us will see nothing 
new, nor have those before us seen anything more, but 
in a manner he who is forty years old, if he has any 
understanding at all, has seen by virtue of the uni- 
formity that prevails all things which have been and 
all that will be. This, too, is a property of the 
rational soul, love of one's neighbor, and truth and 
modesty, and to value nothing more than itself, which 
is also the property of Law4 Thus, then, right reason 
differs not at all from the reason of justice. 

* See v. 13, 32 ; x. 7. 

\ Law is the order by wliich all tilings are governed. 


2. Thou wilt set little value on pleasing song and 
dancing and the pancratium, if thou wilt distribute the 
melody of the voice into its several sounds, and ask 
thyself as to each, if thou art mastered by this; for 
thou wilt be prevented by shame from confessing it : 
and in the matter of dancing, if at each movement 
and attitude thou wilt do the same ; and the like also 
in the matter of the pancratium. In all things, then, 
except virtue and the acts of virtue, remember to apply 
thyself to their several parts, and by this division to 
come to value them little : and apply this rule also to 
thy whole life. 

3. What a soul that is which is ready, if at any 
moment it must be separated from the body, and 
ready either to be extinguished or dispersed or con- 
tinue to exist ; but so that this readiness comes from a 
man's own judgment, not from mere obstinacy, as with 
the Christians,* but considerately and with dignity 
and in a way to persuade another, without tragic 

4. Have I done something for the general interest? 
"Well then I have had my reward. Let this always 
be present to thy mind, and never stop [doing such 

5. What is thy art ? To be good. And how is this 
accomplished well except by general principles, some 
about the nature of the universe, and others about the 
proper constitution of man ? 

6. At first tragedies were brought on the stage as 
means of reminding men of the things which happen 

* See the Life of Antoninus. This is the only passage in which 
the emperor speaks of the Christians. Epictetus (iv. 7, 6) names them 


to them, and that it is according to nature for things 
to happen so, and that, if you are delighted with what 
is shown on the stage, you should not be troubled with 
that which takes place on the larger stage. For you 
see that these things must be accomplished thus, and 
that even they bear them who cry out,* " O Cithaeron." 
And, indeed, some things are said well by the 
dramatic writers, of which kind is the following 
especially : 

Me and my children if the gods neglect, 
This has its reason too. J: 

And again 

We must not chafe and fret at that which happens. 


Life's harvest reap like the wheat's fruitful ear. 

And other things of the same kind. 

After tragedy the old comedy was introduced, which 
had a magisterial freedom of speech, and by its very 
plainness of speaking was useful in reminding men to 
beware of insolence ; and for this purpose too Diogenes 
used to take from these writers. 

But as to the middle comedy which came next, 
observe what it was, and again, for what object the 
new comedy was introduced, which gradually sunk 
down into a mere mimic artifice. That some good 
things are said even by these writers, everybody 
knows: but the whole plan of such poetry and 
dramaturgy, to what end does it look ! 

7. How plain does it appear that there is not an- 

* Sophocles, (Edipus Rex. 
\ See vii. 41, 38, 40. 


other condition of life so well suited for philosophiz- 
ing as this in which thou now happenest to be. 

8. A branch cut off from the adjacent branch must 
of necessity be cut off from the whole tree also. So 
too a man when he is separated from another man has 
fallen off from the whole social community. Now as 
to a branch, another cuts it off, but a man by his own 
act separates himself from his neighbor when he 
hates him and turns away from him, and he does not 
know that he has at the same time cut himself off 
from the whole social system. Yet he has this priv- 
ilege certainly from Zeus who framed society, for it is 
in our power to grow again to that which is near to 
us, and again to become a part which helps to make 
up the whole. However, if it often happens, this kind 
of separation, it makes it difficult for that which 
detaches itself to be brought to unity and to be re- 
stored to its former condition. Finally, the branch, 
which from the first grew together with the tree, and 
has continued to have one life with it, is not like that 
which after being cut off is then ingrafted, for this is 
something like what the gardeners mean w T hen they 
say that it grows with the rest of the tree, butf that 
it has not the same mind with it. 

9. As those who try to stand in thy way when thou 
art proceeding according to right reason, will not be 
able to turn thee aside from thy proper action, so 
neither let them drive thee from thy benevolent feel- 
ings toward them, but be on thy guard equally in 
both matters, not only in the matter of steady judg- 
ment and action, but also in the matter of gentleness 
toward those who try to hinder or otherwise trouble 
thee. For this also is a weakness, to be vexed at 


them, as well as to be diverted from thy course of 
action and to give way through fear ; for both are 
equally deserters from their post, the man who does it 
through fear, and the man who is alienated from him 
who is by nature a kinsman and a friend. 

10. There is no nature which is inferior to art, for 
the arts imitate the natures of things. But if this is 
so, that nature which is the most perfect and the most 
comprehensive of all natures, cannot fall short of the 
skill of art. Now all arts do the inferior things for 
the sake of the superior ; therefore the universal 
nature does so too. And, indeed, hence is the origin 
of justice, and in justice the other virtues have their 
foundation : for justice will not be observed, if we 
either care for middle things [things indifferent], or 
are easily deceived and careless and changeable (v. 16, 
30 ; vii. 55). 

11. If the things do not come to thee, the pursuits 
and avoidances of which disturb thee, still in a manner 
thou goest to them. Let then thy judgment about 
them be at rest, and they will remain quiet, and thou 
wilt not be seen either pursuing or avoiding. 

12. The spherical form of the soul maintains its 
figure, when it is neither extended toward any object, 
nor contracted inward, nor dispersed nor sinks down, 
but is illuminated by light, by which it sees the truth, 
the truth of all things and the truth that is in itself 
(viii. 41, 45 ; xii. 3). 

13. Suppose any man shall despise me. Let him 
look to that himself. But I will look to this, that I be 
not discovered doing or saying anything deserving of 
contempt. Shall any man hate me? Let him look to 
it. But I will be mild and benevolent toward every 


man, and ready to show even him his mistake, not re- 
proachfully, nor yet as making a display of my endur- 
ance, but nobly and honestly, like the great Phocion, 
unless indeed he only assumed it. For the interior 
[parts] ought to be such, and a man ought to be seen 
by the gods neither dissatisfied with anything nor 
complaining. For what evil is it to thee, if thou art 
now doing what is agreeable to thy own nature, and 
art satisfied with that which at this moment is suitable 
to the nature of the universe, since thou art a human 
being placed at thy post in order that what is for the 
common advantage may be done in some way % 

14. Men despise one another and flatter one another ; 
and men wish to raise themselves above one another, 
and crouch before one another. 

15. How unsound and insincere is he who says, I 
have determined to deal with thee in a fair way. 
What art thou doing, man ? There is no occasion to 
give this notice. It will soon show itself by acts. 
The voice ought to be plainly written on the forehead. 
Such as a man's character is,f he immediately shows 
it in his eyes, just as he who is beloved forthwith 
reads everything in the eyes of lovers. The man who 
is honest and good ought to be exactly like a man who 
smells strong, so that the bystander as soon as he 
comes near him must smell whether he choose or not. 
But the affectation of simplicity is like a crooked stick.* 
Nothing is more disgraceful than a wolfish friendship 
[false friendship]. Avoid this most of all. The good 

* There is a Greek proverb, "You cannot make a crooked stick 
straight." The wolfish friendship is an illusion to the fable of the 
sheep and the wolves. 


and simple and benevolent show all these things in the 
eyes, and there is no mistaking. 

16. As to living in the best way, this power is in the 
soul, if it be indifferent to things which are indifferent. 
And it will be indifferent, if it looks on each of these 
things separately and all together, and if it remembers 
that not one of them produces in us an opinion about 
itself, nor comes to us ; but these things remain im- 
movable, and it is we ourselves who produce the judg- 
ments about them, and, as we may say, write them in 
ourselves, it being in our power not to write them, and 
it being in our power, if perchance these judgments 
have imperceptibly got admission to our minds, to 
wipe them out ; and if we remember also that such 
attention will only be for a short time, and then life 
will be at an end. Besides, what trouble is there at 
all in doing this ? For if these things are according to 
nature, rejoice in them, and they will be easy to thee ; 
but if contrary to nature, seek what is conformable to 
thy own nature, and strive toward this, even if it bring 
no reputation ; for every man is allowed to seek his 
own good. 

17. Consider whence each thing is come, and of 
what it consists,f and into what it changes, and what 
kind of a thing it will be when it has changed, and 
that it will sustain no harm. 

18. [If any have offended against thee, consider 
first] : What is my relation to men, and that we are 
made for one another ; and in another respect, I was 
made to be set over them, as a ram over the flock or a 
bull over the herd. But examine the matter from first 
principles, from this : If all things are not mere atoms, 
it is nature which orders all things \ if this is so, the 


inferior things exist for the sake of the superior, and 
these for the sake of one another (ii. 1 ; ix. 39 ; v. 16 ; 
iii. 4). 

Second, consider what kind of men they are at table, 
in bed, and so forth ; and particularly, under what 
compulsions in respect of opinions they are ; and as to 
their acts, consider with what pride they do what they 
do (viii. 14 ; ix. 34). 

Third, that if men do rightly what they do, we 
ought not to be displeased ; but if they do not right, 
it is plain that they do so involuntarily and in igno- 
rance. For as every soul is unwillingly deprived of the 
truth, so also is it unwillingly deprived of the power of 
behaving to each man according to his deserts. Ac- 
cordingly men are pained when they are called unjust, 
ungrateful, and greedy, and in a word wrong-doers to 
their neighbors (vii. 62, 63 ; ii. 1 ; vii. 26 ; viii. 29). 

Fourth, consider that thou also doest many things 
wrong, and that thou art a man like others ; and even 
if thou dost abstain from certain faults, still thou hast 
the disposition to commit them, though either through 
cowardice, or concern about reputation or some such 
mean motive, thou dost abstain from such faults (i. IT). 

Fifth, consider that thou dost not even understand 
whether men are doing wrong or not, for many things 
are done with a certain reference to circumstances. 
And, in short, a man must learn a great deal to enable 
him to pass a correct judgment on another man's acts 
(ix. 38 ; iv. 51). 

Sixth, consider wdien thou art much vexed or 
grieved, that man's life is only a moment, and, after a 
short time, we are all laid out dead (vii. 58 ; iv. 48). 

Seventh, that it is not men's acts which disturb us, 


for those acts have their foundation in men's ruling 
principles, but it is our own opinions which disturb us. 
Take away these opinions then, and resolve to dismiss 
thy judgment about an act as if it were something 
grievous, and thy anger is gone. How, then, shall I 
take away these opinions ? By reflecting that no 
wrongful act of another brings shame on thee : for 
uriless that which is shameful is alone bad, thou also 
must of necessity do many things wrong, and become 
a robber and everything else (v. 25 ; vii. 16). 

Eighth, consider how much more pain is brought on 
*js by the anger and vexation caused by such acts than 
by the acts themselves, at which we are angry and 
vexed (iv. 39, 49 ; vii. 24). 

Ninth, consider that a good disposition is invincible, 
if it be genuine, and not an affected smile and acting 
a part. For what will the most violent man do to 
thee, if thou continuest to be of a kind disposition 
toward him, and if, as opportunity offers, thou gently 
admonishest him and calmly correctest his errors at 
the very time when he is trying to do thee harm, 
saying, Not so, my child : we are constituted by nature 
for something else : I shall certainly not be injured, 
but thou art injuring thyself, my child. And show 
him with gentle tact and by general principles that 
this is so, and that even bees do not do as he does, nor 
any animals which are formed by nature to be gregari- 
ous. And thou must do this neither with any double 
meaning nor in the way of reproach, but affectionately 
and without any rancour in thy soul ; and not as if 
thou wert lecturing him, nor yet that any bystander 
may admire, but either when he is alone, and if others 
are present . . .* 

* It appears that there is a defect in the text here. 


Remember these nine rules, as if thou hadst received 
them as a gift from the Muses, and begin at last to be 
a man while thou livest. But thou must equally avoid 
Mattering men and being vexed at them, for both are 
unsocial and lead to harm. And let this truth be 
present to thee in the excitement of anger, that to be 
moved by passion is not manly, but that mildness and 
gentleness, as they are more agreeable to human 
nature, so also are they more manly; and he who 
possesses these qualities possesses strength, nerves and 
courage, and not the man who is subject to fits of 
passion and discontent. For in the same degree in 
which a man's mind is nearer to freedom from all 
passion, in the same degree also is it nearer to strength : 
and as the sense of pain is a characteristic of weak- 
ness, so also is anger. For he who yields to pain and 
he who yields to anger, both are wounded and both 

But if thou wilt, receive also a tenth present from the 
leader of the [Muses Apollo], and it is this that to 
expect bad men not to do wrong is madness, for he 
who expects this desires an impossibility. But to 
allow men to behave so to others, and to expect 
them not to do thee any wrong, is irrational and 

19. There are four principal aberrations of the 
superior faculty against which thou shouldst be con- 
stantly on thy guard, and when thou hast detected them, 
thou shouldst wipe them out and say on each occasion 
thus : this thought is not necessary : this tends to 
destroy social union : this which thou art going to say 
comes not from the real thoughts ; for thou shouldst 
consider it among the most absurd of things for a man 


not to speak from his real thoughts. But the fourth is 
when thou shalt reproach thyself for anything, for this 
is an evidence of the diviner part within thee being 
overpowered and yielding to the less honourable and to 
the perishable part, the body, and to its gross pleasures 
(iv. 24 ; ii. 16). 

20. Thy aerial part and all the fiery parts which are 
mingled in thee, though by nature they have an upward 
tendency, still in obedience to the disposition of the 
universe they are overpowered here in the compound 
mass [the body]. And also the whole of the earthly 
part in thee and the watery, though their tendency is 
downward, still are raised up and occupy a position 
which is not their natural one. In this manner then 
the elemental parts obey the universal, for when they 
have been fixed in any place perforce they remain there 
until again the universal shall sound the signal for 
dissolution. Is it not then strange that thy intelligent 
part only should be disobedient and discontented with 
its own place ? And yet no force is imposed on it, but 
only those things which are comformable to its nature : 
still it does not submit, but is carried in the opposite 
direction. For the movement towards injustice and 
intemperance and to anger and grief and fear is nothing 
else than the act of one who deviates from nature. 
And also when the ruling faculty is discontented with 
anything that happens, then too it deserts its post : for 
it is constituted for piety and reverence toward the 
gods no less than for justice. For these qualities also 
are comprehended under the generic term of content- 
ment with the constitution of things, and indeed they 
are prior* to acts of justice. 

*The word which is here translated " prior, " may also mean 


21. He who has not one and always the same object 
in life, cannot be one and the same all through his life. 
But what I have said is not enough, unless this also is 
added, what this object ought to be. For as there is 
not the same opinion about all the things which in some 
way or other are considered by the majority to be good, 
but only about some certain things, that is, things which 
concern the common interest ; so also ought we to 
propose to ourselves an object which shall be of a 
common kind [social] and political. For he who directs 
all his own efforts to this object, will make all his acts 
alike, and thus will always be the same. 

22. Think of the country mouse and of the town 
mouse, and of the alarm and trepidation of the town 

23. Socrates used to call the opinions of the many 
by the name of Lamiae, bugbears to frighten children. 

" superior :" but Antoninus seems to say that piety and reverence 
of the gods precede all virtues, and that other virtues are derived from 
them, even justice, which in another passage (xi. 10) he makes the 
foundation of all virtues. The ancient notion of j ustice is that of giving 
to every one his due. It is not a legal definition, as some have sup- 
posed, but a moral rule which law cannot in all cases enforce. 
Besides law has its own rules, which are sometimes moral and some- 
times immoral ; but it enforces them all simply because they are 
general rules, and if it did not or could not enforce them, so far Law 
would not be Law. Justice, or the doing what is just, implies a 
universal rule and obedience to it ; and as we all live under universal 
Law, which commands both our body and our intelligence, and is the 
law of our nature, that is the law of the whole constitution of man, 
we must endeavor to discover what this supreme Law is. It is the 
will of the power that rules all. By acting in obedience to this will, 
we do justice, and by consequence everything else that we ought to 

* The story is told by Horace in his Satires (ii. 6), and by others 
since, but not better. 


24. The Lacedaemonians at their public spectacles 
used to set seats in the shade for strangers, but them- 
selves sat down anywhere. 

25. Socrates excused himself to Perdiccas * for not 
going to him, saying, It is because I would not perish 
by the worst of all ends, that is, I would not receive a 
favor and then be unable to return it. 

26. In the writings of the [Ephesians] there was this 
precept, constantly to think of some one of the men of 
former times who practiced virtue. 

27. The Pythagoreans bid us in the morning look 
to the heavens that we may be reminded of those 
bodies which continually do the same things and in 
the same manner perform their work, and also be re- 
minded of their purity and nudity. For there is no 
veil over a star. 

28. Consider what a man Socrates was when he 
dressed himself in a skin, after Xanthippe had taken 
his cloak and gone out, and what Socrates said to his 
friends who were ashamed of him and drew back from 
him when they saw him dressed thus. 

29. Neither in writing nor in reading wilt thou be 
able to lay down rules for others before thou shalt 
have first learned to obey rules thyself. Much more 
is this so in life. 

30. A slave thou art ; free speech is not for thee. 

31. And my heart laughed within (Od. ix. 413). 

32. And virtue they will curse speaking harsh words 
(Hesiod, Works and Days, 184). 

33. To look for the fig in winter is a madman's act: 

* Perhaps the emperor made a mistake here, for other writers say 
that it was Archelaus, the son of Perdiccas, who invited Socrates to 


such is he who looks for his child when it is no longer 
allowed (Epictetus, iii. 24, 87). 

34. When a man kisses his child, said Epictetus, he 
should whisper to himself, "To-morrow perchance 
thou wilt die." But those are words of bad omen. 
"No word is a word of bad omen," said Epictetus, 
" which expresses any work of nature ; or if it is so, it 
is also a word of bad omen to speak of the ears of 
corn being reaped " (Epictetus, iii. 24, 88). 

35. The unripe grape, the ripe bunch, the dried grape 
all are changes, not into nothing, but into something 
which exists not yet (Epictetus, iii. 24). 

36. No man can rob us of our free will (Epictetus, 
iii. 22, 105). 

37. Epictetus also said, a man must discover an art 
[or rules] with respect to giving his assent; and in 
respect to his movements he must be careful that they 
be made with regard to circumstances, that they be 
consistent with social interests, that they have regard 
to the value of the object ; and as to sensual desire, 
he should altogether keep away from it; and as to 
avoidance [aversion] he should not show it with 
respect to any of the things which are not in our 

38. The dispute then, he said, is not about any com- 
mon matter, but about being mad or not. 

39. Socrates used to say, What do you want \ 
Souls of rational men or irrational? Souls of rational 
men. Of what rational men % Sound or unsound % 
Sound. Why then do you not seek for them ? Be 
cause we have them. Why then do you fight and 
quarrel % 



All those things at which thou wishest to arrive bv 
a circuitous road, thou canst have now, if thou dost not 
refuse them to thyself. And this means, if thou wilt 
take no notice of all the past, and trust the future to 
providence, and direct the present only conformably to 
piety and justice. Conformably to piety, that thou 
mayest be content with the lot which is assigned to 
thee, for nature designed it for thee and thee for it. 
Conformably to justice, that thou mayest always 
speak the truth freely and without disguise, and do 
the things which are agreeable to law and according 
to the worth of each. And let neither another man's 
wickedness hinder thee, nor opinion nor voice, nor yet 
the sensations of the poor flesh which has grown about 
thee ; for the passive part will look to this. If then, 
whatever the time may be when thou shalt be near to 
thy departure, neglecting everything else thou shalt 
respect only thy ruling faculty and the divinity within 
thee, and if thou shalt be afraid not because thou must 
some time cease to live, but if thou shalt fear never to 
have begun to live according to nature, then thou wilt 
be a man worthy of the universe which has produced 
thee, and thou wilt cease to be a stranger in thy native 
land, and to wonder at things which happen daily as 
if they were something unexpected, and to be depend- 
ent on this or that. 

2. God sees the minds (ruling principles) of all men 


bared of the material vesture and rind and impurities. 
For with his intellectual part alone he touches the 
intelligence only which has flowed and been derived 
from himself into these bodies. And if thou also usest 
thyself to do this, thou wilt rid thyself of thy much 
trouble. For he who regards not the poor flesh which 
envelops him, surely will not trouble himself by look- 
ing after raiment and dwelling and fame and such 
like externals and show. 

3. The things are three of which thou art composed, 
a little body, a little breath [life], intelligence. Of 
these the first two are thine, so far as it is thy duty to 
take care of them ; but the third alone is properly 
thine. Therefore, if thou shalt separate from thyself, 
that is, from thy understanding, whatever others do or 
say, and whatever thou hast done or said thyself, and 
whatever future things trouble thee because they may 
happen, and whatever in the body which envelops 
thee, or in the breath [life], which is by nature associ- 
ated with the body, is attached to thee independent of 
thy will, and whatever the external circumfluent 
vortex whirls round, so that the intellectual power 
exempt from the things of fate can live pure and free 
by itself, doing what is just and accepting what 
happens and saying the truth : if thou wilt separate, I 
say, from this ruling faculty the things which are 
attached to it by the impressions of sense, and the 
things of time to come and of time that is past, and 
wilt make thyself like Empedocles' sphere : 

All round, and in its joyous rest reposing;* 

and if thou shalt strive to live only what is really thy 

* The verse of Empedocles is corrupt in Antoninus. 


life, that is, the present, then thou wilt be able to pass 
that portion of life which remains for thee up to the 
time of thy death, free from perturbations, nobly, and 
obedient to thy own demon [to the god that is within 
thee] (ii. 13, 17 ; iii. 5, 6 ; xi. 12). 

4. 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 opinion of himself than on 
the opinion of others. If then a god or a wise teacher 
should present himself to a man and bid him to think 
of nothing and to design nothing which he would not 
express as soon as he conceived it, he could not endure 
it even for a single day. So much more respect have 
we to what our neighbors shall think of us than to 
what we shall think of ourselves. 

5. How can it be that the gods, after having arranged 
all things well and benevolently for mankind, have 
overlooked this alone, that some men and very good 
men, and men who, as we may say, have had most 
communion with the divinity, and through pious acts 
and religious observances have been most intimate 
with the divinity, when they have once died should 
never exist again, but snould be completely extin- 
guished ? 

But if this is so, be assured that if it ought to have 
ocen otherwise, the gods would have done it. For if 
it were just, it would also be possible ; and if it were 
according to nature, nature would have had it so. 
Uut because it is not so, if in fact it is not so, be thou 
convinced that it ought not to have been so : for thou 
seest even of thyself that in this inquiry thou art dis- 
puting with the deity ; and we should not thus dispute 
with the gods, unless they were most excellent and 


most just; but if this is so, they would not have 
allowed anything in the ordering of the universe to be 
neglected unjustly and irrationally. 

6. Practice thyself even in the things which thou 
despairest of accomplishing. For even the left hand, 
which is ineffectual for all other things for want of 
practice, holds the bridle more vigorously than the 
right hand ; for it has been practiced in this. 

7. Consider in what condition, both in body and soul, 
a man should be when he is overtaken by death ; and 
consider the shortness of life, the boundless abyss of 
time, past and future, the feebleness of all matter. 

8. Contemplate the formative principles [forms] of 
things bare of their coverings ; the purposes of actions ; 
consider what pain is, what pleasure is, and death, and 
fame; who is to himself the cause of his uneasiness; 
how no man is hindered by another ; that everything 
is opinion. 

9. In the application of thy principles thou must be 
like the pancratiast, not like the gladiator; for the 
gladiator lets fall the sword which he uses and is 
killed ; but the other always has his hand, and needs 
to do nothing else than use it. 

10. See what things are in themselves, dividing them 
into matter, form and purpose. 

11. What a power man has to do nothing except 
what God will approve, and to accept all that God 
may give him. 

12. With respect to that which happens conformably 
to nature, we ought to blame neither gods, for they do 
nothing wrong either voluntarily or involuntarily, nor 
men, for they do nothing wrong except involuntarily. 
Consequently we should blame nobody (ii. 11, 12, 13 ; 
vii.62; viii. 17). 


13. How ridiculous and what a stranger lie is who 
is surprised at anything which happens in life. 

14. Either there is a fatal necessity and invincible 
order, or a kind providence, or a confusion without a 
purpose and without a director (iv. 27). If then there 
is an invincible necessity, why dost thou resist % But 
if there is a providence which allows itself to be pro- 
pitiated, make thyself worthy of the help of the 
divinity. But if there is a confusion without a 
governor, be content that in such a tempest thou hast 
in thyself a certain ruling intelligence. And even if 
the tempest carry thee away, let it carry away the 
poor flesh, the poor breath, everything else ; for the 
intelligence at least it will not carry away. 

15. Does the light of the lamp shine without losing 
its splendor until it is extinguished ; and shall the 
truth which is in thee and justice and temperance be 
extinguished [before thy death] ? 

16. When a man has presented the appearance of 
having done wrong, [say], How then do I know if this 
is a wrongful act ? And even if he has done wrong, 
how do I know that he has not condemned himself ? 
and so this is like tearing his own face. Consider that 
he, who would not have the bad man do wrong, is like 
the man who would not have the fig-tree to bear juice 
in the figs, and infants to cry, and the horse to neigh, 
and whatever else must of necessity be. For what 
must a man do who has such a character ? If then 
thou art irritable, f cure this man's disposition.* 

* The interpreters translate yopyoZ by the words "acer, valid- 
usque," and " skillful." But in Epictetus (ii. 16, 20 ; iii. 12, 10) this 
word means "vehement," "prone to anger," " irritable.'' 


17. If it is not right, do not do it : if it is not true, 
do not say it. [For let thy efforts be ]* 

18. In everything always observe what the thing is 
which produces for thee an appearance, and resolve it 
by dividing it into the formal, the material, the pur- 
pose, and the time within which it must end. 

19. Perceive at last that thou hast in thee something 
better and more divine than the things which cause 
the various effects, and, as it were, pull thee by the 
strings. What is there now in my mind? is it fear, 
or suspicion, or desire, or anything of the kind ? (v. ii.) 

20. First, do nothing inconsiderately, nor without a 
purpose. Second, make thy acts refer to nothing else 
than to a social end. 

21. Consider that before long thou wilt be nobody 
and nowhere, nor will any of the things exist which 
thou now seest, nor any of those who are now living. 
For all things are formed by nature to change and be 
turned and to perish in order that other things in con- 
tinuous succession may exist (ix 28). 

22. Consider that everything is opinion, and opinion 
is in thy power. Take away then, when thou choos- 
est, thy opinion, and like a mariner, who has doubled 
the promontory, thou wilt find calm, everything stable, 
and a waveless bay. 

23. Any one activity, whatever it may be, when it 
has ceased at its proper time, suffers no evil because it 
has ceased ; nor he who has done this act, does he 
suffer any evil for this reason that the act has ceased. 
In like manner then the whole which consists of all 
the acts, which is our life, if it cease at its proper time, 
suffers no evil for this reason that it has ceased ; nor 

* There is something wrong here, or incomplete. 


he who has terminated this series at the proper time, 
has he been ill dealt with. But the proper time and 
the limit nature fixes, sometimes as in old age the 
peculiar nature of man, but always the universal 
nature, by the change of whose parts the whole uni- 
verse continues ever young and perfect. And every 
thing which is useful to the universal is always good 
and in season. Therefore the termination of life for 
every man is no evil, because neither is it shameful, 
since it is both independent of the will and not opposed 
to the general interest, but it is good, since it is sea- 
sonable and profitable to and congruent with the uni- 
versal. For thus too he is moved by the deity who is 
moved in the same manner with the deity and moved 
toward the same things in his mind. 

24. These three principles thou must have in readi- 
ness. In the things which thou doest do nothing either 
inconsiderately or otherwise than as justice hersel/ 
would act ; but with respect to what may happen to 
thee from without, consider that it happens either by 
chance or according to providence, and thou must 
neither blame chance nor accuse providence. Second, 
consider what every being is from the seed to the time 
of its receiving a soul, and from the reception of a 
soul to the giving back of the same, and of what things 
every being is compounded and into what things it is 
resolved. Third, if thou shouldst suddenly be raised 
up above the earth, and shouldst look down on human 
things, and observe the variety of them how great it 
is, and at the same time also shouldst see at a glance 
how great is the number of beings who dwell all 
around in the air and the ether, consider that as often 
as thou shouldst be raised up, thou wouldst see the 


same things, sameness of form and shortness of dura- 
tion. Are these things to be proud of? 

25. Cast away opinion : thou art saved. Who then 
hinders thee from casting it away ? 

26. When thou art troubled about anything, thou 
hast forgotten this, that all things happen according to 
the universal nature ; and forgotten this, that a man's 
wrongful act is nothing to thee ; and further thou hast 
forgotten this, that everything which happens, always 
happened so and will happen so, and now happens 
so everywhere ; forgotten this, too, how close is the 
kinship between a man and the whole human race, for 
it is a community, not of a little blood or seed, but of 
intelligence. And thou hast forgotten this too, that 
everv man's intelligence is a god, and is an efflux of the 
deity ;* and forgotten this, that nothing is a man's 
own, but that his child and his body and his very soul 
came from the deity ; forgotten this, that everything 
is opinion ; and lastly thou hast forgotten that every 
man lives the present time only, and loses only this. 

27. Constantly bring to thy recollection those who 
have complained greatly about anything, those who 
have been most conspicuous by the greatest fame or 
misfortunes or enmities or fortunes of any kind : then 
think w r here are they all now ? Smoke and ash and a 
tale, or not even a tale. And let there be present to 
thy mind also everything of this sort, how Fabius 
Catullinus lived in the country, and Lucius Lupus in his 
gardens, and Stertinius at Baiae, and Tiberius at Capreas, 
and Velius Kuf us [or Ruf us at Yelia] ; and in fine think 
of the eager pursuit of anything cojoined with pride ;J 

* See Epictetus, ii. 8, 9, etc. 
\ Epict. i. 8, 6. 


and how worthless everything is after which men 
violently strain ; and how much more philosophical it 
is for a man in the opportunities presented to him to 
show himself just, temperate, obedient to the gods, and 
to do this with all simplicity : for the pride which is 
proud of its want of pride is the most intolerable of ail. 

28. To those who ask, Where hast thou seen the gods, 
or how dost thou comprehend that they exist and so 
worshipest them, I answer, in the first place, they may 
be seen even with the eyes ;* in the second place neither 
have I seen even my own soul and yet I honor it. 
Thus then with respect to the gods, from what I con- 
stantly experience of their power, from this I compre- 
hend that they exist and I venerate them. 

29. The safety of life is this, to examine everything- 

* "Seen even with the eyes." It is supposed that this may be 
explained by the Stoic doctrine, that the universe is a god or living 
being (iv. 40), and that the celestial bodies are gods (viii. 19). But 
the emperor may mean that we know that the gods exist, as he after- 
wards states it, because we see what they do ; as we know that man 
has intellectual powers, because we see what he does, and in no other 
way do we know it. This passage then will agree with the passage 
in the Epistle to the Romans (i. v. 20), and with the Epistle to the 
Colossians (i. v. 15), in which Jesus Christ is named "the image of 
the invisible god ;" and with the passage in the Gospel of St. John 
(xiv. v. 9). 

Gataker, whose notes are a wonderful collection of learning, and 
all of it sound and good, quotes a passage of Calvin which is founded 
on St. Paul's language (Rom. 1. v. 20): "God by creating the uni- 
verse [or world, mundum], being himself invisible, has presented 
himself to our eyes conspicuously in a certain visible form." He also 
quotes Seneca (De Benef. iv. c. 8) : " Quocunque te flexeris, ibi ilium 
videbie occurrentem tibi : nihil ab illo vacat, opus suum ipse implet." 
Compare also Cicero, De Senectute (c. 22), Xenophon's Cyropsedia 
(viii. 7) and Mem. iv. 3 ; also Epictetus, i. 6, de Providentia. I think 
that my interpretation of Antoninus is right. 


all through, what it is itself, what is its material, what 
the formal part ; with all thy soul to do justice and to 
say the truth. What remains except to enjoy life by 
joining one good thing to another so as not to leave 
even the smallest intervals between. 

30. There is one light of the sun, though it is inter- 
rupted by walls, mountains, and other things infinite. 
There is one common substance,* though it is distributed 
among countless bodies which have their several 
qualities. There is one soul, though it is distributed 
among infinite natures and individual circumscriptions 
[or individuals]. There is one intelligent soul, though 
it seems to be divided. Now in the things which have 
been mentioned all the other parts, such as those which 
are air and matter, are without sensation and have no 
fellowship : and yet even these parts the intelligent 
principle holds together, and the gravitation toward 
the same. But intellect in a peculiar manner tends 
to that which is of the same kin, and combines 
with it, and the feeling for communion is not 

31. What dost thou wish? To continue to exist? 
Well, dost thou wish to have sensation ? movement ? 
growth ? and then again to cease to grow ? to use thy 
speech? to think? What is there of all these things 
which seem to thee worth desiring ? But if it is easy 
to set little value on all these things, turn to that 
which remains, which is to follow reason and god. 
But it is inconsistent with honoring reason and god to 
be troubled because by death a man will be deprived 
of the other things. 

32. How small a part of the boundless and unfath- 
*iv. 40. 


omable time is assigned to every man ? For it is very 
soon swallowed up in the eternal. And how small a 
part of the whole substance ? And how small a part 
of the universal soul ? And on what a small clod of 
the whole earth thou creepest ? Reflecting on all this 
consider nothing to be great, except to act as thy 
nature leads thee, and to endure that which the 
common nature brings. 

33. How does the ruling faculty make use of itself? 
For all lies in this. But everything else, whether it is 
in the power of thy will or not, is only lifeless ashes 
and smoke. 

34. This reflection is most adapted to move us to 
contempt of death, that even those who think pleasure 
to be a good, and pain an evil, still have despised it. 

35. The man to whom that only is good which comes 
in due season, and to whom it is the same thing 
whether he has done more or fewer acts conformable 
to right reason, and to whom it makes no difference 
whether he contemplates the world for a longer or a 
shorter time for this man neither is death a terrible 
thing (iii. 7 ; vi. 23 ; x. 20 ; xii. 23). 

36. Man, thou hast been a citizen in this great state 
[the world] : * what difference does it make to thee 
whether for five years [or three] ? For that which is 
conformable to the laws is just for all. Where is the 
hardship then, if no tyrant nor yet an unjust judge 
sends thee away from the state, but nature who 
brought thee into it? The same as if a praetor who 
has employed an actor dismisses him from the stage.* 
" But I have not finished the five acts, but only three 

*ii. 16; iii. 11: iv. 29. 
*iii. 8; xi. 1. 


of them." Thou sayest well, but in life the three acts 
are the whole drama ; for what shall be a complete 
drama is determined by him who was once the cause 
of its composition, and now of its dissolution : but thou 
art the cause of neither. Depart then satisfied, for he 
also who releases thee is satisfied. 


** The paragraphs (par.) and lines (1.) are those of the sections. 

Active, man is by nature, is. 16. 

Advice from the good to be taken, vi. 21; viii. 16. 

Affectation, vii. 60; viii. 30; xi. 18 (par. 9), 19. 

Anger discouraged, vi. 26, 27; xi. 18. 

Anger, offenses of, ii. 10. 

Anger, uselessness of, v. 28; viii. 4. 

Appearances not to be regarded, v. 36; vi. 3, 13. 

Astonishment should not be felt at anything that happens, viii. 15; 

xii. 1, 13. 
Attainment, what is within everyone's, vii. 67; viii, 8. 
Attention to what is said or done, vi. 53; vii. 4, 30; viii. 22. 

Bad, the, ii. 1. 
Beautiful, the, ii. 1. 

Causal. See Formal. 

Change keeps the world ever new, vii. 25; viii. 50(1. 13); xii. 23 (1. 13). 

Change, law of, iv. 3, 36; v. 13, 23; vi. 4, 15, 36; vii. 18; viii. 6; ix. 

19, 28 (par. 2), 35; x. 7; xii. 21. 
Change, no evil in, iv. 42. 
Christians, the, xi. 3. 
Circle, things come round in a, ii. 14. 
Comedy, new, xi. 6. 
Comedy, old, xi. 6. 

Complaining, uselessness of, viii. 17, 50. 
Connection. See Universe. 
Conquerors are robbers, x. 10. 
Contentment. See Resignation. 
Co-operation. See Mankind and Universe. 

300 INDEX. 

Demon, the, ii. 13, 17; iii. 6 (1. 8). 7, 16 (1. 14); v. 10, 27; xii. 3. 
Death, ii. 11, 12, 17; iii. 3, 7; iv. 5; v. 33; vi. 2, 24, 28; vii. 32; viiL 

20, 58; ix. 3, 21; x. 36; xii. 23, 34, 35. 
Death inevitable, iii. 3; iv. 3 (1. 19), 6, 32, 48, 50; v. 33; vi. 47; viii. 

25, 31. 
Desire, offenses of, ii. 10. 

Destiny, iii. 11 (1. 23); iv. 26; v. 8 (1. 10, etc.), 24; vii. 57; x. 5. 
Discontent. See Resignation. 

Doubts discussed, vi. 10; vii. 75; ix. 28, 39; xii. 5, 14. 
Duty, aii importance of, vi. 2, 22; x. 22. 

Earth, insignificance of the, iii. 10; iv. 3 (par. 2); vi. 36; viii. 21; xii. 32. 
Earthly things, transitory nature of, ii. 12, 17; iv. 32, 33, 35, 48; v. 

23; vi. 15, 36; vii. 21, 34; viii. 21, 25; x. 18, 31; xii. 27. 
Earthly things, worthlessness of, ii. 12; v. 10; 33; vi. 15; vii. 3; ix. 

24, 36; xi. 2; xii. 27. 
Equanimity, x. 8. 

Example, we should not follow bad, vi. 6; vii. 65. 
Existence, meanness of, viii. 24. 
Existence, the object of, v. 1; viii. 19. 
External things cannot really harm a man, or affect the soul, ii. 11 

(1, 12); iv. 3, 8, 39, 49 (par. 2); v. 35; vii. 64; viii. 1, 32, 51 (par. 2); 

ix. 31; x. 33. 

Failure, x. 12. 

Fame, worthlessness of, iii. 10; iv. 3 (1. 38), 19, 33 (1. 10); v. 33; vi. 

16, 18; viii. 34; viii. 1, 44; ix. 30. 
Fear, what we ought to, xii. 1 (1. 19). 
Fellowship. See Mankind. 
Few things necessary for a virtuous and happy life, ii. 5; iii. 10; vii. 

67; x. 8 (1. 24). 
Flattery, xi. 18 (par. 10). 
Formal, the, and the material, iv. 21 (par. 2); v. 13; vii. 10, 29; viii. 

11; ix. 25; xii. 8, 10, 18. 
Future, we should not be anxious about the, vii. 8; viii. 36; xii. 1. 

Gods, perfect justice of the, xii. 5 (par. 2). 
Gods, the, vi. 44; xii. 28. 
Gods, the, cannot be evil, ii. 11; vi. 44. 
Good, the, ii. 1. 

INDEX. 301 

Habit of thought, v. 16. 

Happiness, what is true, v. 9, 34; viii. 1; x. 33. 
Help to be accepted from others, vii. 7. 
Heroism, true, xi. 18 (par. 10). 

Ignorance. See Wrong-doing. 

Independence. See Self-reliance. 

Indifferent things, ii. 11; iv. 39; vi. 32; ix. 1 (1. 29). 

Individual, the. See Interests. 

Infinity. See Time. 

Ingratitude. See Mankind. 

Injustice, ix. 1. 

Intelligent soul, rational beings participate in the same, iv. 40; ix. 8, 

9; x. 1 (1. 15); xii. 26, 30. 
Interests of the whole and the individual identical, iv. 23; v. 8 (1. 80); 

vi. 45, 54; x. 6, 20, 33; xii. 23 (1. 13). 

Justice, v. 34; x. 11; xi. 10. 
Justice and reason identical, xi. 1. 
Justice prevails everywhere, iv. 10. 

Leisure, we ought to have some, viii. 51. 

Life, a good, everywhere possible, v. 16. 

Life can only be lived once, ii. 14; x. 31 (1. 10). 

Life, shortness of, ii. 4, 17; iii. 10, 14; iv. 17, 48, 60; vi. 15, 36, 56; x. 

Life to be made a proper use of, without delay, ii. 4; iii. 1, 14; iv. 17, 

37; vii. 56; viii. 22; x. 31 (1. 15); xii. 1 (1. 15). 
Life, whether long or short, matters not, vi. 49; ix. 33; xii. 36. 

Magnanimity, x. 8. 

Mankind, co-operation and fellowship of , one with another, ii. 1 (1. 12), 

16; iii. 4, 11; iv. 4, 33; v. 16 (1. 13), 20; vi. 7, 14, 23, 39; vii. 5, 13, 

22, 55; viii. 12, 26, 34, 43, 59; ix. 1, 9, 23, 31, 42; x. 36 (1. 13); xi. 

8, 21; xii. 20. 
Mankind, folly and baseness of, v. 10 (1. 10); ix. 2, 3 (1. 15), 29; x. 15, 

Mankind, ingratitude of, x. 36. 
Material, the. See Formal. 

Nature, after products of, iii. 2; vi. 36. 

302 INDEX. 

Nature, bounds fixed by, v. 1. 

Nature, man formed by, to bear all that happens to him, v. 18; 
viii. 46. 

Nature, nothing evil, which is according to, ii. 17; vi. 33. 

Nature of the universe. See Universe, nothing that happens is con- 
trary to the nature of the. 

Nature, perfect beauty of, iii. 2; vi. 36. 

Nature, we should live according to, iv. 48, 51; v. 3, 25; vi. 16 (1. 14); 
vii. 15, 55; viii. 1, 54; x. 33. 

New, nothing under the sun, ii. 14 (1. 12); iv. 44; vi. 37, 46; vii. 1, 
49; viii. 6; ix. 14; x. 27; xi. 1. 

Object, we should always act with a view to some, ii. 7, 16 (1. 16); iii. 

4; iv. 2; viii. 17; x. 37; xi. 21; xii, 20. 
Obsolete, all things become, iv. 33. 
Omission, sins of, ix. 5. 
Opinion, iv. 3, 7, 12, 39; vi. 52, 57; vii. 2, 14, 16, 26, 68; viii. 14, 29, 

40, 47, 49, ix. 13, 29 (1. 10), 32, 42 (1. 22); x. 3; xi. 16, 18; xii. 

22, 25. 
Others' conduct not to be inquired into, iii. 4; iv. 18; v. 25. 
Others, opinion of, to be disregarded, viii. 1 (1. 10); x. 8 (1. 13), 11; xi. 

13; xii. 4. 
Others, we should be lenient toward, ii. 13; iii. 11; iv. 3(1. 19); v. 

33 (1. 19); vi. 20, 27; vii. 26, 62, 63, 70; ix. 11, 27; x. 4; xi. 9, 13, 18; 

xii. 16. 
Others, we should examine the ruling principles of, iv. 38; ix. 18, 22, 

27, 34. 
Ourselves often to blame, for expecting men to act contrary to their 

nature, ix. 42 (1. 26). 
Ourselves, reformation should begin with, xi. 29. 
Ourselves, we should judge, x. 30; xi. 18 (par. 4). 

Pain, vii. 33, 64; viii. 28. 

Perfection not to be expected in this world, ix. 29 (1. 8). 

Perseverance, v. 9; x. 12. 

Persuasion, to be used, vi. 50. 

Perturbation, vi. 16; vii. 58; ix. 31. 

Pessimism, ix. 35. 

Philosophy, v. 9; vi. 12; ix. 41 (1. 13). 

Pleasure, he who pursues, is guilty of impiety, ix. 1 (1. 21). 

INDEX. 303 

Pleasures are enjoyed by the bad, vi. 34; ix. 1 (L 25). 

Power, things in our own, v. 5, 10; vi. 32, 41, 52, 58; vii. 2, 14, 54, 

68; x. 32, 33. 
Power, things not in our own, v. 33; vi. 41. 
Practice is good, even in things which we despair of accomplishing, 

iii. 6. 
Praise, worthlessness of, iii. 4; iv. 20; vi. 16, 59; vii. 62; viii. 52, 53; 

ix. 34. 
Prayer, the right sort of, v. 7; ix. 40. 
Present time the only thing a man really possesses, ii. 14; iii. 10; viiL 

44; xii. 3. 
Procrastination. See Life to be made a proper use of, etc. 
Puppet pulled by strings of desire, ii. 2; iii. 16; vi. 16, 28; vii. 3, 29; 

xii. 19. 

Rational soul. See Ruling part. 

Rational soul, spherical form of the, viii. 41; xi. 12; xii. 3 (and see 

Ruling part). 
Reason, all-prevailing, v. 32; vi. 1, 40. 
Reason and nature identical, vii. 11. 
Reason, the, can adapt everything that happens to its own use, v. 20; 

vi. 8; vii. 68 (1. 14); viii. 35; x. 31. 
Reason, we should live according to. See Nature. 
Repentance does not follow renouncement of pleasure, viii. 10. 
designation and contentment, iii. 4 (1. 23, etc.), 16 (1. 11, etc.); iv. 23, 

31, 33, 34; v. 8, 33 (1. 14); vi. 16, 44, 49; vii. 27, 57; ix. 37; x. 1, 11, 

14, 25, 28, 35. 
Revenge, best kind of, vi. 6. 
Rising from bed, v. 1; viii. 12. 
Ruling part, the, ii. 2; iv. 1; v. 11, 19, 21, 26; vi. 14, 35; vii. 16, 55 

(par. 2); viii. 45, 48, 56, 57, 60, 61; ix. 15, 26; x. 24, 33 (1. 17), 38; 

xi. 1, 19, 20; xii. 3, 14. 

Self reliance and steadfastness of soul, iii. 5, 12; iv. 11, 29 (1. 3), 49 

(par. 1); v. 3, 34 (1. 3); vi. 44 (1. 17); vii. 12, 15; ix. 28 (1. 8), 29; xii. 

Self-restraint, v. 33. 
Self, we should retire into, iv. 3 (1. 6 and par. 2); vii. 28, 33, 59; viii. 

Senses, movements of the, to be disregarded, v. 31 (1. 10); vii. 55 (par. 

2); viii. 26, 39; x. 8 (1. 17); xi. 19; xii. 1 (1. 12). 

304 INDEX. 

Sickness, behavior in, ix. 41. 

Social. See Mankind. 

Steadfastness of soul. See Self-reliance. 

Substance, tbe universal, iv. 40; v. 24; vii. 19, 23; xii. 7, 80 . 

Suicide, v. 29; viii. 47; x. 8 (1. 27). 

Time compared to a river, iv. 43. 

Time, infinity of, iv. 3 (1. 38), 50; v. 24; ix. 32; xii. 7, 32. 

Tragedy, xi. 6. 

Tranquillity of soul, iv. 3; vi. 11; vii. 68; viii. 28. 

Ugly, tbe, ii. 1. 

Unintelligible tbings, v. 10. 

Universe, harmony of tbe, iv. 27, 45; v. 8 (1. 15). 

Universe, intimate connection and co operation of all things in the, 

one with another, ii. 3, 9; iv. 29; v. 8, 30; vi. 38, 42, 43; vii. 9, 19, 

68; viii. 7; ix. 1; x. 1. 
Cniverse, notbing that dies falls out of the, viii, 18, 50 (1. 11); x. 7 (1. 

Universe, nothing that happens is contrary to the nature of the, v. 

8, 10; vi. 9, 58; viii. 5; xii. 26. 
Unnecessary tbings, v. 15. 
Unnecessary thoughts, words and actions, iii. 4; iv. 24. 

Vain professions, x. 16; xi. 15. 

Virtue, vi. 17. 

Virtue its own reward, v. 6; vii. 73; ix. 42 (1. 40); xi. 4. 

Virtue, omnipotence of, iv. 16. 

Virtue, pleasure in contemplating, vi. 48. 

Whole, integrity of tbe, to be preserved, v. 8. 

Wbole, tbe. See Interests. 

Wickedness has always existed, vii. 1. 

Wickedness must exist in the world, viii. 15, 50; ix. 42; xi. 18 (par. 

11); xii. 16. 
Worst evil, the, ix. 2 (1. 8). 
Worth and importance, things of real, iv. 33; v. 10 (1. 17); vi. 16, 30 

(1. 3). 47; vii. 20, 44, 46, 58, 66; viii. 2, 3, 5; ix. 6, 12; x. 8 (1. 24), 

11; xii. 1, 27, 81, 33. 

INDEX. 305 

Wrong-doing cannot really harm any one, vii. 22; viii. 55; ix. 42(1. 20); 

x. 13 (par. 1); xi. 18 (par. 7). 
Wrong-doing injures the wrong-doer, iv. 26; ix. 4, 38; xi. 18 (par. 3). 
Wrong-doii:g owing to ignorance, ii. 1, 13; vi. 27; vii. 22, 26, 62, 63; 

xi. 18; xii. 12. 
Wrong-doing to be left where it is, vii. 29; ix. 20. 








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