Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor and philosopher who left behind a wealth of wisdom in his writings. Here are some of the best Marcus Aurelius quotes that offer insight into life, happiness, and inner peace.
Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor who ruled from 161 to 180 AD. He was known for his philosophy of Stoicism, which emphasized the importance of self-control, reason, and virtue. His writings, known as the Meditations, are considered one of the greatest works of philosophy in the Western tradition.
Marcus Aurelius was born in 121 AD in Rome to a wealthy and influential family. He was educated by some of the most prominent philosophers of his time and was trained in the art of rhetoric and public speaking. At the age of 17, he was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius, who later made him his successor.
During his reign as emperor, Marcus Aurelius was known for his military campaigns against the Parthians and Germanic tribes. He also oversaw many public works projects, including the construction of roads and aqueducts, and he worked to improve the administration of justice.
Despite his many accomplishments as emperor, Marcus Aurelius is perhaps best known for his philosophy of Stoicism. He believed that individuals should focus on developing their inner strength and character, rather than seeking external rewards or pleasures. He emphasized the importance of reason and rationality in making decisions, and he believed that individuals should strive to live virtuous lives in accordance with nature.
The Meditations, Marcus Aurelius’s collection of personal writings, reflect these beliefs and provide insight into his inner thoughts and struggles. The work is divided into 12 books and covers a wide range of topics, from the nature of the universe to the importance of humility and gratitude.
Marcus Aurelius died in 180 AD while on a military campaign in the Danube region. He was succeeded by his son, Commodus, who was known for his cruelty and incompetence. Despite the shortcomings of his successor, Marcus Aurelius is remembered as one of the greatest Roman emperors and philosophers of all time.
Best Marcus Aurelius Quotes
1. Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
2. You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
3. Nothing happens to anyone that he can’t endure.
4. Be content with what you are, and wish not to change; nor dread your last day, nor long for it.
5. Receive without pride, let go without attachment.
6. For God’s sake, stop honoring externals, quit turning yourself into the tool of mere matter, or of people who can supply you or deny you those material things.
7. Almost nothing material is needed for a happy life, for he who has understood existence.
8. Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already.
9. Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside.
10. Each of us needs what nature gives us when nature gives it.
11. If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.
12. Treat whatever happens as wholly natural; not novel or hard to deal with; but familiar and easily handled.
13. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
14. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
15. Being attached to many things, we are weighed down and dragged along with them.
16. No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good.
17. Objective judgment, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance – now at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.
18. You can discard most of the junk that clutters your mind – things that exist only there – and clear out space for yourself.
19. Don’t hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen: this is the path to peace.
20. To live the good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.
21. Nothing happens to anyone that he can’t endure.
22. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
23. A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.
24. Stop allowing your mind to be a slave, to be jerked about by selfish impulses, to kick against fate and the present, and to mistrust the future.
25. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.
26. To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.
27. Show me one person who cares how they act, someone for whom success is less important than the manner in which it is achieved. While out walking, who gives any thought to the act of walking itself? Who pays attention to the process of planning, not just the outcome?
28. Concentrate every minute like a Roman — like a man — on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions.
29. This is the mark of a perfect character – to pass through each day as though it were the last, without agitation, without torpor, and without pretense.
30. Labor willingly and diligently, undistracted and aware of the common interest.
31. This is the mark of perfection of character — to spend each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, laziness, or any pretending.
32. Discard your misperceptions. Stop being jerked like a puppet. Limit yourself to the present.
33. Objective judgment, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance – now at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.
34. You can discard most of the junk that clutters your mind – things that exist only there – and clear out space for yourself.
35. Don’t hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen: this is the path to peace.
36. Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.