Your eBook of Marcus Aurelius in the Roman Histories
Download our exclusive free edition of the Stoic emperor's ancient biographies
If you’re a paid subscriber, you will be able to download and share with your friends. This is a five-page eBook, called Marcus Aurelius in the Roman Histories, including a carefully edited and formatted selection from the ancient biographies.
Great writing, good detail, interesting fact and written with clear passion and interest. Thank you. — Kim Koskinen
I've had the whole text cleaned up and edited to make it easier for modern readers. You can download the EPUB or PDF files free of charge and read them on any device using an e-reading app like Google Play Books, Apple Books, Calibre, or Adobe. NB: PDF is better for printing; EPUB is better for e-readers. Leave your comments below. Enjoy!
This summary e-book is quite a bit of history compiled together. Marcus had a complex life with many issues to deal with. It is a wonder that he developed such inner calm and serenity. — James D. Joslin
There are several excellent modern biographies of Marcus Aurelius available. However, most of the material they draw upon can be found in a handful of ancient histories, which are relatively brief and fairly easy to read. This e-book brings together the main sources for the life of Marcus Aurelius in a new edition, specially designed to be read online or on mobile devices. The chapters included are small excerpts, containing the passages most relevant to the reign of Marcus Aurelius, from the following three histories.
The History of the Empire from the Death of Marcus by Herodian of Antioch, a minor Roman official who witnessed the reign of Commodus first-hand.
The Roman History (Historia Romana) of Cassius Dio, who served as a senator under Commodus. I’ve also included Cassius Dio’s chapter on the life of Commodus as an appendix, as it provides a valuable addition to the writings that more directly address the reign of his father, Marcus Aurelius.
The Augustan History (Historia Augusta) is a collection of biographical chapters, attributed to four different authors. In addition to the chapters on Marcus Aurelius I’ve also included those on his co-emperor Lucius Verus and the usurper Avidius Cassius as they pertain directly to the relationship between these men and Marcus.
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My Favourite Quotation
[Marcus Aurelius] was concerned with all aspects of excellence, and in his love of ancient literature he was second to no man, Roman or Greek; this is evident from all his sayings and writings which have come down to us. To his subjects he revealed himself as a mild and moderate emperor; he gave audience to those who asked for it and forbade his bodyguard to drive off those who happened to meet him. Alone of the emperors, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life. His reign thus produced a very large number of intelligent men, for subjects like to imitate the example set by their ruler.
Many capable men have already recorded the courageous and moderate enterprises, marked by both political and military excellence, which he undertook against the barbarian nations to the North and in the East; but the events which, after the death of Marcus, I saw and heard in my lifetime – things of which I had personal experience in my imperial or civil service – these I have recorded. — Herodian
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