Marcus Aurelius Quotes That Will Change Your Perspective on Life
Marcus Aurelius Quotes & Biography: Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Lucius Verus until 169 and then with his son, Commodus, from 177. His family was originally from Ucubi, Baetica. His great-grandfather was a senator and ex-praetor. His grandfather was a patrician. He was born on April 26, 121 AD to Marcus Annius Verus (III) and Domitia Lucilla.
Aurelius was only three years old when his father died and his mother did not remarry. Aurelius barely remembered his father as he was very young at that time but he has mentioned it in his Meditations that he had learned modesty and manliness from the memories of his father and the reputation that he had created.
He was raised by his grandfather and maternal grandfather, Lucius Catilius Severus. Lucius was probably his mother’s stepfather. Aurelius has also mentioned in his Meditations that he is thankful to his grandfather for teaching him good character and avoidance of bad temper. He was taught at home.
In late 136, Hadrian, the reigning emperor at that time was on his death bed and had no child. Hadrian selected Lucius Ceionius Commodus, the intended father-in-law of Marcus, as his successor but Lucius died due to bad health. Later on, Hadrian chose Aurelius Antonius, husband of Marcus’ aunt, as his new successor. Hadrian wanted Antonius to adopt Marcus and Lucius Verus, the son of Lucius Aelius. After adoption, Aurelius became M. Aelius Aurelius Verus and Lucius became L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus. In 139, Marcus became Princeps Juventus, the head of the equestrian order, and took the new name Caesar: Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar. He did his training in oratory and had three tutors in Greek and one in Latin.
He practiced Stoicism and his writings were called Meditations in which he has mentioned his philosophies, learning, and ideas. His writings are a great source of understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy and are considered to be the greatest works of philosophy. He fought several major battles during his reign and Roman Empire defeated major Empires like Parthian Empire in the East when Avidius Cassius, Aurelius’ general, sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. Aurelius also fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars in central Europe. The end of Pax Romana was considered after his death in 180 and has been seen as the beginning of the eventual fall of the Western Roman Empire. He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors” of the Roman Empire.
“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius
“You don’t have to turn this into something. It doesn’t have to upset you.” – Marcus Aurelius
“To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.” – Marcus Aurelius
“It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Because most of what we say and do is not essential. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?”” – Marcus Aurelius
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius
“It’s unfortunate that this has happened. No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed.” – Marcus Aurelius
“You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.” – Marcus Aurelius
“If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius
“It’s all in how you perceive it. You’re in control. You can dispense with misperception at will, like rounding the point.” – Marcus Aurelius
“It’s a disgrace in this life when the soul surrenders first while the body refuses to.” – Marcus Aurelius
“The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.” – Marcus Aurelius
“You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Take a good hard look at people’s ruling principle, especially of the wise, what they run away from & what they seek out.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Accept the things to which fate binds you and love the people with whom fate brings you together but do so with all your heart.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Dig deep within yourself, for there is a fountain of goodness ever ready to flow if you will keep digging.”—Marcus Aurelius