Marcus Aurelius Anotninus

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“Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish…Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also…Begin – to begin is half the work, left half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished…The Universe is governed by reason, which is God.”
– Anotninus

b. 121 CE – d. 180 CE

Roman emperor and stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius Anotoninus, was an educated and undisputed master of the empire during his reign in history. He was taught, not at school, but by tutors, Heerodes Atticus and M. Cornelius Fronto in the usual curriculum of rhetoric and poetry. However, at the age of eleven, he became acquainted with philosopher, Diognetus. Marcus Aurelius was fascinated by Diognetus’s teachings, leading him to ultimately abandon rhetoric and poetry for philosophy and law. This change of path led Marcus Aurelius to reign the Roman society and charge the atmosphere with the popular Greek philosophy to which, ethics apart, Christianity was diametrically opposed. Additionally, Marcus Aurelius wrote the Meditations which are described as a combination of intellectual memoirs and a series of admonitions addressed by the author to himself on how he should conduct himself throughout life. While the morality of Marcus Aurelius cannot be said to have been new when it was given to the world, its charm lies in its exquisite accent and its infinite tenderness. But above all, what gives the sentences of Marcus Aurelius their enduring value and fascination, and renders them superior to the utterances of Epictetus and Seneca, is that they are the gospel of his life.