Birthplace: Ancient Rome
Best known as: The Roman emperor who wrote Meditations
Marcus Aurelius was the Roman emperor who wrote Meditations, a classic text of philosophy and history. Born into privilege, he was adopted by Roman emperor Antoninus Pius and succeeded him in 161. Marcus ruled with his adoptive brother, Lucius Verus until 169, when Lucius died. As sole ruler, Marcus spent most of his reign warring with rebellious Parthians, Germans and Britons on the empire's frontier. He was known to be a humane ruler, despite his brutal persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ. While on campaign he wrote aphorisms and reflections for self guidance. Translated and published since the 17th century, his Meditations reveal a contemplative and insightful nature influenced by the Stoics of Greece.
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