A powerful and accessible translation of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, an essential book on character, leadership, and how to live a fulfilling life.
Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the incalculable wealth and absolute power that had corrupted many of his predecessors. He knew the secret of how to live the good life amid trying and often catastrophic circumstances, of how to find happiness and peace when surrounded by misery and turmoil, and of how to choose the harder right over the easier wrong without regard for self-interest.
The Emperor’s Handbook offers a vivid and fresh translation of this important piece of ancient literature. It brings Marcus’s words to life and shows his wisdom to be as relevant today as it was in the second century. This book speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever faced adversity or believed in a better day.
Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 AD. Born to an upper-class Roman family in 121, Aurelius was adopted by his uncle, the emperor Antoninus Pius, in 138. Aurelius studied Greek and Latin literature, philosophy, and law, and was especially influenced by the Stoic thinker Epictetus. After Pius’s death, Aurelius succeeded the throne alongside his adoptive brother, Lucius Verus. His reign was marked by plague, numerous military conflicts, and the deaths of friends and family—including Lucius Verus in 169. Despite these struggles, the Empire flourished under Marcus’s rule as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an era from 27 to 180 of relative peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire. Aurelius wrote his Meditations as spiritual exercises never intended for publication, and died at fifty-eight while on campaign against the Germanic tribes.
“A must read for business leaders. This is a fantastic achievement.” —Steve Forbes
“This new, accessible translation by Scot and David Hicks of the emperor's famous Stoic handbook reflects far better the flavor of Marcus Aurelius's own style. Americans should read Marcus – and this new edition now makes it a joy.” —Victor Davis Hanson, Emeritus Professor of Classics at California State University
“Timeless, magnificent, simple: the essential book on character, leadership, duty. No translation does the Emperor's Meditations better or nobler justice.” —Josiah Bunting II Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute
“The Meditations is a work I disliked for its flaccid piety and self-concern from the time I read it years ago. But a look for curiosity's sake into this new translation has led me to read it all with genuine pleasure. The philosophical observations are the same but the tone is manly and there is a subtle and agreeable variety as the subject changes from self to the world and to the gods.” —Jacques Barzun, author of From Dawn to Decadence
“The wisdom contained in this handbook has been admired through the ages. The Hicks brothers' excellently clear translation happily now makes it accessible.” —Donald Kagan Hillhouse, Former Professor of History and Classics at Yale University
“David and Scot Hicks have endowed serious readers with a marvelous new translation of a text that still challenges any society that hopes to understand what it means to be civilized.” —Kenneth L. Woodward author of The Book of Miracles