Marcus Aurelius roman emperor Meditations


The Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote 12 books which were all in the form of meditations. The books were all written to his self, as he addressed all of them to himself. As he was a priest, an eager patriot, as well as, of logical mind all of these books reflected all that he was from spirituality to patriotism, to philosophy and logic. This paper will, hence, look critically at his second book and look at how passage two relates with the themes of the whole of the book, the rest of the work and the historical context of the author.

In passage two of the second book, the author describes himself in three main words; a little breath, a little flesh, and a Reason to rule.  He argues in this passage that when one is about to die, one should never be bothered about the flesh or the breath. He says the breath is nothing but a whiff of wind that is not the same as the original wind or air; as every time it is drawn in and out, becomes new. The Reason to rule, however, is given more importance. The author tells himself that he must concentrate to this third thing. He tells himself that now that he is older, he must never let the Reason to rule make him a slave, nor make him a puppet, which the reason controls by tagging at its strings. He also advises himself that now that he is old, he must stop to be angry at destiny by lamenting about tomorrow or grumbling about today.

This passage displays the same wisdom displayed by the other passages. The passage has numerous similarities with the other passages in the book. It displays that the author was indeed logical just like the other passages and the whole of the text too. The passage also displays wisdom. The author seems to have had a lot of wisdom from the way he writes these passages. For example he says in passage one that he and his brother where put in this world to work together, and that they are like the organs of the body without which, no one can function properly. His wisdom is further displayed in passage two where he argues that nothing is more important in a leader than having an appropriate reason to rule. The author displays his wisdom and leadership in each one of these passages.

Another theme that is evident in this passage and the rest of the text is the theme of patriotism, loyalty and submission. The author indicates in the second passage that a ruler must not let hid reason to rule be for self – interests or personal gain. He indicates that one must accept his fate or destiny without grumbling. This theme is displayed in other parts of the book and the rest of his text.  Spirituality is another theme that is subtly present in the passage. The author sees no reason why an individual should rule and lead people for some personal gain. In passage one; he indicates that people should never obstruct each other, and that they must work together as one. These are the teachings that are commonly found within most religious denominations, and the author displays them a lot in text.

The other thing that becomes evident in the passage is that the author valued self realization a lot. He wrote all these passages to himself to teach himself several things in spirituality, and philosophy. This is an indication that the author really wanted to find himself and improve himself to a better man, ruler, and patriot. These texts can be extremely beneficial for any individual who might want to grow positively.



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