This article describes the triumphs that former Roman emperor Marcus Aurelus encountered; throughout his reign in power.

Essay by yaseenHigh School, 11th grade January 2004

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Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was born 121 ce to an aristocratic Roman family before becoming the adopted heir to Emperor Antoninus Pius in 139. Marcus Aurelius took over the throne in 161 AD and his reign lasted for about 19 years until his evil son commodus killed after finding out his fathers intentions of leaving the to a military general. It is often said that Marcus is the only true philosopher king in the history of the world. He was not an original nor a systematic philosopher, but in his meditations, a series of notes to himself, he formulated his pantheist Stoic beliefs with a passionate religious conviction. He shared the basic Stoic belief in the divinity of the cosmos as an intelligent being with a soul, and stressed (perhaps too fatalistically) the harmony of all things and the importance of resigning oneself to whatever happened. Marcus Aurelius seems to have been a good and conscientious ruler who was magnanimous towards his enemies.

He banned informers, stamped down hard on corruption, and freed slaves at every opportunity. Although he tolerated the circus, he ordered gladiators to fight with blunted points. Needing extra funds for his wars in Eastern Europe, he refused to raise taxes but instead held a public auction of his own golden tableware and of his wife's silk and gold embroidered dresses. The Meditations were written day by day, in every situation including war. They often appear to be responses to the stress of supreme power, from the imminent fear of death in battle, to the trials of everyday life. With hindsight Marcus' greatest omission was that he did not impose Stoicism as the imperial religion, with as much rigour as Theodosius later imposed Christianity. Had he done so, the history of the world might have turned out very...