Marcus Aurelius was born in Rome in 121 AD and would become its Emperor from 161 to 180. Considered by Machiavelli as the last of the good Emperors, Marcus Aurelius would become one of the most important of the Stoic philosophers.
The "Meditations," which he wrote in Greek, are among the most noteworthy expressions of this system, and exhibit it favorably on its practical side. The work is a series of twelve books that he intended for his own guidance and self-improvement, which picture with faithfulness the mind and character of this noblest of the Emperors. Simple in style and sincere in tone, they record for all time the height reached by pagan aspiration in its effort to solve the problem of conduct.
"When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they do not know how to tell good from evil. But I... have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own." This and other useful affirmations from the second century Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius have been retranslated for the first time in 35 years by Hays, classics professor at the University of Virginia. He includes an introduction that sketches the life of Aurelius and also summarizes the principles of Stoicism.