Christopher Gill provides a new translation and commentary on the first half of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, and a full introduction to the Meditations as a whole. The Meditations constitute a unique and remarkable work, a reflective diary or notebook by a Roman emperor, that is based on Stoic philosophy but presented in a highly distinctive way. Gill focuses on the philosophical content of the work, especially the question of how far it is consistent with Stoic theory as we know this from other sources. He argues that the Meditations are largely consistent with Stoic theory--more than has been often supposed. The work draws closely on core themes in Stoic ethics and also reflects Stoic thinking on the links between ethics and psychology or the study of nature. To make sense of the Meditations, it is crucial to take into account its overall aim, which seems to be to help Marcus himself take forward his own ethical development by creating occasions for reflection on key Stoic themes that can help to guide his life.
This new edition will help students and scholars of ancient philosophy make sense of a work whose intellectual content and status have often been found puzzling. Along with volumes in the Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers series on Epictetus and Seneca, it will help to chart the history of Stoic philosophy in the first and second century AD. The translation is designed to be accessible to modern readers and all Greek and Latin are translated in the introduction and commentary.