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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

“Look within. Within is the fountain of the good, and it will ever bubble up, if you will ever dig.” - Marcus AureliusThe Meditations, 7.59

I am thrilled to tell you that we have reached the summit of Mount Marcus at last and the book is now available in the shop!

What began as an idle desire to add some philosophy to the line of illustrations ended with an intense reading and re-reading of his journals. It has been over a year since that first illustration, and I have come to appreciate this extraordinary thinker so much. I think you will too, and this edition is my best effort at making that experience as immediate, satisfying and aesthetically enjoyable for you as possible.

 

ABOUT THIS EDITION

If “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is an iron rule of governance, then Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was undoubtedly the exception. The collection of journals which we now call The Meditations contains 485 passages written over the course of Aurelius’ extraordinary nineteen-year reign.
While each one is worth reading (simply because such a remarkable man saw fit to write them down), the fact that they are personal journal entries necessarily means that the content is disjointed, sometimes redundant, and devoid of any narrative structure to assist the reader. This illustrated pocket edition of The Meditations seeks to address these.

To provide a clearer narrative and to help focus its concepts, the number of passages are reduced to a quarter of the original count, and the remaining passages are reorganized into twelve chapters, each focusing on an essential Stoic principle.

The text is compiled from several translations (Long, Farquharson, Casaubon, Haines, Collier), and thoughtfully edited for better readability.

Finally, this edition contains twelve illustrated passages, one per chapter, to better illuminate their meaning and to provide an aesthetic element to compliment the work.

Here, Aurelius might point out that the “technical inventiveness” of art will forever fall short of nature, and I won’t protest. But to quote another passage, I would humbly reply that I am bound to “love the art, poor as it may be, which [I] have learned,” I hope you do as well.

As you read through these passages, you may find Aurelius to be unfashionably preoccupied with personal responsibility. It is helpful to remember that this was his journal, and as such, the intended target of his merciless critiques is always himself. The Meditations is not an outward-facing political treatise, but a deeply personal calling to discover what a well-disciplined mind can accomplish in the face of adversity.

If this edition helps you to find the “flow from that other world” of Stoicism, it will have achieved its goal, and I encourage you to read the complete work next, but most importantly, as Aurelius urges us, to “ever dig.”



About the Book

“This edition combines excerpts from Aurelius' timeless philosophical masterpiece with provocative illustrations and bold typography for a unique, immersive reading experience. Where other hyper-intellectual philosophers spin their wheels about truth and clutch their pearls about meaning, Aurelius just gets the job done.”

Art by Evan Robertson. All rights reserved.