Week 20: Thursday, March 9, 2017
Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus;26 April 121 AD to March 180 AD) was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East; Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, with the threat of the Germanic tribes beginning to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately. Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

READING:

Michael Grant, History of Rome, Part VIII, Chapter 17, “Collapse and Recovery”

READING MARCUS AURELIUS:

From the Introduction by Christopher Gill for the Oxford Classics edition:

“The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius is a work without parallel among writings surviving from Classical antiquity and an exceptional work in any age and culture. It is the philosophical diary of a Roman emperor, probably written while he was campaigning in Germany near the end of his life. In short, intense, and often powerful reflections, Marcus tries to articulate his core beliefs and values.”

REQUIRED READING

Marcus Aurelius,

Meditations: with selected correspondence,

Robin Hard, Christopher Gill,

Oxford University Press, USA (September 25, 2011),

ISBN 0199573204

Spring Break (2 weeks)
Monday March 13,to March 24, 2017

Vacation

No class during week of March 13 and Mar 20

Spring Quarter begins Thurs.Mar. 30, 2017.