This definitive annotated translation of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations is an insightful look into the mind of Ancient Rome's sixteenth emperor.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 CE) was the sixteenth emperor of Rome—and by far the most powerful man in the world. Yet he was also an intensely private person, with a rich interior life and one of the wisest minds of his generation. He collected his thoughts in notebooks, gems that have come to be called his Meditations. Never intended for publication, the work has proved an inexhaustible source of wisdom and one of the most important Stoic texts of all time. In often passionate language, the entries range from one-line aphorisms to essays, from profundity to bitterness. This annotated edition offers the definitive translation of this classic and much beloved text, with copious notes from world-renowned classics expert Robin Waterfield. It illuminates one of the greatest works of popular philosophy for new readers and enriches the understanding of even the most devoted Stoic.
About the Author
Robin Waterfield is a British classical scholar, translator, and editor, specializing in Ancient Greek philosophy. He lives in Greece.
“The new edition by Robin Waterfield, a British classics scholar, has much to recommend it. The prose is wonderfully sober and taut, the choices felicitous….The volume’s stand-out feature is its wide-ranging set of footnotes, offering assistance to novice readers, insights that will intrigue specialists, and reformulations that clarify Marcus’ thoughts.”—Wall Street Journal
"The full and accessible notes make this volume particularly useful for those reading the work as life-guidance, as well as for other readers.... The translation.... aims at accuracy in conveying the Greek meaning, while at the same time bringing out the content in accessible and expressive English.... Waterfield’s version is highly effective in this aim: the line of thought is clear even in passages where Marcus’ thought processes are somewhat convoluted or oblique, and the English idiom chosen is widely accessible."—Chris Gill, Classical Review
“Robin Waterfield has given us a splendid translation of Marcus: accurate and idiomatic, it captures the personal tone of the Meditations wonderfully. The notes and introduction are detailed but clear, authoritative both historically and philosophically, telling modern readers what they need to know. This is the best translation of the Meditations available today.”—Brad Inwood, William Lampson Professor of Philosophy and Classics, Yale University
"This new edition of the Meditations really is superb. Robin Waterfield is one of the most accomplished translators of ancient Greek out there, and it is wonderful to see him bring his considerable talents to bear on Marcus Aurelius. His lucid and precise translation is based on a fresh assessment of variant readings of the Greek text. The engaging introduction does a marvelous job of setting out Marcus’s life, the distinctive characteristics of the Meditations, and the central ideas of Stoicism. The extensive notes take into account the latest scholarship while remaining accessible. This must surely become the first choice English edition of the Meditations for decades to come."
—John Sellars, author of Lessons in Stoicism
“This is a valuable addition to our stock of modern translations of the Meditations. The translation is accurate but also accessible and powerful. The full and informative introduction and the notes, helpfully placed at the foot of each page, make this a book that offers much to a wide variety of readers.”—Christopher Gill, emeritus professor of ancient Thought, University of Exeter, and author of Greek Thought
“Do we need another translation of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations? Yes, especially when it is so thoroughly and informatively annotated as Waterfield's. The introduction alone is worth the price of admission.”—Massimo Pigliucci, author of How to Be A Stoic
“Robin Waterfield, a leading classical scholar and translator, has given us a dazzling new translation of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Readers: Do not skip the introduction. In hard-hitting and eloquent prose, Waterfield explains the personal and private meditations of an emperor who turns to Stoicism for exercises in becoming a better person and a better world leader. The tension in juggling those worlds is part of Marcus’s enduring legacy. This modernized scholarly edition of the Meditations will quickly find its home on the modern Stoic’s bookshelf as well as on the reading lists of those of us who teach ancient Stoicism. It’s a most welcome addition to ancient Stoic scholarship.”—Nancy Sherman, professor of philosophy, Georgetown University
“The best of both worlds: a lively, readable, and engaging translation, supplemented by extensive notes drawn from up-to-date scholarship. This edition can be studied in a graduate seminar or presented to an interested amateur for their casual enjoyment. Waterfield’s wide experience as a translator of Plato, Xenophon, and Plutarch has equipped him to tackle Marcus’ idiosyncratic musings, and he has improved the text with numerous corrections. Marcus emerges from the mists of time with a clear voice and a compelling vision.”—Tad Brennan, professor of philosophy and classics, Cornell University