Meditations Marcus Aurelius Best Translation


In the world of ancient philosophy, Marcus Aurelius stands as a prominent figure, known for his profound insights on life, virtue, and self-reflection. His work, “Meditations,” has inspired countless individuals throughout history, offering timeless wisdom and guidance. In this article, we delve into the world of “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, exploring its best translations, the language it was written in, and its accessibility to readers. Join us on a journey to discover the essence of this remarkable philosophical work.

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Understanding Marcus Aurelius and His Meditations

Who was Marcus Aurelius?

Marcus Aurelius, born in 121 AD, was a Roman emperor who ruled from 161 AD until his death in 180 AD. He is widely regarded as one of the most respected Stoic philosophers and is often referred to as the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome. Marcus Aurelius was known for his emphasis on moral virtue, self-discipline, and the pursuit of wisdom.

What are the Meditations?

“Meditations” is a collection of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius. These writings were not originally intended for publication but were instead meant as a form of self-reflection and philosophical contemplation. The book is divided into twelve books, each containing a series of thoughts, reflections, and philosophical musings on various aspects of life, ethics, and the nature of existence.

The Best Translations of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Finding the best translation of “Meditations” is essential to fully grasp the essence of Marcus Aurelius’ wisdom. While there are several translations available, certain versions stand out for their accuracy, readability, and faithfulness to the original text. Some of the highly recommended translations include:

  1. Gregory Hays’ Translation: Gregory Hays’ translation of “Meditations” is praised for its modern and accessible language while maintaining the philosophical depth of the original text. It captures the essence of Marcus Aurelius’ stoic teachings in a way that resonates with contemporary readers.
  2. George Long’s Translation: George Long’s translation is considered a classic rendition of “Meditations.” While the language may be more formal and archaic, it provides a faithful representation of the original text, allowing readers to connect with the ancient wisdom of Marcus Aurelius.
  3. Martin Hammond’s Translation: Martin Hammond’s translation offers a balance between accessibility and faithfulness to the original text. It provides a clear and concise interpretation of Marcus Aurelius’ meditations, making it suitable for both newcomers and seasoned readers of Stoic philosophy.


What language is Marcus Aurelius Meditations in?

Marcus Aurelius wrote “Meditations” in Greek, which was the language commonly used by educated individuals in the Roman Empire during that time.

What is the original Meditations by Marcus Aurelius called?

The original title of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” in Greek is “Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν,” which translates to “To Himself” or “To Myself.”

Is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations free?

As “Meditations” is a work in the public domain, there are many free versions available online in various formats. However, it’s important to ensure that the translation you choose is reputable and reliable.

How long does it take to read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius?

The reading time for “Meditations” may vary depending on the reader’s pace and level of engagement. On average, it takes approximately 6 to 8 hours to read the entire book, but some readers may take longer to fully digest and contemplate the philosophical insights presented.


“Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius stands as a timeless masterpiece of stoic philosophy, offering valuable insights into self-reflection, virtue, and the pursuit of a meaningful life. By exploring the best translations available and understanding the context of Marcus Aurelius’ writings, readers can embark on a transformative journey, immersing themselves in the wisdom and teachings of one of history’s greatest philosophers. Let the meditations of Marcus Aurelius guide you towards a more enlightened and fulfilling existence.

Find more on these links:

  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Marcus Aurelius
  2. Goodreads – Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  3. Amazon – Meditations (Translated by Gregory Hays)
  4. Barnes & Noble – Meditations (Translated by George Long)

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