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22gigantes.com - Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 Stoic philosophy books of the Meditations in Koine Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. It is possible that large portions of the work were written at Sirmium, where he spent much time planning military campaigns from 170 to 180. Some of it was written while he was positioned at Aquincum on campaign in Pannonia, because internal notes tell us that the first book was written when he was campaigning against the Quadi on the river Granova and the second book was written at Carnuntum.It is unlikely that Marcus Aurelius ever intended the writings to be published and the work has no official title, so "Meditations" is one of several titles commonly assigned to the collection. These writings take the form of quotations varying in length from one sentence to long paragraphs.
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Most helpful customer reviews 250 of 252 people found the following review helpful. It's worth trying different translations By davidhmorgan I don't know who did the translation for this one but I found it very difficult to follow. This prompted me to look around and I found another translation by George Long (Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus 1862). Even though it's not a recent translation, Long's version is often easier to understand. Compare the translations of the first paragraph for example:This version:Of my grandfather Verus I have learned to be gentle and meek, and to refrain from all anger and passion. From the fame and memory of him that begot me I have learned both shamefastness and manlike behaviour. Of my mother I have learned to be religious, and bountiful; and to forbear, not only to do, but to intend any evil; to content myself with a spare diet, and to fly all such excess as is incidental to great wealth. Of my great-grandfather, both to frequent public schools and auditories, and to get me good and able teachers at home; and that I ought not to think much, if upon such occasions, I were at excessive charges.George Long's version:From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper. From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character. From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich. From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things a man should spend liberally.Having said this however, it's still worth comparing both translations which are free on the Kindle. 49 of 51 people found the following review helpful. A word of caution By Nom de Bloom Amazon lumps different translations together as merely variations on how the book is delivered. In this case, the Hays translation is the hardcover, while the authors who translated the paperback and Kindle versions aren't specified. So use the tools available (look inside, free sample) to get an idea of the language used by the author and see if it's something you'd like to read, or if a different translation suits you better. 343 of 351 people found the following review helpful. a superlative translation By garwood Other reviewers here have commented about the work itself, so I would just add a note about this specific translation.One of the most difficult tasks for a reader interested in non-English language work (and works from classical times in particular) is to choose an appropriate translation. Of course, what counts as `appropriate' is somewhat subjective.What I was looking for was a translation that is clear and accurate; one that manages to convey something of a feeling for the both the person who wrote, and the times they wrote in. In this Staniforth excels.Unlike say, the Benjamin Jowett translation of Plato which (at least to my ears) has a distinctly Victorian ring, or the popular new age paraphrases of many of the Stoics (and in truth they are paraphrases or adaptations rather than translations), to me Staniforth (whose translation dates from 1964) strikes just the right balance.The words of Marcus Aurelius are rendered intelligibly and with a dignity and awareness of the historical context. The reader is neither forced to re-read and ponder (i.e., speculatively re-translate), nor wince at inappropriate colloquialisms of 21st century English. Better still, one can immediately perceive and appreciate the times in which the work was written. No mean accomplishment, to say the least.Of course, each reader needs to make this judgment for themselves. Amazon provides an excellent (and free) way of doing this with its `search inside this book' feature, which is enormously useful for anyone making this decision. See all 1293 customer reviews...
About the Author Marcus Aurelius was the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, and was the last of what are considered The Five Good Emperors of Rome. Notable achievements during his reign include defeating a Parthian Empire, winning the fight against the Samaritans in the Macromannic Wars, and chronicling his views on stoic philosophy in personal journals now referred to as Meditations .
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