The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 - 180 AD) was a stoic philosopher on top of maintaining the supreme authority in the Roman Empire. Serving as the last of the '5 Good Emperors,' Aurelius' reign, despite his philosophical nature, was marred with war and tainted by a devastating outbreak of plague. The wars with the Germanic Marcomanni and Quadi, among others broke out in 167 and lasted nearly to the end of his reign.
His writings of peace and inner contemplation sometimes stand out in stark contrast to the events of his reign, but they still provide a valuable insight into the emperor and the times in which he lived. His 'Meditiations' were intended as personal reflections on the world around him, and in that regard, they provide a unique honest opinion, rather than being tainted by political necessity.
Did you know...?
Lasting from 96 to 180, the emperors Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius ruled and their reign corresponds to the period known as the Pax Romana.