Who is Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius Biography

Marcus Aurelius (born April 26, 121 AD; died March 17, 180 AD) was a Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher. He was born into a Roman equestrian family and was educated in rhetoric and philosophy. He served as a consul and a governor before becoming emperor in 161 AD.

During his reign, Marcus Aurelius faced several challenges, including invasions by Germanic tribes and a series of plagues that decimated the population. Despite these difficulties, he is remembered for his efforts to maintain the stability and integrity of the Roman Empire, as well as for his personal philosophy and writings.

Free Resource: A step-by-step blueprint to realize your dreams

One of his most famous works is "Meditations," which is a series of personal writings in which he reflects on his own thoughts and beliefs. The book is considered a masterpiece of Stoic philosophy and is still widely read today.

As a philosopher emperor, Marcus Aurelius believed that the best way to live was to focus on virtue and duty, rather than pleasure and personal gain. He was also a proponent of stoicism which is a philosophy that emphasizes the development of self-control and resilience in the face of adversity. He believed that the key to a good life was to live in accordance with nature, and to develop wisdom and inner strength through self-reflection and contemplation.

Marcus Aurelius died in 180 AD, and his ashes were placed in the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. He is remembered as one of the "Five Good Emperors" of Rome, and his legacy continues to be celebrated to this day.

Marcus Aurelius Facts

  • Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD and a Stoic philosopher. He is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy.
  • He is best known for his book "Meditations," which is a series of personal writings in which he reflects on his own beliefs and philosophy.
  • Marcus Aurelius was born in Rome in 121 AD and was adopted by the Emperor Antoninus Pius, who made him his heir.
  • He became emperor in 161 AD and ruled jointly with Lucius Verus until Verus' death in 169 AD.
  • Marcus Aurelius is known for his military campaigns against the Germanic tribes and the Parthian Empire, which he conducted while also dealing with internal conflicts and plagues.
  • He is considered one of the Five Good Emperors and was known for his wisdom, fairness, and concern for the welfare of his people.
  • He was a student of Stoic philosophy, which teaches that individuals should focus on what they can control and accept what they cannot control.
  • "Meditations" is considered one of the greatest works of philosophy in the Western tradition and continues to be widely read and studied today.
  • Marcus Aurelius died in 180 AD while on campaign in Vindobona (modern Vienna, Austria)
  • He was deified by the Roman Senate after his death and his ashes were placed in Hadrian's mausoleum (now the Castel Sant'Angelo) in Rome.

Marcus Aurelius Top Quotes

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." (Meaning)

"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." (Meaning)

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature." (Meaning)

"The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts." (Meaning)

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." (Meaning)

"A man's worth is no greater than his ambitions." (Meaning)

"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart." (Meaning)

"If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it." (Meaning)

"Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears." (Meaning)

Free Resource: Over 1000 smart goal ideas to inspire your life

"Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear." (Meaning)

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." (Meaning)

"Our life is what our thoughts make it." (Meaning)

"Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one." (Meaning)

"Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life." (Meaning)

"Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present." (Meaning)

"That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees." (Meaning)

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." (Meaning)

"The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury." (Meaning)

"Do every act of your life as if it were your last." (Meaning)

"Poverty is the mother of crime." (Meaning)

"Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight." (Meaning)

Free Resource: A step-by-step process for healthier social media use

"The universe is transformation: life is opinion." (Meaning)

"Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away." (Meaning)

"The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away." (Meaning)

"How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it." (Meaning)

"Everything that happens happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so." (Meaning)

"He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe." (Meaning)

"Every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others." (Meaning)

"Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too." (Meaning)

"Begin - to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished." (Meaning)

"Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul." (Meaning)

"The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing." (Meaning)

"When anything tempts you to be bitter: not, 'This is a misfortune' but 'To bear this worthily is good fortune.'" (Meaning)

"Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig." (Meaning)

"Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil." (Meaning)

"Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability." (Meaning)

"Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them." (Meaning)

"We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne" (Meaning)

"Confine yourself to the present." (Meaning)

"Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish." (Meaning)

"Let men see, let them know, a real man, who lives as he was meant to live." (Meaning)

"Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts." (Meaning)

"To the wise, life is a problem; to the fool, a solution." (Meaning)

"Anything in any way beautiful derives its beauty from itself and asks nothing beyond itself. Praise is no part of it, for nothing is made worse or better by praise." (Meaning)

"Tomorrow is nothing, today is too late; the good lived yesterday." (Meaning)

"A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires." (Meaning)

"Anger cannot be dishonest." (Meaning)

"Be content to seem what you really are." (Meaning)

"Where a man can live, he can also live well." (Meaning)

- Marcus Aurelius Quotes


* The editor of this short biography made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any quotes, facts, or key life events. If you're looking to expand your personal development, I recommend exploring other people's life stories and gaining inspiration from my collection of inspiring quotes. Exposing yourself to different perspectives can broaden your worldview and help you with your personal growth.

Reading is Smart. Applying is Smarter:  Apply

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

Actualize Your Potential
Get my simplified process for realizing dreams (The exact process that enabled me to achieve 100 life goals in 10 years)
Access my Start With WHY workbook for free, designed to guide you toward your purpose and the person you are meant to become
Align With Your Why
Elevate In Your Inbox
Get actionable insights, best practices, and wisdom you can apply — No hype, No fluff. Just practical ideas that might change your life.

Read The Art of Fully Living

There's no going back-once you embark on the journey you're meant to live, it's impossible to settle for anything less than your dreams.

Click here to learn more

Set Better Goals

Learn a better and smarter approach to setting and achieving goals. It's not just about what you want to achieve, but who you must become in the process.

Click here to learn more
Take The Free Test
Discover your areas for growth in just 5 minutes. Take the FREE self-evaluation test and pinpoint where to focus your efforts

Uplevel Your Game

Explore The Roadmaps

Access a self-paced online roadmap that turns big goals into realities, complete with daily study guides, actionable steps, and proven practices from the world's best minds
Reclaim your freedom, escape 9-5, and live the life you were meant to live — A self-paced roadmap with daily study guides, actionable steps, and proven practices
Join The Accelerator
Join a 10-week, personalized immersion that will accelerate your goal-attainment, elevate you to your next level, and turn your big dreams into reality.
Learn More
Thanks for reading. It makes a difference. A portion of all proceeds from our endeavors supports entrepreneurs in the developing world. View Impact...