Talk:Marcus Aurelius

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The Misattributed section seems odd to me since I have in my posession a copy of an old reading of Marcus Aurelius, possibly from an old tape recording, that sounds more like the misattributed quote than the one which it is derived from. I have to check it again and listen to it word for word, but I know I got the audio version off of the internet many years prior to 2010, so it sounds like it comes from either a very old english translation. At any rate it would have to, if I remember the quotation correctly. I will have a listen and check into it.

The misattributed section seems to be correct, have transcribed it from an oxford university press book in 1946

If you look at the other quotes attributed to Kant, they all seem to be misattributed or not real. So I think this is the source of misattributed quote.


Removed quote from a self-help book that had somehow made it to top of quotations page. Quoting from a book that quotes from Aurelius is not sourcing correctly.


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable, precise and verifiable source for any quote on this list please move it to Marcus Aurelius. --Antiquary 18:56, 26 May 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Most statements attributed to Aurelius, where genuine, are very likely to be from translations of the Meditations, though different translators may phrase things differently, and sometimes with very different connotations.

  • Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.
  • How much more grievous are the consequences of an event than the causes of it.
  • If we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; if we begin with doubts, and are patient, we shall end in certainties.
    • Not an Aurelius quotation! Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, 1605. 19:09, 8 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment. Meditations, Book VIII, article XLV. Krea 02:33, 5 September 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • In life the three acts are the whole drama; for what shall be a complete drama is determined by him who was once the cause of its composition, and now of its dissolution: but thou art not the cause of neither. Depart then satisfied; for he also who releases thee is satisfied. Meditations Book XII, article XXXVI - the very last quotation! 19:09, 8 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • One can live well even in a palace.
    • (In this statement emphasis is placed upon a "good life" of good actions, rather than a life of dangerous excesses, shallow pursuits and unjust oppressions)
    • This is excerpted from Book V chapter XVI. 19:09, 8 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • 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.
    • Book III chapter IX, Jeremy Collier's 1701 translation 19:09, 8 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
      • I would argue that this translation bears little if any relation to the Greek original, where the very word for happiness seems to be missing. In my view quoting a long obsolete and extremely liberal translation equals misquotation: Τὴν ὑποληπτικὴν δύναμιν σέβε. ἐν ταύτῃ τὸ πᾶν, ἵνα ὑπόληψις τῷ ἡγεμονικῷ σου μηκέτι ἐγγένηται ἀνακόλουθος τῇ φύσει καὶ τῇ τοῦ λογικοῦ ζῴου κατασκευῇ, αὕτη δὲ ἐπαγγέλλεται ἀπροπτωσίαν καὶ τὴν πρὸς ἀνθρώπους οἰκείωσιν καὶ τὴν τοῖς θεοῖς ἀκολουθίαν.
  • Think of the totality of all Being, and what a mite of it is yours; think of all Time, and the brief fleeting instant of it that is allotted to yourself; think of Destiny, and how puny a part of it you are.
  • We are all working together to one end, some with knowledge and design, and others without knowing what they do.

Is This a Real Marcus Aurelius quote?[edit]

‎"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." ~Marcus Aurelius

Anyone? Human fella (talk) 23:29, 20 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The first phrase of each sentence appears to represent an idea found at Meditations 2.15, and again at 12.8, 12.22, and 12.26, translated variously as "Remember that all is opinion" (George Long, P. F. Collier & Son 1909), "Everything is what you judge it to be" (A. S. L. Farquharson, Oxford University Press 1944, World's Classics 1990), "things are determined by the view taken of them" (Maxwell Staniforth, Penguin Classics 1964), "Everything is what you suppose it to be" (Robin Hard, Oxford World's Classics 2011), and "All is as thinking makes it so" (Martin Hammond, Penguin Classics 2006). The point of this, as Marcus uses it, is not to deny external reality, but to say (as at 4.7, 4.39, 5.19, 8.40, and 8.47, for example) that the effect of anything on a person, whether negative or positive, is due not to the thing itself, but to the person's perception of and attitude to (or "judgment" of, in the phrase of several translators) the thing. This is made explicit particularly at 8.47, which says, more or less, that whatever distresses a person, the distress is within their own power to end: if its cause is something external, then the distress arises from the person's attitude to it, which they can change; if its cause is internal to the person, then they can change their own way of thinking; and if its cause is external and genuinely insurmountable, then the person should not be distressed, because it is something they have no power to change. In sum, the specific form of words does not seem to be genuinely Aurelian, but the idea may be, if one interprets the words appropriately. --TLockyer (talk) 02:13, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The Greek text behind the various translations I quote above is Ὅτι πᾶν ὑπόληψις. --TLockyer (talk) 05:57, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

This is a very loose paraphrase of 3 Greek words....What it literally says is, "Because all (is) opinion."

It's a paraphrase, which comes (along with very many other paraphrases commonly quoted around the Web) from this site: 15:20, 31 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Style: Variant translations[edit]

What is the correct way to list variations on a single passage?

  • Whatever this is that I am, it is flesh and a little spirit and an intelligence. (Hays translation)
    • This that I am, whatever it be, is mere flesh and a little breathe and the ruling Reason (Haines translation)
    • This Being of mine, whatever it really is, consists of a little flesh, a little breath, and the part which governs.
    • A little flesh, a little breath, and a Reason to rule all – that is myself.
    • II, 2

I think the first two look best, but I have also seen links to the translator's page as if he were an author (ex: George Long). This doesn't make much sense to me, because the translator is not the author.

I have also seen the text 'Alternate:' or 'Variant translation:', which seems to me unnecessary, especially if it's correct to nest variants as secondary items in the list. If that's so, then the formatting should speak for itself and the words would be unnecessary.

Also, I am inclined to delete the second and third translation, leaving only the first and the fourth. I think in general 'old english' translations should be avoided. Unless of course, it is Wikiquote's desire to have all variants of popular passages, of which Meditations II, 2 is certainly famous.

New to Wikipedia and trying to learn. If you can point me to the correct formatting I will gladly update this whole page.

AwesomeFresh (talk) 13:29, 14 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Is this a mistake?[edit]

"They're like a van that produces grapes without looking for anything in return."

I've never seen Vine spelled Van before. It seems like a mistake but I'm not completely sure.

Yes, it is a mistake. (Hays wrote "vine".) Thanks for pointing it out. ~ DanielTom (talk) 22:25, 14 May 2016 (UTC)[reply]

famous quote missing?[edit]

What we do now [or in life] echoes in eternity

Unchecked shitty editing[edit]

This is horrible, just a few spot checks over the most recent edits yields several cases of bad edits done either by vandals, drunk self-styled philosophers looking for a creative outlet, or people who don't understand how Wikis are supposed to work.

Someone just truncating a quotation, never restored:

A drunk person expressing themselves:

Attempted fix by IP:

Hilariously get reverted as vandalism:

I'm fixing these now, but this entire page is a free-for-all train wreck. -- 05:06, 25 September 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Removed three incorrectly listed as being from book VII: 11, 12, & 14[edit]

  • To whom it may concern:
    Just removed these three short quotes because they were listed as being in the wrong sections of Chapter VII:
  • To a rational being it is the same thing to act according to nature and according to reason.
    • VII, 11
  • Be thou erect, or be made erect.
    • VII, 12
  • It doesn’t hurt me unless I interpret its happening as harmful to me. I can choose not to. (Hays translation)
    • VII, 14
Will-SeymoreIII (talk)

Fake Quote?[edit]

I came across this quote attributed to 'Marcus Aurelius': "The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject." But could not find any substantiable source for this. Just several sites displaying it without a hint on where it was written, e.g.:

  • What raised my doubt was that this is rather a platitude... Something the credentialists in "Trust the Science" crowd would say. It's a bold summary of the ad hominem fallacy trying to dismiss a statement, because the one that made it "is stupid"... It's common behavior of course, but it is rather foolish, since a statement or opinion is not measured by "who" made it, but by whether what is said is true or not. -- 13:39, 11 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • 10,000 people have attributed that platitude to Marcus Aureliius. -- 17:24, 22 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]