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.


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)

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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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.
    • See also: More quotes on the Future
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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.
    • Book V chapter XXIV. 19:09, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  • We are all working together to one end, some with knowledge and design, and others without knowing what they do.
    • first sentence of Book VI chapter XLII. 19:09, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

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)

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)
The Greek text behind the various translations I quote above is Ὅτι πᾶν ὑπόληψις. --TLockyer (talk) 05:57, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

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)

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)