Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus was an important Roman emperor born in 121 AD. and whose successor was his own son, Commodus. Many of you will be familiar with these names, as they were depicted in the famous Hollywood movie Gladiator.
With the death of this emperor, many historians agree that the longest period of peace in the Roman Empire ended, a period also known as “Pax Romana”. When Marcus Aurelius died he was largely mythicized and his ashes resided in the so-called “Hadrian’s Mausoleum”, until a sacking by the Visigoths in 410 AD.
- You may be interested in: “The 15 most important and famous Greek philosophers”
Phrases and thoughts of Marcus Aurelius
Do you want to know a little more about the person this famous emperor was? Below you can discover the 70 most famous phrases of Marcus Aurelius , from which you can receive great teachings.
1. The best revenge is to be different from whoever caused the damage.
We must always be faithful to our way of being, with it we can achieve everything we set out to do.
2. Do everything in life as if it were the last thing you ever do.
We must live our life to the fullest and put all our efforts into what we do.
3. When you wake up in the morning, think about the privilege of living: breathing, thinking, enjoying, loving.
We are very fortunate to enjoy the life we have, we must know how to be thankful for it.
4. It takes very little to have a happy life; it’s all inside you, in your way of thinking.
We can be happy or unhappy, that depends only on ourselves and our own attitude.
5. All we hear is an opinion, not a fact. All we see is a perspective, not the truth.
The absolute truth is very difficult to find, there can always be nuances of which we know nothing.
6. Calm yet resolute, cheerful yet consistent, is the man who in everything follows reason.
Our mind can be our great ally or our great detractor, we must know how to use it correctly.
7. What is not good for the hive, cannot be good for the bees.
If something isn’t good for society, it won’t be good for us either.
8. Don’t spend any more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.
With our own actions we can begin to change the society in which we find ourselves.
9. Loss is nothing but change, and change is nature’s delight.
Nature is always changing and evolving, it doesn’t stop for anything or anyone.
10. How much time is saved by not turning around to see what your neighbor says, does or thinks.
Indeed, we should not care about the thoughts of our neighbors, we should care and concern ourselves only with our own.
11. Nowhere can a man find a more peaceful and untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
In order to understand the world around us, we must know ourselves. Meditation can help us connect with our thoughts.
12. Universal and personal order are nothing but different expressions and manifestations of a common fundamental principle.
We all live our lives under the same universal standards, these are common to all living beings.
13. A noble man compares and esteems himself for an idea that is superior to him; a mean man, for one that is inferior to himself. The first produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is what a vulgar man aspires to.
Our ideas largely dictate the person we will become; we are subjects of our own ideas.
14. Constantly observe all those things that take place because of change, and get used to thinking that nothing loves the nature of the universe as much as changing existing things and creating new things like them.
With the passing of time everything around us changes and we must change too, knowing how to adapt to the moment.
15. Start is half the job, start again with the remaining half, and you’re done.
This quote is very reminiscent of the famous saying: the walk is all about starting.
16. He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the Universe.
When we are at peace with ourselves, we will inevitably be at peace with our surroundings.
17. You must become an old man in good time if you want to be an old man for a long time.
As Marcus Aurelius tells us in this quote, the sooner we mature, the sooner we will make better decisions in our lives.
18. I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all other men, but yet places less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.
We must defend our own ideas and not underestimate them, we are as intelligent as anyone else.
19. Do not allow your mind to be alienated from the things you have, but from those you lack.
In order to move forward in life we must have clear objectives, these must guide our actions.
20. A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.
Ambition can take us very far in life, with it we can have the motivation needed to achieve great things. On the other hand, excessive ambition can also have serious consequences.
21. If you are upset by an external cause, the pain is not due to the cause itself, but to the value you place on it. And you have the power to revoke that value.
We should not give too much importance to external situations that have little or nothing to do with us.
22. If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will gladly change, since I seek the truth and no one has ever been hurt by the truth. The person who is stuck in ignorance is the one who gets hurt.
Indeed, valuing the opinions of others can help us a lot in our lives.
23. If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it.
Great advice that the Emperor Marcus Aurelius leaves us for posterity.
24. Whenever you are about to point out a defect in another person, ask yourself the following question: What defect in me resembles the one I am about to criticize?
Whoever is without sin casts the first stone, we all have some fault.
25. The first rule is to keep your spirits calm. The second is to see things face to face and know what they are.
When we face any situation calmly, we will be able to assess our response action much better.
26. Begin each day by saying to yourself: Today I will find myself with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill will, and selfishness, all due to the ignorance of the offenders, who do not distinguish good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good and the ugliness of evil, and I recognize that the evildoer has a nature similar to mine, not the same blood but the same mind. Therefore, he cannot hurt me.
Dealing with our daily lives can be complicated at times, but by following the instructions in this appointment we will be able to do much better.
27. Look to the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you will be able to foresee the future.
History teaches us what mistakes we should not make, from it we can learn great lessons.
28. Do not dream of the things you do not have, but rather recognize the blessings of the things you do possess. Then remember gratefully how you would be anxious if your possessions were not your own.
Knowing how to value everything we have can help us be much happier.
29. Character perfection is this: to live each day as if it were the last, without haste, without apathy, without pretension.
A great lesson from Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who encourages us to live our lives to the fullest.
30. People are naturally able to endure everything that happens to them.
We are capable of facing everything that life throws at us, we are strong and we can carry out everything we set out to do.
31. He leads a good life. If there are gods and they are righteous, they will not care how devoted you were. Instead, they will welcome you based on the virtues you have had in life. If there are gods but they are unjust, then you would not like to praise them. If there are no gods, then simply your life will be over but it will have been noble and your memory will live on in the memories of those you love.
We must govern our lives according to our own values and principles, for if we live in this way we can in the future die with a clear conscience.
32. Humans exist for the sake of others. So either you teach them or you learn to endure them.
Understanding those around us can be difficult at times, but it is something we must certainly do.
33. Do what you have to do. Even if you disarm, most people will still do the same things.
As Marcus Aurelius tells us in this quote, we must be consistent with our principles.
34. Accept whatever comes woven into the pattern of your destiny, for… What could be more suitable to meet your needs?
Believing in destiny is something we can do or not do in our life, it is up to us to adopt that belief.
35. If any man hates me, that’s his problem. My only concern is not to do or say anything that deserves that hatred.
We cannot change how others feel about us, but we can act in a more positive way to make our interactions more enjoyable.
36. Our life is what our thoughts create.
Our thoughts largely determine our actions and those actions direct our future.
37. What’s really beautiful doesn’t need anything else.
When something is beautiful in itself we should not try to change it.
38. The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others. The happiness of those who seek pleasure fluctuates with the mood that is beyond their control. However, the happiness of the wise comes from their deeds.
Achieving happiness depends on ourselves and the decisions we make in life.
39. Life is an opinion.
Everything in life begins with our own opinion. Our opinion tells us who we are in society.
40. Your days are numbered. Use them to open the windows of your soul and let the sun in. If you do not, the sun will set on the horizon and you will go with it.
We only have one chance to live our life, we must not stop doing anything that we are passionate about.
41. Is it your reputation that bothers you? But look how quickly we are forgotten. The abyss of eternal time swallows everything. The emptiness of those clapping hands. The people who applaud us, how capricious they are, how arbitrary.
Our actions should be guided by our principles, not by the congratulations of third parties who really give us little.
42. Just because you find something difficult, doesn’t mean that no one else is capable of doing it.
There is always someone stronger and faster than you, the human being is wonderful and capable of achieving great goals.
43. Do not waste time speculating about what your neighbors are doing, unless it is for mutual benefit. Wondering what they are doing and why they are doing it, what they are saying, thinking or planning, distracts you and symbolizes missing the opportunity to do other tasks.
We should not care about the actions of others, we should care about what we will do.
44. It is in your power to withdraw whenever you wish. Perfect tranquillity consists in the order of the mind, the kingdom that belongs to you.
Immersing ourselves in our minds can help us sort out our ideas, we must know how to take our time when we really need it.
45. Come to your senses, come back, wake up again. Now that you have realized that what was bothering you was only a dream, look at “reality” as you see your dreams.
The world of dreams can be very different from our reality and knowing how to live our day to day is something extremely important. With effort we will manage to make our dreams come true.
46. How ridiculous and strange it is to be surprised by the things that happen in life.
Every new day is a new opportunity to surprise us, life always teaches us new things.
47. Just do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Hot or cold. Tired or rested. Despised and honoured. Dead or busy with other tasks. Because dying is also one of the tasks we must accomplish in life.
We must live our lives as correctly and honestly as possible, for our actions will be what they remember about us when we are gone.
48. You always have the option of not commenting on it. There’s no need to bother your soul about things you can’t control. Those things are not asking you to judge them. Leave them alone.
Those issues that we cannot change should not waste our time, worry about what you can change.
49. He thinks you’re dead. You’ve already lived your life. Now take what you have left of it and live it as it should be lived. What does not transmit light creates its own darkness.
The life we possess is a very valuable asset, really the most valuable asset we will ever have.
50. The echo of what we do now, resonates in eternity.
A quote that reminds us of the movie Gladiator, a film about this great Roman emperor.
51. You’re just a soul carrying a dead body.
For almost all believers the soul is really what we are, our body is just the vessel of our soul.
52. Don’t act like you’re going to live for ten thousand years. Death lurks in you. As long as you live, as long as possible, be good.
Live life as you would like to be remembered, we must leave the world in a better state than when we arrived.
53. When another person blames you or hates you, or people criticize you, go into their souls, go into the depths and see what kind of people they are. You will realize that you should not torment yourself by thinking about what others believe about you.
When you get to know the critic in depth, you realize that you should not worry about his opinion.
54. The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape from being part of the foolish.
We must not get carried away by ideological currents that are not positive for society.
55. Don’t let the future bother you. You will meet it, if you must, with the same rational weapons with which you are armed to fight the present.
Dealing with problems when they come is what we should all do, many future problems may never come.
56. Accept the things to which destiny ties you, and love the people that destiny brings you, but do so with all your heart.
Being honest with our feelings will allow us to live life much more fully.
57. Think of the beauty of life. Look at the stars and see yourself running after them.
The world around us and nature in general, bring into our lives many wonderful experiences that we should know how to appreciate.
58. Everything is in some way beautiful, it is beautiful in itself and it does not ask for anything beyond itself. Praise is not a part of itself; consequently, what is praised is neither made worse nor improved.
The beauty of something is found in the interpretation we give it, for beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
59. Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.
Education provides us with a series of tools that we must necessarily learn; no one is born educated on his own.
60. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts; therefore act accordingly, and be careful not to entertain notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
Our thoughts will or will not lead us to our happiness, negative thoughts will undoubtedly lead us to unhappiness.
61. The art of life is more like fighting than dancing.
In life we will always have to struggle to achieve our goals and objectives.
62. Time is a kind of river of events, and strong is its flow; as soon as something is brought into view, it is swept away, and something else takes its place, and this in turn will also be swept away.
Time influences everyone and everything, the passing of time always puts things in their place.
63. Everything that happens, happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find that this is so.
Life always follows its own natural course and events in it always happen for a reason.
64. Nothing has so much power to expand the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and realistically all that is susceptible to observation in life.
Through experimentation and study, we reach a greater understanding of our own lives. Science provides answers to the questions we can ask about life.
65. We are too accustomed to attributing to a single cause what is the product of several, and most of our disputes stem from that.
When an important event occurs, it always happens as a result of many and varied circumstances.
66. Reject your sense of prejudice and the prejudice itself will disappear.
Prejudices can lead us to make wrong decisions, we should only judge facts or contrasted acts.
67. Life is neither good nor bad, but a place for good and evil.
We make our life good or bad, by our own actions.
68. The only wealth you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.
Giving can be much more rewarding than receiving; we must be generous to our friends and family.
69. To understand the true quality of people, you must look inside their minds, examine their occupations and aversions.
Getting to know a person can be quite complicated, we have to dig deep into their thoughts to get to know them.
70. We should do good to others as naturally as a horse runs, a bee makes honey or a vine gives grapes.
A great quote from Marcus Aurelius that encourages us to do good to others, the society in which we live is a reflection of ourselves.