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Marcus Aurelius Even today Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is read by every class from kings to common people The book is a universal classic meaning it can be related to at any time by anyone The philosophies included in his book have spanned the centuries and Meditations remains to be one of the most influential books ever written Marcus Aurelius was born on April 20 121 AD into a family of royalty His uncle and adoptive father Antoninus Pius was the emperor of Rome Aurelius too was trained from birth to be a great ruler like his father At age eleven he dedicated himself to religion although he considered philosophy to be the true inward religion one which did not require ceremonies necessary in others Throughout his childhood and early adulthood Aurelius was taught by several talented teachers When he was young the great Epictetus tutored him followed by a man named Q Junius Rusticus who would accompany Aurelius throughout much of his life In 161 AD Pius died leaving Aurelius and Piuss other adopted son known as Verus to rule together The two brothers were quite different although no disagreements are mentioned between the two Verus was a headstrong man who was more apt to want a war than the contemplative Aurelius Verus was an Epicurean and definitely would never be called a philosopher However Verus died suddenly in 169 leaving Aurelius to rule Rome on his own It is important to mention that during basically all of Aurelius rule Rome was engaged in a long series of defensive wars In fact the book Meditations was written during these wars possibly during the darkest of conditions And even though these wars were successful they were taxing both on Rome as a state and on Aurelius himself However he somehow managed to stay somewhat unaffected throughout an amazing feat unto itself Although Aurelius was considered a great man and emperor he ruthlessly persecuted
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