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86 Truly Inspiring Marcus Aurelius Quotes

86 Truly Inspiring Marcus Aurelius Quotes

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor and a philosopher. He was born in Italy on April 26, 121. Born into a wealthy and politically prominent family, he was one of the most respected emperors of Roman History. He was an intelligent man and his area of interest was Stoicism.

At the age of 17, Marcus was adopted by Antoninus (the husband of Marcus’s aunt), who taught him the ways to handle public and government affairs. After the death of his adoptive father, Marcus rose to power and was officially known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus in 161. His reign was marked by war and disease.

Marcus Aurelius’ Gladiator

Most of the people got to know about Marcus after watching the movie Gladiator (2000). In the film, Marcus was portrayed as a wise statesman who knew that his reign is going to end soon. Aurelius chose General Maximus as his successor over his son Commodus, whom he believed was not competent enough but things didn’t go according to plan. The conversation between the father and son in the movie goes like:

MARCUS: Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?
COMMODUS [with a slight smile on his face]: Yes, father.
MARCUS: You will not be Emperor.
COMMODUS [the smile quickly vanishes leaving in its place painful bewilderment]: Which wiser, older man is to take my place?
MARCUS: My powers will pass to Maximus to hold in trust until the Senate is ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a Republic again.

Commodus then strangled his father and became emperor and tries to murder Maximus whereas, in reality, Commodus was already ruling Rome for three years before the death of his father. Marcos died from the plague and before his death, he commended his son under the soldier’s supervision to make sure that he won’t get blamed for Marcos’s death.

The notorious Commodus affected Marcos’s position in history as some believed him as a failure who could not raise a throne-worthy son. Commodus as an emperor is also a question mark on Markus Aurelius’ competence as a wise emperor who should have intellect enough to forecast the future.

Well, the portrayal of Marcus in the film is a very minor glimpse of what he was. He was a true depiction of Plato’s philosopher emperor theory.

The Gladiator is more about Commodus as a bad emperor than a depiction of Aurelius as a person.

The meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Meditations is a series of 12 books personally written by Marcus Aurelius. He wrote them for himself during different chronicle periods of his life. His meditations advocate the idea of finding one’s place in the universe. He believed everything comes from nature and shall return it in due time. He also emphasized of the ability to be focused in life, and the principles of being a good man. Let’s have a look at some of his famous quotes of meditations.

25 Aurelius Inspirational Quotes on Meditation

  1. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

  2. “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius

  3. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

  4. “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius

  5. “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius

  6. “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” – Marcus Aurelius

  7. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” – Marcus Aurelius

  8. “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.” – Marcus Aurelius

  9. “The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

  10. “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius

  11. “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius

  12. “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.” – Marcus Aurelius

  13. “If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” – Marcus Aurelius

  14. “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

  15. “I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.” – Marcus Aurelius

  16. “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” – Marcus Aurelius

  17. “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.” – Marcus Aurelius

  18. “The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” – Marcus Aurelius

  19. “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” – Marcus Aurelius

  20. “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.” – Marcus Aurelius

  21. “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.” – Marcus Aurelius

  22. “Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.” – Marcus Aurelius

  23. “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” – Marcus Aurelius

  24. “Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not “This is misfortune,” but “To bear this worthily is good fortune.” – Marcus Aurelius

  25. “Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.” – Marcus Aurelius

20 Marcus Aurelius Motivational Quotes on Life

Marcus was very hopeful in life. He believed that good and evil are part of human life. He thought that contentment is the way to keep oneself happy and peaceful in life. Let’s dig into some more quotations from Aurelius on life.

  1. “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

  2. “Remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.” – Marcus Aurelius

  3. “Pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  4. “To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.” – Marcus Aurelius

  5. “It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  6. “Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  7. “You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  8. “No man can escape his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best live the time that he has to live.” – Marcus Aurelius

  9. “A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  10. “Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.” – Marcus Aurelius

  11. “Tomorrow is nothing, today is too late; the good lived yesterday.” – Marcus Aurelius

  12. “Everything that happens the way it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so” – Marcus Aurelius

  13.  “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  14. “The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” – Marcus Aurelius

  15. “Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life?” – Marcus Aurelius

  16. “While you live, while it is in your power, be good.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  17. “If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?”  – Marcus Aurelius

  18. “Only attend to yourself, and resolve to be a good man in every act that you do.” – Marcus Aurelius

  19. “Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  20. “Misfortune nobly born is good fortune.” – Marcus Aurelius

8 Marcus Aurelius quotes on God and Religion

Aurelius was a believer in God. Stoicism for him was a philosophy and not a religion.

  1. “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” – Marcus Aurelius

  2. “To the gods I am indebted for having good grandfathers, good parents, a good sister, good teachers, good associates, good kinsmen and friends, nearly everything good.” – Marcus Aurelius

  3. “Since it is possible that you might depart from life this very moment, regulate every act and thought accordingly. But to go away from among men, if there are gods, is not a thing to be afraid of, for the gods will not involve you in evil; but if indeed they do not exist, or if they have no concern about human affairs, why would I wish to live in a universe devoid of gods or devoid of Providence? But in truth they do exist, and they do care for human things, and they have put all the means in man’s power to enable him not to fall into real evils.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  4. “For there is one universe made up of all things, and one God who pervades all things, and one substance, and one law, one common reason in all. – Marcus Aurelius

  5. “You have embarked, made the voyage, and come to shore; get out. If indeed to another life, there is no want of gods, not even there. But if to a state without sensation, you will cease to be held by pains and pleasures.” – Marcus Aurelius

  6. “Recall the alternative; either there is providence or a fortuitous concurrence of atoms.” – Marcus Aurelius

  7. “Either it is a well-arranged universe or a chaos huddled together, but still a universe.” – Marcus Aurelius

  8. “The universe is either a confusion, a mutual involution of things and a dispersion; or it is unity and order and providence. If then it is the former, why do I desire to tarry in a fortuitous combination of things and such a disorder? And why do I care about anything else than how I shall at last become earth? And why am I disturbed, for the dispersion of my elements will happen whatever I do. But if the other supposition is true, I venerate, and I am firm, and I trust in him who governs.” – Marcus Aurelius

12 Marcus Aurelius Quotes on death

  1. “Whether it is a dispersion, or a resolution into atoms, or annihilation, it is either extinction or change.” (VII.32) – Marcus Aurelius

  2. “It is not death that a man should fear, but rather he should fear never beginning to live.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  3. “But death and life, honor and dishonor, pain and pleasure—all these things equally happen to good men and bad, being things which make us neither better nor worse. Therefore, they are neither good nor evil.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  4. “Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”  – Marcus Aurelius

  5. “Death is a cessation of the impressions through the senses, and of the pulling of the strings that move the appetites, and of the discursive movements of the thoughts, and of the service to the flesh.”  – Marcus Aurelius

  6. “When the longest- and shortest-lived of us dies their loss is precisely equal. For the sole thing of which any of us can be deprived is the present, since this is all we own, and nobody can lose what is not theirs.” – Marcus Aurelius

  7. “If a thing is in your own power, why do you do it? But if it is in the power of another, whom do you blame? The atoms (chance) or the gods? Both are foolish. You must blame nobody.” (VIII.17) – Marcus Aurelius

  8. “In a word, if there is a god, all is well; and if chance rules, do not also be governed by it.” (IX.28) – Marcus Aurelius

  9. “Either all things proceed from one intelligent source and come together as in one body, and the part ought not to find fault with what is done for the benefit of the whole; or there are only atoms, and nothing else than mixture and dispersion. Why, then, are you disturbed?” (IX.39) – Marcus Aurelius

  10. “Whether the universe is a concourse of atoms, or nature is a system, let this first be established: that I am a part of the whole that is governed by nature; next, that I stand in some intimate connection with other kindred parts.” (X.6) – Marcus Aurelius

  11. “Either there is a fatal necessity and invincible order, or a kind Providence, or a confusion without a purpose and without a director. If then there is an invincible necessity, why do you resist? But if there is a Providence that allows itself to be propitiated, make yourself worthy of the help of the divinity. But if there is a confusion without a governor, be content that in such a tempest you have yourself a certain ruling intelligence.” (XII.14) – Marcus Aurelius

  12. “With respect to what may happen to you from without, consider that it happens either by chance or according to Providence, and you must neither blame chance nor accuse Providence.” – Marcus Aurelius

21 Stoic Marcus Aurelius Quotes

Stoicism played a vital role in the morality and spiritual nourishment of Marcus.

  1. “Stoics held that material objects alone existed; but immanent in the material universe was a spiritual force which acted through them, manifesting itself under many forms, as fire, aether, spirit, soul, reason, the ruling principle.” – Marcus Aurelius

  2. “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

  3. “Is a world without pain possible? then don’t ask the impossible.” – Marcus Aurelius

  4. “Do every act of your life as if it were the last.” – Marcus Aurelius

  5. “Suppose someone despises me. That’s their concern, not mine. My concern is to live in harmony with nature and reason, so that my actions won’t be worthy of contempt.” – Marcus Aurelius

  6. “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.” – Marcus Aurelius

  7. “If you focus on the task at hand, shed all distractions, and follow reason with steadfast determination, the divine spark within you will burst into flame.” – Marcus Aurelius

  8. “Retreat into your inner sanctuary. Here, away from strain and distraction, you are free to observe the world and your reactions objectively.” – Marcus Aurelius

  9. “As you improve your mind and disposition, your surroundings become more interesting, beautiful, and inspiring – no matter where you are.” – Marcus Aurelius

  10. “Look at those who strive for fame. It’s as if they’re competing to gather the largest pile of sand; tomorrow, the wind comes and blows it all away.” – Marcus Aurelius

  11. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

  12. “If you expect an ignorant person to act like a knowledgeable one, that’s your mistake.” – Marcus Aurelius

  13. “If it is not right, do not do it if it is not true, do not say it.” – Marcus Aurelius

  14. “Loss is nothing else but change, change is nature’s delight.” – Marcus Aurelius

  15. “Confine yourself to the present.” – Marcus Aurelius

  16. “My true self is free it cannot be contained.” – Marcus Aurelius

  17. “Begin, to begin is half work, let half still remain; again begin this and thou wilt have finished.” – Marcus Aurelius

  18. “The true worth of a man is to be measured by the objects he pursues.” – Marcus Aurelius

  19. “A man makes no noise over a good deed. But passes on to another as a vine to bear grapes again in season.” – Marcus Aurelius

  20. “And to behave in a conciliatory way when people who have angered or annoyed us want to make up.” – Marcus Aurelius

  21. “Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender.” – Marcus Aurelius


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Marcos Aurelius was a Stoic intellect but his intellect as an emperor is controversial to many. There is a huge debate among historians to classify Marcos as an overrated Roman emperor as he granted succession to his ineligible son Commodus, who marked an end to the golden period of peace in the history of the Roman empire.

As Stoicism states, parents should not be blamed for children’s ineligibilities. People’s opinions vary according to their perspective. What is your opinion about Marcos Aurelius? Let us know through your comments.