1. Annius Verius was his grandfather’s name. There is no verb in this section connected with the word “from,” nor in the following sections of the book: and it is not quite certain what verb should be supplied. What I have added may express the meaning here, though there are sections which it will not fit. If he does not mean to say that he learned all these good things from the several persons whom he mentions, he means that he observed certain good qualities in them, or received certain benefits from them, and it is implied that he was the better for it, or at least might have been: for it would be a mistake to understand Marcus as saying that he possessed all the virtues which he observed in his kinsmen and teachers.

  2. His father’s name was Annius Verus.

  3. His mother was Domitia Calvilla, named also Lucilia.

  4. Perhaps his mother’s grandfather, Catilius Severus.

  5. In the works of Justinus there is a printed letter to one Diognetus, whom the writer names “most excellent.” He was a Gentile, but he wished very much to know what the religion of the Christians was, what God they worshipped, and how this worship made them despise the world and death, and neither believe in the gods of the Greeks nor observe the superstition of the Jews; and what was this love to one another which they had, and why this new kind of religion was introduced now and not before. My friend Mr. Jenkins, rector of Lyminge in Kent, has suggested to me that this Diognetus may have been the tutor of M. Antoninus.

  6. Q. Junius Rusticus was a Stoic philosopher, whom Antoninus valued highly, and often took his advice (Capitol, M. Antonin, III).

    Antoninus says τοϊς Έπικτητείοις ύπομνήυασιν, which must not be translated, “the writings of Epictetus,” for Epictetus wrote nothing. His pupil Arrian, who has preserved for us all that we know of Epictetus, says έμαντφ διαϕνλάξαι τής έκείνου διανοίας. (Epictetus ad Gellius).

  7. Apollonius of Chalcis came to Rome in the time of Pius to be Marcus’ preceptor. He was a rigid stoic.

  8. Sextus of Chæronea, a grandson of Plutarch, or nephew, as some say; but more probably a grandson.

  9. Alexander was a Grammaticus, a native of Phrygia. He wrote a commentary on Homer; and the rhetorician Aristides wrote a panegyric on Alexander in a funeral oration.

  10. M. Cornelius Fronto was a rhetorician, and in great favour with Marcus. There are extant various letters between Marcus and Fronto.

  11. Cinna Catulus, a Stoic philosopher.

  12. The word “brother” may not be genuine. Antoninus had no brother. It has been supposed that he may mean some cousin. Schultz omits “brother,” and says that this Severus is probably Claudius Severus, a peripatetic.

  13. We know, from Tacitus (Annales XIII, XVI, 21: and other passages), who Thrasea and Helvidius were. Plutarch has written the lives of the two Catos, and of Dion and Brutus. Antoninus probably alludes to Cato of Utica, who was a Stoic.

  14. Claudius Maximus was a Stoic philospher, who was highly esteemed also by Antoninus Pius, Marcus’ predecessor. The character of Maximus is that of a perfect man. See Book V, ¶27.

  15. He means his adoptive father, his predecessor, the Emperor Antoninus Pius. Compare Book VI, ¶30.

  16. He uses the word κοινονοημοσύνη. See Gataker’s note.

  17. This passage is corrupt, and the exact meaning is uncertain.

  18. Lorium was a villa on the coast north of Rome, and there Antoninus was brought up, and he died there. This is also corrupt.

  19. Xenophon, Memorabilia 1. 3. 15.

  20. The emperor had no brother, except L. Verus, his brother by adoption.

  21. See the Life of Antoninus.

  22. This is corrupt.

  23. The Quadi lived in the southern part of Bohemia and Moravia; and Antoninus made a campaign against them (see the Life). Granua is probably the river Graan, which flows into the Danube.

    If these words are genuine, Antoninus may have written this first book during the war with the Quadi. In the first edition of Antoninus, and in the older editions, the first three sections of the second book make the conclusion of the first book. Gataker placed them at the beginning of the second book.

  24. Xenophon, Memorabilia. II 3. 18.

  25. Perhaps it should be “thou art doing violence to thyself,” ύβρίζεις not ύβριζε.

  26. Or it may mean “since it is in thy power to depart;” which gives a meaning somewhat different.

  27. See Cicero, Tusculan Disputations I, 49.

  28. Pindar, in the Theætetus of Plato. See XI, 1.

  29. See Gataker’s note.

  30. Carnantum was a town of Pannonia, on the south side of the Danube, about thirty miles east of Vindobona (Vienna). Orosius (VII, 15) and Eutropius (VIII, 13) say that Antoninus remained three years at Carnantum during his wars with the Marcomanni.

  31. Compare Book IX, ¶3.

  32. Compare Book VIII, ¶36.

  33. Est et horum quae media appellamus grande discrimen. —⁠Seneca, Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium 82

  34. ὺπομνήματα: or memoranda, notes and the like. See Book I, ¶17.

  35. Compare Fronto, II, 9; a letter of Marcus to Fronto, who was then consul: “Feci tamen mihi per hos dies excerpta ex libris sexaginta in quinque tomis.” But he says some of them were small books.

  36. Compare Plato, De Legibus, I, p. 644, ότι ταϋτα τὰ πάθη etc.; and Antoninus, Book II, ¶2; Book VII, ¶9; Book XII, ¶21.

  37. πρὸς τὰ πϒούμενα, Literally “towards that which leads.” The exact translation is doubtful. See Gataker’s note.

  38. Tecum habita, noris quam sit tibi curta supellex. —⁠Persius, IV, 52

  39. Compare Cicero De Legibus, I, 7.

  40. Antoninus here uses the word κόσμος both in the sense of the Universe and of Order; and it is difficult to express his meaning.

  41. Ovid, Metamorphoses XC, 293:⁠—Si quaeras Helicen et Burin Achaidas urbes, Invenies sub aquis.

  42. An allusion to Homer’s Nestor, who was living at the war of Troy among the third generation, like old Parr with his hundred and fifty-two years, and some others in modern times who have beaten Parr by twenty or thirty years, if it is true; and yet they died at last.

  43. In this section there is a play on the meaning of συμβαίνειν.

  44. Compare Book II, ¶1.

  45. This is imperfect or corrupt, or both. There is also something wrong or incomplete in the beginning of ¶29, where he says ώς ὲξελθών ζῆν διανοῆ, which Gataker translates as “as if thou wast about to quite life;” but we cannot translate ὲξελθών in that way. Other translations are not much more satisfactory. I have translated literally and left it imperfect.

  46. Epictetus, I, 25. 18.

  47. This is the Stoic precept of άνέχον καὶ άπέχον. The first part teaches us to be content with men and things as they are. The second part teaches us the virtue of self-restraint, or the government of our passions.

  48. This section is unintelligible. Many of the words may be corrupt, and the general purport of the section cannot be discovered. Perhaps several things have been improperly joined in one section. I have translated it nearly literally. Different translators give the section a different turn, and the critics have tried to mend what they cannot understand.

  49. Gataker translates this “because we strive to get these things,” comparing the use of διαϕὲρεσθαι in Book V ¶1, and Book X ¶29, and Book IX ¶39, where it appears that his reference should be Book XI ¶15. He may be right in his interpretation, but I doubt.

  50. Cicero, De Natura Deorum, III, 32.

  51. Plutarch, Adversus Stoicos, C, 14.

  52. I have used Gataker’s conjecture καταληκτικῶς instead of the common reading καταληπτικῶς: compare Book IV, ¶21; Book IX, ¶43.

  53. This is corrupt.

  54. The end of this section is unintelligible.

  55. Plato, Politeia, VI, 486.

  56. From the Bellerophon of Euripides.

  57. From the Hypsipyle of Euripides. Cicero (Tusculan Disputations III, 25), has translated six lines from Euripides, and among them are these two lines:

    “Reddenda terrae eset terra: tum vita omnibus
    Metenda ut fruges: Sic jubet necessitas.”

  58. See Aristophanes, Acharnenses, V, 661.

  59. From the Apologia, C, 16.

  60. Plato, Gorgias, C, 68 (512). In this passage the text of Antoninus has ὲατέον, which is perhaps right; but there is a difficulty in the words μὴ ϓὰρ τοῦτο μέν, τὸ ζῆν ὸποσονδὴ χρόνον τόνϓε ώς άληθῶς ᾶνὸρα ὲατέον ὲστί, καὶ ού, etc. The conjecture εύκτέον for ὲατέον does not mend the matter.

  61. It is said that this is not in the extant writings of Plato.

  62. From the Chrysippus of Euripides.

  63. The first two lines are from the Supplices of Euripides, V, 1110.

  64. This section is obscure, and the conclusion is so corrupt that it is impossible to give any probable meaning to it. It is better to have it as it is than to patch it up, as some critics and translations have done.

  65. The text has ύλική, which it has been proposed to alter to λοϒική, and this change is necessary. We shall then have in this section λοϒική and κοινωνική associated, as we have in ¶64 λοϒική and πολιτική, and in ¶68.

  66. I have followed Gataker’s conjecture οί άπάνθρωποι instead of the manuscript reading οί ᾶνθρωποι.

  67. Leon of Salamis. See Plato, Epistles 7; Apologia C, 20; Epictetus, IV, 1, 160; IV, 7, 30.

  68. Aristophan, Nubes 362. ὅτι βρεθύει τ ὲν ταῖσιν ὸδοῖς καὶ τώ ὸϕθαλμώ παραβάλλει.

  69. It is not easy to understand this section. It has been suggested that there are some errors in ηάλόγιδτα, etc. some of the translators have made nothing of the passage, and they have somewhat perverted the words. The first proposition is, that the universe was made by some sufficient power. A beginning of the universe is assumed, and a power which framed an order. The next question is, How are things produced now; or, in other words, by what power do forms appear in continuous succession? The answer, according to Antoninus, may be this: It is by virtue of the original constitution of things that all change and succession have been effected and are effected. And this is intelligible in a sense, if we admit that the universe is always one and the same, a continuity of identity; as much one and the same as man is one and the same, which he believes himself to be, though he also believes, and cannot help believing, that both in his body and in his thoughts there is a change and succession. There is no real discontinuity then in the universe; and if we say that there was an order framed in the beginning and that the things which are now produced are a consequence of a previous arrangement, we speak of things as we are compelled to view them, as forming a series or succession; just as we speak of the changes in our own bodies and the sequence of our own thoughts. But as there are no intervals, not even intervals infinitely small, between any two supposed states of any one thing, so there are no intervals, not even infinitely small, between what we call one thing and any other thing which we speak of as immediately preceding or following it. What we call time is an idea derived from our notion of a succession of things or events, an idea which is a part of our constitution, but not an idea which we can suppose to belong to an infinite intelligence and power. The conclusion then is certain that the present and the past, the production of present things and the supposed original order, out of which we say that present things now come, are one; and the preset productive power and the so-called past arrangement are only different names for one thing. I suppose then that Antoninus wrote here as people sometimes talk now, and that his real meaning is not exactly expressed by his words. There are certainly other passages from which, I think, that we may collect that he had notions of production something like what I have expressed.

    We now have come to the alternative: “or even the chief things⁠ ⁠… principle.” I do not exactly know what he means by τά κυρώτατα, “the chief,” or “the most excellent,” or whatever it is. But as he speaks elsewhere of inferior and superior things, and of the inferior being for the use of the superior, and of rational beings being the highest, he may here mean rational beings. He also, in this alternative, assumes a governing power of the universe, and that it acts by directing its power toward these chief objects, or making its special, proper, motion toward them. And here he uses the noun (όρμή) “movement,” which contains the same notion as the verb (ῶρμηδε) “moved,” which he used at the beginning of the paragraph when he was speaking of the making of the universe. If we do not accept the first hypothesis, he says, we must take the conclusion of the second, that the “chief things toward which the ruling power of the universe directs its own movement are governed by no rational principle.” The meaning then is, if there is no meaning in it, that though there is a governing power, which strives to give effect to its efforts, we must conclude that there is no rational direction of anything, if the power which first made the universe does not in some way govern it still. Besides, if we assume that anything is now produced or now exists without the action of the supreme intelligence, and yet that this intelligence makes an effort to act, we obtain a conclusion which cannot be reconciled with the nature of a supreme power, whose existence Antoninus always assumes. The tranquility that a man may gain from these reflections must result from his rejecting the second hypothesis, and accepting the first; whatever may be the exact sense in which the emperor understood the first. Or, as he says elsewhere, if there is no providence which governs the world, man has at least the power of governing himself according to the constitution of his nature; and so he may be tranquil, if he does the best that he can.

    If there is no error in the passage, it is worth the labor to discover the writer’s exact meaning; for I think that he had a meaning, though people may not agree what it was. (Compare Book IX, ¶28.) If I have rightly explained the emperor’s meaning in this and other passages, he has touched the solution of a great question.

  70. Caius is C. Julius Caesar, the dictator; and Pomeius is Cn. Pompeius, named Magnus.

  71. Antoninus V, 16. Thucydides, III, 10; ὲν ϒὰρ τῷ διαλλάσσοντι ϒνώμης καὶ αί διαϕοραὶ τῶν έρϒων καθίστανται.

  72. The text has αίτιον, which in Antoninus means “form,” “formal.” Accordingly Schultz recommends either Valkenaer’s emendation ὰϒϒεῖον, “body,” or Corais’ σωμάτιον. Compare Book XII, ¶16; Book X, ¶42.

  73. Areius (Άρειος) was a philosopher, who was intimate with Augustus; Sucton, Augustus, C, 89; Plutarch, Antoninus, 80; Dion Cassius, 51, C, 16.

  74. The text is corrupt at the beginning of the paragraph, but the meaning will appear if the second λοϒικῶν is changed into ὄλων: though this change alone will not establish the grammatical completeness of the text.

  75. “Verus” is a conjecture of Saumaise, and perhaps the true reading.

  76. όρεγομένη in this passage seems to have a passive sense. It is difficult to find an apt expression for it and some of the other words. A comparison with Book XI, ¶17, will help to explain the meaning.

  77. Extensions (άκτϊνες) because they are extended (άπό τοϋ έκτείνεδθαι): A piece of bad etymology.

  78. Compare Epictetus, III, 9, 12.

  79. “As there is not any action or natural event, which we are acquainted with, so single and unconnected as not to have a respect to some other actions and events, so, possibly each of them, when it has not an immediate, may yet have a remote, natural relation to other actions and events, much beyond the compass of this present world.”


    “Things seemingly the most insignificant imaginable, are perpetually observed to be necessary conditions to other things of the greatest importance; so that any one thing whatever, may, for aught we know to the contrary, be a necessary condition to any other.”

    Butler’s Analogy, Chapter 7. See all the chapter.

    Some critics take τὰ ύπάρχοντα in this passage of Antoninus to be the same as τὰ ὄντα: but if that were so, he might have said πρὸςἄλληλα instead of πρὸς τὰ ύπάρχοντα. Perhaps the meaning of πρὸς τὰ ύπάρχοντα may be “to all prior things.” If so, the translation is still correct. See Book VI, ¶38.

  80. Virtutis omnis laus in actione consistit.

    —⁠Cicero, De Officiis, I, 6.

  81. τὸ τῆς Νεκνίας may be as Gataker conjectures, a dramatic representation of the state of the dead. Schultz supposes that it may be also a reference to the Νεκνία of the Odyssey (lib. XI.)

  82. The words which immediately follow κατ ὲπακολούθησιν are corrupt. But the meaning is hardly doubtful. (Compare Book VII, 71.)

  83. Those who wish to know what Plato’s Republic is, may now study it in the accurate translation of Davies and Vaughan.

  84. There is some corruption at the end of this section; but I think that the translation expresses the emperor’s meaning. Whether intelligence rules all things or chance rules, a man must not be disturbed. He must use the power that he has, and be tranquil.

  85. Άπέχει τὸ ῖδιον. This sense of άπέχειν occurs in Book XI, ¶1, and Book VI, ¶51; also in St. Matthew, 6:2, άπέχονσι τὸν μισθόν, and in Epictetus.

  86. That is, God (Book IV, ¶42), as he is defined by Zeno. But the confusion between gods and God is strange.

  87. The end of this section is perhaps corrupt. The meaning is very obscure. I have given the meaning which appears to be consistent with the whole argument. The emperor here maintains that the essential part of man is unchangeable, and that the other parts, if they change or perish, do not affect that which really constitutes the man. Schultz supposed “thy mother” to mean nature, ή ϕύσις. But I doubt about that.

  88. See Seneca, Epistles 70, on these exhibitions which amused the people of those days. These fighters were the Bestlarii, some of whom may have been criminals, but even if they were, the exhibition was equally characteristic of the depraved habits of the spectators.

  89. The islands of the Happy, or the Fortunate Insulæ, are spoken of by the Greek and Roman writers. They were the abode of Heroes, like Achilles and Diomedes, as we see in the Scolion of Harmodius and Aristogiton. Sertorius heard of the islands at Cadiz from some sailors who had been there, and he had a wish to go and live in them and rest form his troubles. (Plutarch, Sertorius, C, 8.) In the Odyssey, Proteus told Menelaus that he should not die in Argos, but be removed to a place at the boundary of the earth where Rhadamanthus dwelt: (Odyssey, IV, 565.)

    “For there in sooth man’s life is easiest:
    Nor snow nor raging storm nor rain is there,
    But ever gently breathing gales of Zephyr
    Oceanus sends up to gladden man.”

    It is certain that the writer of the Odyssey only follows some old legend without having any knowledge of any place which corresponds to his description. The islands which Sertorius heard of may be Madeira and the adjacent island. (Compare Pindar, Olympian II, 129.)

  90. Corais conjectured μϊδος “hatred” in place of Mimi, Roman plays in which action and gesticulation were all or nearly all.

  91. This is corrupt. See the edition of Schultz.

  92. Marcus means to say that conquerors are robbers. He himself warred against Sarmatians, and was a robber, as he says, like the rest. But compare the Life of Avidius Cassius, C, 4, by Vulcatius.

  93. By the law, he means the divine law, obedience to the will of God.

  94. These words are from Euripides. They are cited by Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics VII, 1. It was the fashion of the Stoics to work on the meanings of words, so Antoninus here takes the verb φιλεϊ, “loves,” which as also the sense of “is wont,” “uses,” and the like. He finds in the common language of mankind a philosophical truth, and most great truths are expressed in the common language of life; some understand them, but most people utter them, without knowing how much they mean.

  95. Plato, Theætetus 175 D. E. But compare the original with the use that Antoninus has made of it.

  96. Antoninus here is playing on the etymology of νόμος, law, as signment, that which assigns (νέμει) to every man his portion.

  97. Nothing is known of Satyron or Satyrion; nor, I belive, of Eutyches or Hymen. Euphrates is honorably mentioned by Epictetus (III, 15, 8; IV, 8, 17). Pliny (Epistles I, 10), speaks very highly of him. He obtained the permission of the Emperor Hadrian to drink poison, because he was old and in bad health (Dion Cassius. 69, C, 8).

  98. Crito is the friend of Socrates; and he was, it appears, also a friend of Xenophon. When the emperor says “seen,” he does not mean with the eyes.

  99. Compare Epictetus, I, 29, 28.

  100. Homer, the Iliad VI, 146.

  101. He says κακόν but as he affirms in other places that death is no evil, he must mean what others may call an evil, and he means “what is going to happen.”

  102. ήν περιοὄικήν παλιϒενεσίαν. See Book V, ¶13, ¶33, and Book X, ¶8.

  103. Law is the order by which all things are governed.

  104. See the Life of Antoninus. This is the only passage in which the Emperor speaks of the Christians. Epictetus (IV, 7, 6) names them Galilæi.

  105. Sophocles, Oedipus Rex.

  106. See Book VII, ¶40, ¶37, ¶39.

  107. Instead of σκάλμη Saumaise reads σκαμβή. There is a Greek proverb, σκαμβὸν ξύλον ούδέποτ δρθόν: “You cannot make a crooked stick straight.”

    The wolfish friendship is an allusion to the fable of the sheep and the wolves.

  108. It appears that there is a defect in the text here.

  109. The word πρεσβύτερα, which is here translated “prior,” may also mean “superior”: but Antoninus seems to say that piety and reverence of the gods precede all virtues, and that other virtues are derived from them, even justice, which in another passage (¶15) he makes the foundation of all virtues. The ancient notion of justice is that giving to everyone his due. It’s not a legal definition, as some have supposed, but a moral rule which law cannot in all cases enforce. Besides law that has its own rules, which are sometimes moral and sometimes immoral; but it enforces them all simply because they are general rules, and if it did not or could not enforce them, so far Law would not be Law. Justice, or the doing what is just, implies a universal rule and obedience to it; and as well as we all live under universal Law, which commands both our body and our intelligence, and is the law of our nature, that is the law of the whole constitution of man, we must endeavor to discover what this supreme Law is. It is the will of the power that rules all. By acting in obedience to this will, we do justice, and by consequence everything else that we ought to do.

  110. The story is told by Horace in his Satires (II, 6), and by others since, but not better.

  111. Perhaps the emperor made a mistake here, for other writers say that it was Archelaus, the son of Perdiccas, who invited Socrates to Macedonia.

  112. Gataker suggested Έπικονρείων for Έϕεσίων.

  113. The verse of Empedocles is corrupt in Antoninus. It has been restored by Peyron from a Turin manuscript, thus:⁠—

    Σϕαῖρος κνκλοτεὴς μονίς περιϒηθέϊ ϒαίων.

  114. See Book III, ¶4.

  115. The interpreters translate γοργός by the words acer, validusque, and “skillful.” But in Epictetus (II, 16, 20; III, 12, 10) this word means “vehement,” “prone to anger,” “irritable.”

  116. There is something wrong here, or incomplete.

  117. See Book VII, ¶25.

  118. See Epictetus, II, 8, 9, etc.

  119. μετ οίήσεως. Οῐησις καί τῦϕος, see Epictetus I, 8, 6.

  120. “Seen even with the eyes.” It is supposed that this may be explained by the Stoic doctrine, that the universe is a god or living being (Book IV, ¶42), and that the celestial bodies are gods (Book VIII, ¶19). But the emperor may mean that we know that the gods exist, as he afterwards states it, because we see what they do; as we know that man has intellectual powers, because we see what he does, and in no other way do we know it. This passage then will agree with the passage in the Epistle to the Romans (1:20), and with the Epistle to the Colossians (1:15) in which Jesus Christ is named “the image of the invisible god;” and with the passage in the Gospel of St. John (14:9).

    Gataker, whose notes are a wonderful collection of learning, and all of it sound and good, quotes a passage of Calvin which is founded on St. Paul’s language (Romans 1:20): “God by creating the universe [or world, mundum), being himself invisible, has presented himself to our eyes conspicuously in a certain visible form.” He also quotes Seneca (De Beneficiis IV, C, 8): “Quocunque te flexeris, ibi illum videbie occurrentem tibi: nihil ab illo vacat, opus suum ipse implet.” Compare also Cicero, De Senectute (C. 22), Xenophon’s Cyropædia (VIII, 7) and Memorabilia IV, 3; also Epictetus, I, 6, De Providentia. I think that my interpretation of Antoninus is right.

  121. See Book II, ¶16 and Book IV, ¶31.

  122. See Book III, ¶8.