Marcus Aurelius, Sayings

LCL 58: 359

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The Sayings of Marcus


Nothing lets us into the secret of a man’s character better than little anecdotes about him, and even seemingly trivial sayings uttered by him without any thoughts of a listening posterity. Unfortunately few such reminiscences of Marcus are extant, but the little that remains will be found to throw some light on a character which it has become too much the fashion to accuse of feebleness, criminal complaisance and inefficiency on the one hand, and on the other of harshness and cruelty. No support is given here to either of these mutually destructive views of a personality that was a striking combination of sweetness and gravity,’1 of mildness and tenacity, of justice and mercy. We see a truly Teligious man who lived up to his creed,2 a tempered Stoicism.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_aurelius-sayings.1916