Marcus Aurelius, Sayings

LCL 58: 362-363

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Marcus Aurelius

τινι ἀνθρώπους ὁποίους βούλεται ἔχειν ἀδύνατόν ἐστι,1 τοῖς δε δὴ οὖσι προσήκει, ἐς ὅ τι ἄν τις αὐτῶν τῷ κοινῷ χρήσιμος ᾖ, χρῆσθαι.”

(5) Capit. xxii. 3, 4.

Semper cum optimatibus non solum bellicas res sed etiam civiles, priusquam faceret aliquid, contulit. Denique sententia illius praecipua semper haec fuit: “Aequius est, ut ego tot talium amicorum2 consilium sequar, quam ut tot tales amici meam unius voluntatem sequantur.”

(6) Dio, 71.29, § 3.

Οὕτω γε πόρρω παντὸς φόνου καθειστήκει ὥστε καὶ λεόντά τινα δεδιδαγμένον ἀνθρώπους ἐσθίειν ἐκέλευσε μὲν ἐπαχθῆναι αἰτησαμένου τοῦ δήμου, οὔτε δὲ ἐκεῖνον εἶδεν οὔτε τὸν διδάσκαλον αὐτοῦ ἠλευθέρωσε, καίπερ ἐπὶ πολὺ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐγκειμένων οἱ, ἀλλὰ καὶ κηρυχθῆναι προσέταξεν ὅτι “οὐδὲν ἄξιον ἐλευθερίας πεποίηκεν.”3

(7) Capit. xix. 8.

De qua (sc. Faustina) cum diceretur Antonino Marco, ut eam repudiaret, si non occideret, dixisse fertur: “Si


The Sayings of Marcus

one wishes them to be, but it is our duty to utilize them, such as they are, for any service in which they can be useful to the common weal.


Not only in military but also in civil affairs, before doing anything, he always consulted the chief men of the State. In fact this was ever a favourite saying of his: It is fairer that I should follow the advice of Friends so many and so wise, than that Friends so wise and so many should follow my single will.1


So averse from all bloodshed was his disposition that, though at the people’s request he allowed a lion trained to devour men to be introduced into the arena, yet he not only refused to look at it himself or to enfranchize its trainer, in spite of a persistent demonstration of the audience against him, but even had it proclaimed that the man had done nothing to deserve freedom.2


When it was said to Marcus Antoninus of his wife, that he should divorce her, if he did not slay her, he is reported to have said, If we dismiss the wife, let us also

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_aurelius-sayings.1916