MARCUS AURELIUS ~ EMPEROR AND PHILOSOPHER
Emperor and Philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Aurelius) was born into a wealthy family in Rome, Italy on
April A.D. 121 to Marcus Annius Verus and Domitia Lucilla. As stated in the Introduction
of “Meditations” after the death of his father (Aurelius was still a young child at the time) his
grandfather, also named Marcus Annis Verus adopted him. (Rees, 1960, viii)
As a privileged youth, Aurelius was afforded many things, including individual private
tutoring at his home in Rome. (Rees, 1960, p. viii)
Within the pages of Meditations, Book I, it is
clear to the reader that Aurelius was very fond of not only his family, but some of his tutors as
Aurelius acknowledges individually, the people who impacted and influenced his life in
one way or another, whether it was by teaching him the lessons of life and preparing him for his
future and what laid before him or one of a deep meaningful and genuine love and admiration for
his family and their adoration for him and the traits he inherited from each person mentioned in
Book I. (Aurelius, 1944, p. 1-6)
During his childhood, Aurelius was taught in the languages of
Latin and Greek, in addition to lessons of Greek literature.
Aurelius had one particular tutor that
he favored most and held a great deal of affection for, Marcus Cornelius Fronto.
Not long after beginning his studies with Fronto, who was a leader in the literary
movement of the day, and affected a highly precious style studded with archaisms: Aurelius
abandoned an education that stressed form rather than content.
(Rees, 1960 p. viii-xvii)
rather young age of twelve, Aurelius adopted the dressing style of a philosopher and shortly
thereafter, the hardiness, pursuing his studies clad in a Greek style cloak and sleeping on the
ground, depriving himself of some of the basic comforts in life.
Only at his mother’s continued
urging did Aurelius take to sleeping on a bed made of straw and animal skins.