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From Vol. 4, Issue 8, August 2022

Marcus Aurelius on the human condition


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Illustrated by Ze Nuno Frag [Extracts from Verissimus]

Marcus Fronto, the tutor of Marcus Aurelius, talks about the pandemic that has been devastating the country. He says that death would be preferable under these circumsannces. Marcus Aurelius points out that death is a human experience common to every one of us and therefore cannot be good or bad.

Images from VERISSIMUS: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson. Copyright © 2022 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

After advising his friends, Marcus Aurelius turns to his Stoic mentor Junius Rusticus and describes the problems he has been facing. Rusticus reminds Marcus of Stoic lessons such as “Our distress is due less things in themselves than our opinions about them” and “Everything changs, nothing lasts forever,” and “What matters is how we respond to it - whether wisely or foolishly.