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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.   

This Penguin Classic is performed by Richard Armitage, star of Peter Jackson'sThe Hobbit trilogy and also known for his roles in Ocean's 8 and Spooks. This definitive recording is translated with notes by Martin Hammond and an introduction by Diskin Clay. Originally written only for his personal consumption, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations has become a key text in the understanding of Roman Stoic philosophy.   

Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and Aurelius's own emotions. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years.  

Martin Hammond's new translation fully expresses the intimacy and eloquence of the original work, with detailed notes elucidating the text. This edition also includes an introduction by Diskin Clay, exploring the nature and development of the Meditations. Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus (121-80) was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius and succeeded him in 161, (as joint emperor with adoptive brother Lucius Verus). He ruled alone from 169, and spent much of his reign in putting down various rebellions, and was a persecutor of Christians. His fame rest, above all, on his Meditations, a series of reflections, strongly influenced by Epictetus, which represent a Stoic outlook on life. He was succeeded by his natural son, thus ending the period of the adoptive emperors.

Public Domain (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Meditations

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Ancient Wisdom Which Still Resonates

I feared this might be dry and dusty but I was amazed by how much of the wisdom/philosophy/thoughts of a Roman emperor still applies in today's world.
I kept stopping the recording to write things down and think about them. When I had finished I immediately bought a print copy so that I can more easily find some of the sections I found particularly relevant and helpful.
Try it - you might be surprised by it.

Great, sympathetic narration style by Richard Armitage.

12 people found this helpful

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Not the Meditations, but a commentary thereof

I got this audiobook for my Dad, who's interested in stoicism, and wanted to hear an audio version of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. As this had the prestigious Penguin name attached to it, I thought it would be good. Unfortunately, my Dad has listened to it, and says it's a commentary on the Meditations, NOT a reading of the actual Meditations. Get this one instead: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Meditations-Audiobook/B004IBT3S2

The reading is top-notch, and easy to understand. Pity it's not a reading of the Meditations.

12 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal

Absolutely fantastic. Genius, insightful words from an inspirational life; talking of transcendance, nature and life, helping one to align with whatever power there may be and live a fulfilling life.

Simply amazing.

4 people found this helpful

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Thank you Marcus Aurelius

This book has finally helped me find the strength within I've been searching for for years. We all have an inner city within us that we should cherish everyday. There in lies the passions of our true nature, answers we are looking for and the actions we need to take.

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True wisdom

The book contains so much value that it is difficult to convey in a review. Written by a man that has led an empire through many wars, at the same time took the time to reflect on life and distill many valuable principles. What can be more true today? After reading this book, you see the grand picture of life and by doing so you understand that humankind has not progressed in the past 2000 years in our understanding of life itself.

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This has changed my outlook on life!

Marcus Aurelius is now one of the 5 people from history I'd invite to dinner. His view of the world is inspirational. I had no idea what expect from this. I only bought it because Richard Armitage reads everything beautifully and it didn't let me down. I will listen to this multiple times. I hope that I can take on some of his wisdom! Definitely recommend!!!

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Perfect

I would listen to Richard Armitage read the phone book, and given that that's what book 1 of Meditations reads like I'm not exaggerating. A classic text read by an amazing performer. More classics from Armitage please!

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great book

Insightful good at getting your head straight in this manic modern world we live in!

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Powerful experience!

Loved it. Fantastic historical summery at the beginning to place the piece in time and type of philosophy. Great voice, soothing. Perfect for contemplation. Brilliant piece. Powerful experience

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There are many more, better alternatives!

Ugh, should have paid more attention to Adrian's review that this is a commentary and not the meditations. Not even a very good commentary at that - all over the place and no critical analysis or systematic appraisal. Even Richard Armitage couldn't redeem this one! Will be returning this to get my credit back.

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  • Jon
  • 21-10-19

Clear narration, excellent translation.

I originally bought the version by Nexus, but changed it as it was a bit of a struggle to understand it. The narrator of this Penguin version is an experienced actor (see the Penguin website for more info), and as a result the reading is clear and understandable, with the correct emphasis, breaks, etc. The translation is different from the popular Hays translation, with the emphasis of this edition seems to be to capture the eloquence of the emperor. The volume could be louder but otherwise superb.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Nick
  • 09-01-21

Lines cut to fit PC culture

This book is amazing but Audible cut lines to fit PC culture. Shameful really. Please check out the physical copy of the book to get all the content.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Yixiao
  • 18-12-20

overall good but an interesting observation...

In the first chapter, the text ( as published by Penguine Classics translated by Martin Hammond) has " putting a stop to homosexual love of young men;" after "to reward impartially, giving everyone their due; experience of where to tighten, where to relax;"

It is deliberately skipped by the narrator. It does say a lot about the narrator. This political correctness BS that has gone so far that we are deliberately manipulating ancient texts.

Kinda scary.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Katie Cselovszki
  • 15-10-19

Enlightenment by Marcus A. Enjoyment by Richard A.

No better voice to bring the words of Marcus Aurelius to life that Richard Armitage.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Betsy Fowler
  • 17-10-19

Penguin Audio of Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

This audiobook is evidently based on a modern edition of this work and it would be nice to know who created it. Richard Armitage's performance saves it from audio purgatory, as his energy and clarity (and ever-mellifluous voice) help to make abstruse sentences understandable. (The introduction however, despite his best efforts, is very hard going and not good material for an audiobook.) I would recommend listening twice to some chapters to pick up more of the meaning.

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  • Sarah Brabazon
  • 06-12-19

I’ve often said I could listen to Richard Armitage narrate bus timetables.

I think listening to this work through is a very good first introduction to Marcus Aurelius’ meditations, but in order to actually meditate on them, I’ll need a paper copy to annotate and take extracts from. As a complete listening experience, it was not too different from listening to the wonderful voice of Richard Armitage read bus timetables, as thoughtworthy statement after statement piles up, until the whole feels like a parent haranguing their child... and then I’m reminded that these are the private thoughts of an emperor, and probably every word should be attended to. So, I’m off to find a copy in a bookshop, right after I listen to the introduction again.

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  • LauSet
  • 18-05-20

Could listen to this over and over

Great way to stay grounded and to maintain reason and perspective. The teachings of Marcus Aurelius really helps you to focus on your character and discipline. Fosters a sense of gratitude and personal ownership.

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  • Pamala Tomlinson
  • 07-11-20

must read

everyone should read this. It was like remembering my purpose. If people only held these truths in today's time the world would be a better place

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  • Evelyn
  • 28-10-20

Absolutely excellent narration to a great work

This narration by Clay is one of the best, absolutely excellent control of pace and ease of listening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-10-20

Academic Commentary Not Needed

The Meditations themselves are very powerful, but the academic commentary in the introduction was not necessary. The commentary wasn't a waste of time, but you might consider skipping it to get straight to the good stuff.

1 person found this helpful