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Marcus Aurelius Biography

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  • stillcircle
    My apologies if this has been dealt with elsewhere, and I am happy in such instances to be directed to the relevant link. However, I was wondering if anyone
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 1, 2010
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      My apologies if this has been dealt with elsewhere, and I am happy in such instances to be directed to the relevant link.

      However, I was wondering if anyone has read Frank McLynn's biography of Marcus Aurelius, "Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor" (Vintage Press, 2010).

      I have only read the first six chapters so far (120 pages of 567), and yet it seems clear to me that McLynn's main purpose appears to be to do a hatchet job on Stoicism (which he repeatedly describes as "brutal and inhuman"), as well as generally trash the reputations of Marcus' predecessors, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.

      Concerning Marcus himself, McLynn appears more ambivalent: he conceeds that Marcus Aurelius was, generally speaking, an effective and relatively benevolent ruler, if an appalling judge of character with a weakness for religious charlatans; at a personal level, he appears to paint Marcus as a combination of genuine contemplative and philosopher on one hand, as well as a moralistic, humourless prig on the other.

      As I say, I am still reading the book, but I would be curious to know what others think.

      In Fellowship,

      Brendan Byrne
    • Curt Steinmetz
      This has been discussed here, but I don t see anything wrong with bringing it up again. In my opinion it sounds like you have already done a good job of sizing
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 1, 2010
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        This has been discussed here, but I don't see anything wrong with bringing it up again. In my opinion it sounds like you have already done a good job of sizing up McLynn!

        Obviously the best thing to do is to study Marcus Aurelius for oneself and make up one's own mind. In doing that it can be quite useful to familiarize yourself with the arguments of people who have a view of Stoicism that is very different from your own, especially if you use it as an opportunity to more thoroughly analyze your own opinions.

        But to be honest I don't see why it should be necessary to slog through all 567 pages of McLynn's garbage. There are plenty of other, and far superior, contemporary works on Stoicism and/or Marcus Aurelius available. My three personal favorites are

        Epictetus, a Stoic and Socratic Life by A.A. Long
        http://books.google.com/books?id=f28ydYC4XeUC
        http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2002/2002-11-03.html

        The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Pierre Hadot
        http://books.google.com/books?id=3dLVyyDE-vQC
        http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1998/1998-11-35.html

        The Morality of Happiness by Julia Annas
        (an excellent guide to ancient philosophical approaches to ethics)
        http://books.google.com/books?id=KRfwSjk3fBcC
        http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1994/94.06.09.html

        Curt Steinmetz

        --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "stillcircle" <stillcircle@...> wrote:
        >
        > My apologies if this has been dealt with elsewhere, and I am happy in such instances to be directed to the relevant link.
        >
        > However, I was wondering if anyone has read Frank McLynn's biography of Marcus Aurelius, "Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor" (Vintage Press, 2010).
        >
        > I have only read the first six chapters so far (120 pages of 567), and yet it seems clear to me that McLynn's main purpose appears to be to do a hatchet job on Stoicism (which he repeatedly describes as "brutal and inhuman"), as well as generally trash the reputations of Marcus' predecessors, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.
        >
        > Concerning Marcus himself, McLynn appears more ambivalent: he conceeds that Marcus Aurelius was, generally speaking, an effective and relatively benevolent ruler, if an appalling judge of character with a weakness for religious charlatans; at a personal level, he appears to paint Marcus as a combination of genuine contemplative and philosopher on one hand, as well as a moralistic, humourless prig on the other.
        >
        > As I say, I am still reading the book, but I would be curious to know what others think.
        >
        > In Fellowship,
        >
        > Brendan Byrne
        >
      • Leo Iermano
        Hi Brendan I noticed you are from Australia. I am from Melbourne and I meet regularly with another fellow stoic and exchange books and engage in chitchat re
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 2, 2010
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          Hi Brendan

          I noticed you are from Australia. I am from Melbourne and I meet regularly with another fellow stoic and exchange books and engage in chitchat re Stoicism. Let me know if you are interested in joining us.

          Regards

          Leo

          --- On Thu, 1/7/10, stillcircle <stillcircle@...> wrote:

          From: stillcircle <stillcircle@...>
          Subject: [stoics] Marcus Aurelius Biography
          To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
          Received: Thursday, 1 July, 2010, 10:32 PM

           

          My apologies if this has been dealt with elsewhere, and I am happy in such instances to be directed to the relevant link.

          However, I was wondering if anyone has read Frank McLynn's biography of Marcus Aurelius, "Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor" (Vintage Press, 2010).

          I have only read the first six chapters so far (120 pages of 567), and yet it seems clear to me that McLynn's main purpose appears to be to do a hatchet job on Stoicism (which he repeatedly describes as "brutal and inhuman"), as well as generally trash the reputations of Marcus' predecessors, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.

          Concerning Marcus himself, McLynn appears more ambivalent: he conceeds that Marcus Aurelius was, generally speaking, an effective and relatively benevolent ruler, if an appalling judge of character with a weakness for religious charlatans; at a personal level, he appears to paint Marcus as a combination of genuine contemplative and philosopher on one hand, as well as a moralistic, humourless prig on the other.

          As I say, I am still reading the book, but I would be curious to know what others think.

          In Fellowship,

          Brendan Byrne


           
        • stillcircle
          Hi Leo: Yes, I am from Australia and, as it happens, Melbourne. I would enjoy catching up for a conversation, although my time in the next month is severely
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 2, 2010
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            Hi Leo:

            Yes, I am from Australia and, as it happens, Melbourne.

            I would enjoy catching up for a conversation, although my time in the next month is severely limited, and beyond that my availability is patchy due to study commitments (I am nearly through a Batchelor of Theology degree and am training for the ordained ministry).

            However, as no-one else I know is even remotely interested in Stoicism or Marcus Aurelius, I would be pleased to meet other people who are. So whenever you are getting together, let me know and I'll see if I can join you.

            In fellowship,

            Brendan Byrne

            --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Leo Iermano <leoiermano@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Brendan
            >
            > I noticed you are from Australia. I am from Melbourne and I meet regularly with another fellow stoic and exchange books and engage in chitchat re Stoicism. Let me know if you are interested in joining us.
            >
            > Regards
            >
            > Leo
            >
            > --- On Thu, 1/7/10, stillcircle <stillcircle@...> wrote:
            >
            > From: stillcircle <stillcircle@...>
            > Subject: [stoics] Marcus Aurelius Biography
            > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
            > Received: Thursday, 1 July, 2010, 10:32 PM
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >  
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > My apologies if this has been dealt with elsewhere, and I am happy in such instances to be directed to the relevant link.
            >
            >
            >
            > However, I was wondering if anyone has read Frank McLynn's biography of Marcus Aurelius, "Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor" (Vintage Press, 2010).
            >
            >
            >
            > I have only read the first six chapters so far (120 pages of 567), and yet it seems clear to me that McLynn's main purpose appears to be to do a hatchet job on Stoicism (which he repeatedly describes as "brutal and inhuman"), as well as generally trash the reputations of Marcus' predecessors, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.
            >
            >
            >
            > Concerning Marcus himself, McLynn appears more ambivalent: he conceeds that Marcus Aurelius was, generally speaking, an effective and relatively benevolent ruler, if an appalling judge of character with a weakness for religious charlatans; at a personal level, he appears to paint Marcus as a combination of genuine contemplative and philosopher on one hand, as well as a moralistic, humourless prig on the other.
            >
            >
            >
            > As I say, I am still reading the book, but I would be curious to know what others think.
            >
            >
            >
            > In Fellowship,
            >
            >
            >
            > Brendan Byrne
            >
          • JIM GODDARD
            Hello All, The meeting idea is a good one and I hope it works out well for you in Australia. I ve sometimes thought of setting something up here in the UK
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 3, 2010
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              Hello All,

              The meeting idea is a good one and I hope it works out well for you in Australia. I've sometimes thought of setting something up here in the UK (probably in London), but perhaps when life is a bit less frantic. However, I'd be interested to hear from anyone else out there if you have got any little Stoic networks of people who actually meet up from time to time and how it works out.

              Regards,

              Jim

              --- On Sat, 3/7/10, stillcircle <stillcircle@...> wrote:

              From: stillcircle <stillcircle@...>
              Subject: [stoics] Re: Marcus Aurelius Biography
              To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Saturday, 3 July, 2010, 6:15

               

              Hi Leo:

              Yes, I am from Australia and, as it happens, Melbourne.

              I would enjoy catching up for a conversation, although my time in the next month is severely limited, and beyond that my availability is patchy due to study commitments (I am nearly through a Batchelor of Theology degree and am training for the ordained ministry).

              However, as no-one else I know is even remotely interested in Stoicism or Marcus Aurelius, I would be pleased to meet other people who are. So whenever you are getting together, let me know and I'll see if I can join you.

              In fellowship,

              Brendan Byrne

              --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Leo Iermano <leoiermano@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Brendan
              >
              > I noticed you are from Australia. I am from Melbourne and I meet regularly with another fellow stoic and exchange books and engage in chitchat re Stoicism. Let me know if you are interested in joining us.
              >
              > Regards
              >
              > Leo
              >
              > --- On Thu, 1/7/10, stillcircle <stillcircle@...> wrote:
              >
              > From: stillcircle <stillcircle@...>
              > Subject: [stoics] Marcus Aurelius Biography
              > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
              > Received: Thursday, 1 July, 2010, 10:32 PM
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Â
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > My apologies if this has been dealt with elsewhere, and I am happy in such instances to be directed to the relevant link.
              >
              >
              >
              > However, I was wondering if anyone has read Frank McLynn's biography of Marcus Aurelius, "Marcus Aurelius: Warrior, Philosopher, Emperor" (Vintage Press, 2010).
              >
              >
              >
              > I have only read the first six chapters so far (120 pages of 567), and yet it seems clear to me that McLynn's main purpose appears to be to do a hatchet job on Stoicism (which he repeatedly describes as "brutal and inhuman"), as well as generally trash the reputations of Marcus' predecessors, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.
              >
              >
              >
              > Concerning Marcus himself, McLynn appears more ambivalent: he conceeds that Marcus Aurelius was, generally speaking, an effective and relatively benevolent ruler, if an appalling judge of character with a weakness for religious charlatans; at a personal level, he appears to paint Marcus as a combination of genuine contemplative and philosopher on one hand, as well as a moralistic, humourless prig on the other.
              >
              >
              >
              > As I say, I am still reading the book, but I would be curious to know what others think.
              >
              >
              >
              > In Fellowship,
              >
              >
              >
              > Brendan Byrne
              >

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