Maurcus Aurelius

The Greek text of this book is often difficult and in many places corrupt beyond cure, but no trouble has been spared to make the translation as accurate and idiomatic as possible. I have preferred to err, if error it be, on the side of over-faithfulness, because the physiognomy of the book owes so much to the method and style in which it is written. Its homeliness, abruptness, and want of literary finish (though it does not lack rhetoric) are part of the character of the work, and we alter this character by rewriting it into the terse, epigrammatic, staccato style so much in vogue at the present day. Another reason for literalness is that it makes a comparison with the Greek, printed beside it, easier for the unlearned. When a work has been translated so often as this one, it is difficult to be original without deviating further from the text, but I have not borrowed a phrase, scarcely a word, from any of my predecessors. If unconscious coincidences appear, it remains only to say Pereant qui ante nos nostra dixerint! Numerous references (such as have proved so invaluable for the due understanding of the Bible) and good indices have always been greatly wanted in the translations of this work, and I have taken pains to supply the want. For a better understanding of the character of Marcus I have added to the Thoughts translations of his Speeches and Sayings, with a Note on his attitude towards the Christians (in which I am glad to find myself in complete agreement with M. Lemercier). A companion volume on the Correspondence with Fronto will contain all his extant Letters. In conclusion my best thanks are due to Messrs. Teubner for permission to use their text as the basis of the revised one here printed, to Professors Leopold and Schenkl for advice and help on various points, and, last but not least, to my predecessors in the translation of this "Golden Book."