Christopher Gill (Exeter)

Talk title: "Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Book 1: How Roman and How Stoic?"

Abstract: This lecture contributes to the burgeoning field of Roman philosophy by a close reading of book of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, focusing on the interplay between typically Roman and Stoic strands. Book 1 has a rather different ‘voice’ from the other books, gives a prominent role to Roman themes, and is less obviously informed by Stoic ideas. However, on closer inspection, the approach and organisation of the book is decisively shaped by Stoic thinking, especially on ethical development; its use of exemplarity is also informed by Stoic thinking. However, Marcus assumes a version of Stoic ethics and politics which is compatible with engagement with Roman social modes. The lecture closes by considering the conception of self, and self-shaping, implied in Book 1.