Whoever comes to Rome, however brief, would hardly miss the Capitol, meaning that they will see Marcus Aurelius’ equestrian statue. Also standing in Rome is the Marcus Aurelius column extolling emperor’s victories. Yet Marcus Aurelius was not just another emperor. He was also a philosopher. His Meditations (Letters to Myself) written in Greek and discovered after his having died in a military expedition is a work that elevates the Roman emperor to the likes of Montaigne, Seneca and Solomon. “As long as you are alive, as long as you can – be good.” “No man is happy until he considers himself happy.”
“The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.”
Ilya Ilf jokingly wondered, “Was Marcus Aurelius no a Jew?” Not quite, but a cosmopolitan he was. As attested by the words of Marcus Aurelius himself: “As the Emperor Antoninus (that is, an emperor of the Antoninus dynasty), Rome is my homeland; but as a man, I am the citizen of the world.” Now a portrait of this citizen of the world can be found throughout Europe: the Italians placed it on their version of the 50 Eurocent coin. Marcus Aurelius conquers Europe – once again.