Marcus Aurelius was Roman emperor at the height of Rome's power and prosperity. Under his rule the Mediterranean world was better governed than at any time since. He was also a follower of the Stoic tradition of philosophy, and one of its finest advocates, both in the clarity and simplicity of his writing, and in the uprightness of his life. The Meditations are a set of aphorisms, personal reflections written by Marcus towards the end of his life, during the decade or more he spent campaigning in the remote Danube region. They show how even an emperor may be prey to doubt, anxiety and exasperation, and how for him, as perhaps for us all, the answer lies in submission to providence, and a refusal to be cast down or alarmed by things over which we have no control.