London: George Bell and Sons, 1897. Item #04528
The Thoughts of Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Superbly Bound by Zaehnsdorf in 1900
ZAEHNSDORF, binders. AURELIUS, Marcus. The Thoughts of The Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Reprinted from the Revised Translation of George Long. London: George Bell and Sons, 1897.
Handmade Paper Edition (first published in 1862).
Small octavo (6 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches; 159 x 95 mm.). [viii], 287, [1, imprint] pp. Text leaves partially uncut.
Handsomely bound in 1900 by Zaehnsdorf of London for C. Scribner's Sons, New York (Stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in and black on verso of front endpaper). Full green morocco, covers with double-gilt rules surrounding an elaborate gilt design of twelve gilt flowers with intertwined foliage, spine with five raised bands, elaborately tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, double-ruled gilt board edges and turn-ins, dark green silk liners and endleaves, top edge gilt, others uncut. Spine sunned to a shade of olive green. A fine example of the work of this exceptional London binder.
Marcus Aurelius. Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; [26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as the Meditations, is the most significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East: Aurelius' general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, & Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, although the threat of the Germanic tribes began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately.
Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, are still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.