A Book I Recommend Reading

When I was in Italy earlier this year, I went on a night tour of the colosseum, courtesy of a gift from my sister.  This night tour allows you to do things not available to the general public, namely going onto the restored floor of the colosseum and visiting the holding bays underground.  It was an exceptional experience, and one that I would recommend to anyone planning to travel to Rome.

The tour itself did not start at the Colosseum.  It commenced at the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument.  From there, we walked up the steps of Capitoline Hill and then via some sights of the Roman Forum.

Whist at Capitoline Hill, we visited the replica statue of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.  For those of you who aren't aware, Marcus Aurelius was the old emperor shown at the beginning of the movie gladiator.

Whilst he was the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius was also a stoic philosopher.  Today, he is one of three of the major stoics whose works remain; the other two are Seneca and Epictetus.  Marcus' book, 'Meditations' is an excellent read.

I read the Meditations at university in my spare time and was very impressed by it.  It helped me through some very tough points of life back in 2009.

Our tour guide recommended reading it to everyone on the tour.  I have started reading it again, and it is a book I would recommend to you.  It is a very simple entry point for reading philosophy, and despite being nearly 2,000 years old is still very practical today.

There are a few translations of Marcus' work; I've seen about four and own two.  Marketing genius Ryan Holiday prefers the Hays' translation, but I personally prefer the Penguin edition.  I don't think you would go wrong with either, but the Hays' translation would appear to be a more modern English style when compared to the Penguin edition.

You can buy the Penguin edition of the book here and the Hays' edition here.  I make no commission from these links, and the shipping via book depository is free.

Have you read any ancient philosophy?  If so, which books would you recommend?