Marcus Aurelius reigned from 161 AD to 180 AD- perhaps the only true philosopher- king in the history of the world. In his MEDITATIONS, a series of notes to himself, he formulated his pantheist Stoic beliefs with a passionate religious conviction. The MEDITATIONS were written day by day, in every situation including war. They often appear to be responses to the stress of supreme power, from the imminent fear of death in battle, to the trials of everyday life. Gregory Hays, the translator, is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Virginia.