Marcus Aurelius states clearly in Meditations that he himself did not partake in any more poetry or rhetoric than was required of him to write, read, and proficiently understand. His writing has the intent of being anything but ostentatious, but rather stoic, concise, and purposeful. Through language—written in this instance—the Emperor forwent with formalities, reputed excessive rhetoric, and presumed intrinsically contentious the poetic language, only to ensure his diction was pure and honest to purpose.

Being a fan of art and all of its mediums, my first attempt to capture the Roman’s meaning was no more than a grasp at a sand rope. Overtime, with more reading, I eventually realized the beautify in his veracity. Aurelius’ attempt; no, his ability to speak and write with absolute command over emotion and directness of thought was in itself poetic. Akin to nature’s auspicious scenic viewpoints or a child’s smile, purity is conveyed and felt without embellishment or illusion.

Art in the absence of art, might be the most beautiful picture never painted. His Meditations were for himself a manuscript, and to the world a masterpiece. Lessons for one man’s life breathed life into another man’s lessons.

Andrew T. Ramirez