Today in the Middle Ages: April 20, 161

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was born on April 20, 161 CE.

Even more admirable than the character in the movie Gladiator, the real Marcus Aurelius was a serious-minded and scholarly man devoted to the public welfare. When money was needed to put down a provincial rebellion, he sold some of his own treasures rather than raise taxes. His Meditations, written day by day through his reign and military campaigns, reflect his Stoic philosophy.

From the Meditations:

"If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it."

"Begin - to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished."

"How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it."