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Meditations

Penguin Classics
Narrated by: Richard Armitage
Length: 6 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.   

This Penguin Classic is performed by Richard Armitage, star of Peter Jackson'sThe Hobbit trilogy and also known for his roles in Ocean's 8 and Spooks. This definitive recording is translated with notes by Martin Hammond and an introduction by Diskin Clay. Originally written only for his personal consumption, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations has become a key text in the understanding of Roman Stoic philosophy.   

Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and Aurelius's own emotions. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years.  

Martin Hammond's new translation fully expresses the intimacy and eloquence of the original work, with detailed notes elucidating the text. This edition also includes an introduction by Diskin Clay, exploring the nature and development of the Meditations. Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus (121-80) was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius and succeeded him in 161, (as joint emperor with adoptive brother Lucius Verus). He ruled alone from 169, and spent much of his reign in putting down various rebellions, and was a persecutor of Christians. His fame rest, above all, on his Meditations, a series of reflections, strongly influenced by Epictetus, which represent a Stoic outlook on life. He was succeeded by his natural son, thus ending the period of the adoptive emperors.

Public Domain (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Meditations

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Richard Armitage is the cherry on the cake

Meditations is perhaps the most life changing book I have ever read. It has elevated my consciousness and enlightened me with consideration of my life and urged me to ask “why am i doing this”.
I wish everyone should read this book.
Because, Marcus Aurelius has written this from the perspective of a god.

Because to us, it’s a straight line. But to him, this life is a circle.

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Profound Wisdom

Timeless words of Marcus Aurelius- as relevant in his times- the early decades of AD- is as of ours.

Richard Armitage is, as always, a joy to listen to! He brings depth of feeling to the performance. What a wonderful voice and diction!

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Listen again n again n again

It is not a book that one reads or listens once and keeps aside. It is something that pulls you again back to it..to show light. offer solace and give peace.

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not informative

i was struggling to keep up with the story and the info, its well difficult to understand the narrator

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good book but bhagvath geetha is quite better

good book but bhagvath geetha is quite better suggestion than this one. Anyways good read and perfect narration

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  • Jon
  • 21-10-19

Clear narration, excellent translation.

I originally bought the version by Nexus, but changed it as it was a bit of a struggle to understand it. The narrator of this Penguin version is an experienced actor (see the Penguin website for more info), and as a result the reading is clear and understandable, with the correct emphasis, breaks, etc. The translation is different from the popular Hays translation, with the emphasis of this edition seems to be to capture the eloquence of the emperor. The volume could be louder but otherwise superb.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Katie Cselovszki
  • 15-10-19

Enlightenment by Marcus A. Enjoyment by Richard A.

No better voice to bring the words of Marcus Aurelius to life that Richard Armitage.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth P. Fowler
  • 17-10-19

Penguin Audio of Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

This audiobook is evidently based on a modern edition of this work and it would be nice to know who created it. Richard Armitage's performance saves it from audio purgatory, as his energy and clarity (and ever-mellifluous voice) help to make abstruse sentences understandable. (The introduction however, despite his best efforts, is very hard going and not good material for an audiobook.) I would recommend listening twice to some chapters to pick up more of the meaning.

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  • Sarah Brabazon
  • 06-12-19

I’ve often said I could listen to Richard Armitage narrate bus timetables.

I think listening to this work through is a very good first introduction to Marcus Aurelius’ meditations, but in order to actually meditate on them, I’ll need a paper copy to annotate and take extracts from. As a complete listening experience, it was not too different from listening to the wonderful voice of Richard Armitage read bus timetables, as thoughtworthy statement after statement piles up, until the whole feels like a parent haranguing their child... and then I’m reminded that these are the private thoughts of an emperor, and probably every word should be attended to. So, I’m off to find a copy in a bookshop, right after I listen to the introduction again.

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  • LauSet
  • 18-05-20

Could listen to this over and over

Great way to stay grounded and to maintain reason and perspective. The teachings of Marcus Aurelius really helps you to focus on your character and discipline. Fosters a sense of gratitude and personal ownership.

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  • Notabiker
  • 02-08-20

Beautifully Produced.

Meditations is not just a book, it's a way of life. Wonderful wisdoms to live by, hours of material to drive introspection. I'll be listening to this text again and again and I will be better for it.

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  • Barbara
  • 24-04-20

Appropriate for These Times

This is the third translation I have read of Meditations and it is by far the best. Richard Armitage's narration was brilliant. I could imagine Marcus Aurelius at his desk, contemplating while writing these words. This is a book that I will listen to again and again to fully absorb his thoughts. I would recommend everyone read this and contemplate their own place in this world.

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  • Michael Eaton
  • 22-02-20

The Very Best Reading of the Meditations

Enough cannot be said of Richard Armitage’s reading of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. He speaks clearly, with the right intonations and pronunciation. It is a pleasure to listen to his reading. Further and more importantly, he helps the listener focus on the meaning of the words written by Aurelius.

Meditations was written by an imperfect but good man who was trying to find insights and lessons from his life, his thoughts, and the conduct and words of others. That an emperor of Rome could write such wisdom makes me wish that he could be with us in our day.

The translation used in the reading is by Martin Hammond, which can be found in “Marcus Aurelius, Meditations”, Penguin Classics. I found it very helpful to read the text as I listened to the Audible recording. Oddly enough, I was unable to find that book on Amazon and finally discovered a paperback copy at a local bookstore. Amazon should make the book available itself. And an ebook version would be of great benefit. Using a regular highlighter on paper is a pain — and too permanent.

There are dozens of readings of the Meditations available in Audible, some of them truly awful. Get Richard Armitage’s reading, even if you have others. His is by far the best.

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  • Bryan
  • 10-02-20

One of the best

I have a hard copy of this book. But this is the best voice narration of this book that is being sold on Audible. The voice, clarity, pace, it's perfect. It really makes it easy to focus on the writing.

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  • S. Martin
  • 07-02-20

So soothing

This is probably the most soothing thing I’ve ever listened too. It’s also quite encouraging.

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  • bookylady
  • 05-11-19

Ancient Wisdom Which Still Resonates

I feared this might be dry and dusty but I was amazed by how much of the wisdom/philosophy/thoughts of a Roman emperor still applies in today's world.
I kept stopping the recording to write things down and think about them. When I had finished I immediately bought a print copy so that I can more easily find some of the sections I found particularly relevant and helpful.
Try it - you might be surprised by it.

Great, sympathetic narration style by Richard Armitage.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-11-19

Phenomenal

Absolutely fantastic. Genius, insightful words from an inspirational life; talking of transcendance, nature and life, helping one to align with whatever power there may be and live a fulfilling life.

Simply amazing.

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  • Rebecca Sarna-Alexander
  • 27-05-20

Perfect

I would listen to Richard Armitage read the phone book, and given that that's what book 1 of Meditations reads like I'm not exaggerating. A classic text read by an amazing performer. More classics from Armitage please!

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  • Adrian
  • 02-01-20

Not the Meditations, but a commentary thereof

I got this audiobook for my Dad, who's interested in stoicism, and wanted to hear an audio version of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. As this had the prestigious Penguin name attached to it, I thought it would be good. Unfortunately, my Dad has listened to it, and says it's a commentary on the Meditations, NOT a reading of the actual Meditations. Get this one instead: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Meditations-Audiobook/B004IBT3S2

The reading is top-notch, and easy to understand. Pity it's not a reading of the Meditations.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-07-20

True wisdom

The book contains so much value that it is difficult to convey in a review. Written by a man that has led an empire through many wars, at the same time took the time to reflect on life and distill many valuable principles. What can be more true today? After reading this book, you see the grand picture of life and by doing so you understand that humankind has not progressed in the past 2000 years in our understanding of life itself.

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  • Yasmine Sander
  • 02-10-19

an unexpected and memorable Book!

It's a wonderful book! I somehow expected a nearly poetic take on how Marcus Aurelius experienced his life and I was in for an unexpected but very inspirational surprise. the introduction gives us a unique insight into the ara and How the author was regarded. you get a list of his titles he held; even more surprising that he was such a thoughtful and humble Man, who considered the mastery of philosophy the ultimate achievement. and then compare his insights, his meditations, to our current knowledge of Quantum Physics and Universal Laws: he speaks about that Nature is in order, in balance and that it's our souls who create disorder. he speaks about that we are all created from one source and therefore are all connected. we do have proof now that this is true. and his meditations give down-to-earth, simple and effective guidance to a happy life. and the narration of Richard Armitage is a perfect match! his calm, clear and yet passionate voice does wonderfully highlight the depth and wisdom of those meditations. I highly recommend this audible book. It's one I do and will listen to again and again!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-05-20

Bad recording

Regular fade-ins ruin the audio and cut out important words. It is disruptive to listening.