Julius Cesar reached the empire through the use of his spear, Augustus was emperor by inheritance, Caligula because his father conquered Germania, Neron held the empire by tyranny, Tito was emperor because he subjugated Judea, The good Trajan reached the empire by way of effort and nobleness, Marcus Aurelius upheld the empire by the principals of good governance. Unlike his predecessors and successors he is characterized for his wisdom, patience and good judgment. It is said that upon expiring, a small tablet was found by his bedside, written by him in Greek, left as a spiritual testament that reads as follows: Never sublime the tyrant rich, nor abhor the just poor Never deny justice to the poor, nor pardon to the rich for being wealthy Never have mercy out of affection, nor infer punishment out of passion Never leave evil acts without punishment, and good ones without a prize Never deny justice to whomever requests it, nor mercy to whom deserves it Never punish when irritated, nor make promises of grace when being cheerful Never be careless in oversight during prosperity, never despair during adversity Never commit wrongdoing for the sake of malice, nor vile out of avarice and greed Never open the door to adulators, nor give ear to gossipers Always favor the needed, because they are barely able, as you have been favored by the gods that are entirely capable Always aim to be loved by the good people and be feared by the bad ones
Translated from Greek by Brother Antonio de Guevara in 1520 for the purpose of educating in proper governance the princes of the Spanish kingdom (Charles I and Phillip II). Marcus Aurelius was born in the year 121 of Hispanic origin. This translation from Spanish to English by Victor Suarez in 2007.