Best translation of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations
May 18, 2008 9:39 PM   Subscribe

What is the best English translation of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations out there, and why?
posted by ac to Religion & Philosophy (4 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Depends on what you want it for; as with many classical works, there's an essential tension between literalist translation and rendering of the style.

My own personal favorite is A.S.L. Farquharson's translation (first published 1944, available nicely-bound in the Everyman's Library edition), based almost entirely on the flowing prose he produces in Book II.

Maxwell Staniforth's (1960s, I believe Penguin still has it in print) translation and Gregory Hays' (2000s, Modern Library IIRC) translations are also well-spoken of.

And, hey, you can always learn Greek and read it in the original... :)
posted by ubernostrum at 10:04 PM on May 18, 2008

I haven't read the others, but Gregory Hays is very interesting, accessible and well written and gives a lot of interesting background and notes for almost every line.
posted by amethysts at 4:51 AM on May 19, 2008

Seconding the Hays translation. His version is very clear and readable, with lots of notes. In addition, he very clearly indicates where a fragment is lost, untranslatable, or in contention, and usually includes an explanation in the notes explaining why.
posted by Cassilda at 6:55 AM on May 19, 2008

Way late to the party, but definitely the Hays Modern Library translation. In a pinch the Penguin Classics will do, but the Hays translation is better.
posted by Locative at 12:08 PM on August 22, 2008

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