Literary Notes - The Philosophy of Antoninus

All quotes are derived from the George Long translation included as an addendum to his translation of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, made available in the Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading version.

"The Physic of Antoninus is the knowledge of the Nature of the Universe, of its government, and of the relation of man’s nature to both. He names the universe “the universal substance”, and he adds that “reason” governs the universe. He also uses the terms “universal nature” or “nature of the universe.” He calls the universe “the one and all, which we name Cosmos or Order”. If he ever seems to use these general terms as significant of the All, of all that man can in anyway conceive to exist, he still on other occasions plainly distinguishes between Matter, Material things, and Cause, Origin, Reason." (Meditations, pg. 132)

"It is God who gives us form to matter, but he is not said to have created matter. According to this view, which is as old as Anaxagoras, God and matter exist independently, but God governs matter. This doctrine is simply the expression of the fact of the existence both of matter and of God." (Meditations, pg. 132)

"His view of Nature was in harmony with his fixed belief in the all-pervading, ever-present, and ever-active energy of God." (Meditations, pg. 135)


"Antoninus says that “everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be” … out of which we may derive something; for he destroys by it not all practical, but all speculative notions of cause and effect. The whole series of things, as they appear to us, must be contemplated in time, that is, in succession, and we conceive or suppose intervals between one state of things and another state of things, so that there is priority and sequence, and interval, and Being, and a ceasing to Be, and beginning and ending. But there is nothing of the kind in the Nature of Things. It is an everlasting continuity." (Meditations, pg. 136)