The work we call the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius was entitled in the lost manuscript that Xylander used for the first printed edition (1559) Μάρκου Ἀντωνίνου αὐτοκράτορος τῶν εἰς ἑαυτὸν βιβλίων. This title was apparently unknown to a Byzantine historian of the fourteenth century, and may rest merely on the impression the work made on one reader, who affixed it to his copy. But that impression was surely just; even Book I, of which more later, is an intimate document, and Books II to XII a kind of spiritual diary, which Marcus wrote in moments of leisure, probably with his own hand, just as he continued to the end of his life to send autograph letters to his friends (Dio lxxi, 36, 2), and on parchment books, to which he could most easily refer, like those used by Aelius Aristides (xlviii, 8 K) to record his dreams; such books, intended for his own eyes alone, need have had no title. If this view is correct, the Meditations provide evidence unique in antiquity and perhaps in any age for the inmost thoughts of a ruler. The most cursory perusal will indeed show that Marcus was mainly concerned with the divine order of the universe and with the place of man in that order; overt personal allusions are rare. Yet it would be strange if his reflections were not on closer inspection to reveal traces of his own personal experience. I shall argue later that the very frequency with which he recurs to certain topics indicates the preoccupations of the ruler and has historical implications that have not been recognized, even by those who see the work as a spiritual diary and not in any sense as a philosophical treatise. But since that interpretation has not gone without challenge or modification, more must be said to justify it. I shall first discuss Books II to XII and then Book I.