Marcus Aurelius: The Jordan Peterson of the ancient world

Is he the most overrated Roman Emperor?

Philipp Stelzel - Digital Creator
2 min readApr 25, 2024


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Marcus Aurelius was the Jordan Peterson of the ancient world.

He talked a lot about living a good and meaningful life, but didn’t act according to his principles.

Today, he is considered the most famous representative of this philosophical guild, mainly because of his book, which remains a bestseller, even after 1,900 years.

But is his fame justified, and was he really the best emperor Rome ever had?


Because as the best emperor, he would have chosen a better successor, just as his predecessor Antoninus Pius.

Instead, he raised a hedonistic and psychopathic son who ended the stable years of the “good emperors” Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius, accelerating the fall of Rome.

This does not mean that Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” isn’t a worthwhile read; one can find many wisdoms in his writings.

However, they should be approached with caution, just as one should not take Jordan Peterson’s statements at face value, since he was recently struggling with severe depression and a benzo dependency.

So can he really help you get your life together?

Marcus Aurelius was certainly a wise man, but as a father and as an emperor, he failed.

This is not an attack on this man but a reminder not to idolize anyone and to pay more attention to what someone actually achieved in their life rather than just what they say.



Philipp Stelzel - Digital Creator

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