"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature."
I'm not usually very thrilled by the Stoics.
'You're born, life's miserable, then you die, there's nothing you can do about it etc.'
But I can really relate to this pearl of wisdom from the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius .
I try to dismiss negative thoughts whenever they threaten and mostly I find it works making me a calmer, happier person.
Speaking of Marcus Aurelius one of my all time favourite films is
The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)
staring Sophia Loren and Steven Boyd
You can keep 'Gladiator' which covers pretty much the same period of history but not nearly so stylishly.
( I could never get past that bit where his nose runs Euch!!)
This film is pure class.
The opening and closing narratives always give me goose bumps.
“Two of the greatest problems in history are how to account for the rise of Rome and how to account for her fall. We may come nearer to understanding the truth, if we remember that the fall of Rome, like her rise, had not one cause, but many. And it was not an event, but a process spread over 300 years. Some nations have not lasted as long as Rome fell…”
"This was the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. A great civilization is not conquered from without, until it has destroyed itself from within."
I could watch it over and again.
Christopher Plumber as an excellently loopy Emperor Commodus
"If you listen carefully you will hear the gods laughing'
Okay the costumes aren't very accurate which would normally nark me as a veteran of historical re-enactment societies where everything had to be 'authentic' (and to be honest it sucked the fun out of it sometimes) but here it simply doesn't matter.
If you haven't ever seen it
Whilst we're talking Romans I also quite like
(The only thing with Clive Owen that I've ever managed to watch to the end)
'The Last Legion'
Although it bears little relationship to the book it's based upon (oh yes I have actually read 'The Last Legion' by Valerio Massimo Manfredi and it is a mind-bendingly boring read)
and last but by no means least ;)