Τὰ ἑξῆς ἀεὶ τοῖς προηγησαμένοις οἰκείως ἐπιγίνεται
‘What follows is always organically related to what went before.’
Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher (121 - 180 AD)
This assertion is now the motto of the Gallo-Roman Museum. A deliberate choice. A society never functions by accident. There are reasons for a culture being what it is, for people doing what they do and for us doing what we do. As you will discover in the museum.
Born in 121 AD, Marcus Aurelius was the adopted son of Emperor Antoninus Pius. He became Emperor when his stepfather died, in 161 AD. He lived at the time when the Roman Empire was coming under threat. The Empire was constantly having to deal with attacks in border areas. During his reign the Germanic Marcomanni and Quadi tribes crossed the Alps and attacked Italy. He was repeatedly called upon to fend them off. Between 170 and 180 AD he stayed in the Roman camps on the Danube. He would spend some of the time in his army tent writing a work- in fact separate meditations - with the Greek title 'Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν', (‘To Myself’). Not until the 19th century was renewed interest shown in the work and it has now been translated several times. It is internationally recognised as a literary monument.
The work reflects both the Emperor's frame of mind and the state of the Roman Empire in general. In the wake of a lengthy period of steady expansion, the Romans had to contend with increasing pressure on the national borders. The Emperor himself found solace in the teachings of the Stoics, expressing his ideals and doubts. Unsurprisingly, he wrote the work in Greek: the language of the learned Roman.
Many regard Marcus Aurelius - the Emperor and philosopher - as the model of a fair and humane ruler. He died in 180 AD.