Rome is famous for its infrastructures and army which were led by Roman Emperors. But aside from those beyond impressive architecture and military traditions, the Roman Emperors have also left fascinating philosophical notions. Here are some of the greatest quotes from Roman Emperors.
1. I came, I saw, I conquered
In Latin, this quote goes, “Veni, vidi, vici.” It was a phrase used by Julius Caesar in a letter to the Roman Senate around 47 BC after achieving a quick victory in the short war against Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. It was used to refer to a swift, conclusive victory. Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman. He was also a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in transforming the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.
2. How pleasing to the wise and intelligent portion of mankind is the concord which exists among you
This quote is from Constantine the Great’s letter to the Antiochians. Constantine the Great was Roman Emperor from 306 to 307. He was also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine. He was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. Along with co-Emperor Licinius, they issued the Edict of Milan in 313 that proclaimed tolerance of all religions throughout the empire.
3. I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself that on the opinions of others
This quotation was from Marcus Aurelius or Marcus Aurelius Antonius Augustus. He was the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, and considered as the last of the Five Good Emperors. He was also one of the foremost Stoic philosophers of his time which was evident from his work called “Meditations” while he was conducting his military campaign. It was written entirely in Greek.
4. Say not always what you know, but always know what you say
This quotation was from Claudius or Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the Roman Emperor from 41 to 54 AD. He was Rome’s first ruler who was born outside of Italy. He was slightly deaf and had a limp but in spite of that, he proved himself to be an able administrator and patron of public building projects. During his reign, he also saw concerted attempts to conquer Britain. He was known to have fought an actual killer whale that was trapped in the Ostia harbor.
5. Young men, hear an old man to whom old men hearkened when he was young
This quote was from Augustus or Gaius Octavius. He was the founder of the Roman Empire and the first Emperor who ruled from 63 BC until his death in 14 AD. He was also Julius Caesar’s adopted heir. His reign started what is known as Pax Romana or the Roman Peace. It was an extensive period of almost two centuries when the Roman realm was not disturbed by any long-drawn major conflict even when the empire had regular territorial expansions into regions such as Germania, Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, and complete annexation of Hispania.
6. The universe is transformation: life is opinion
This is another quote from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was also known to have taken lessons in oratory from two Greek tutors and one Latin tutor. His choice of tutor made it evident how the Roman aristocracy of the time still valued Greek as a language.
7. Would that the Roman people had but one neck!
This quote was from Caligula. He was the third Roman Emperor and a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He ruled from 37 to 41 AD. He was the son of Germanicus who is the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, a very successful general and on of Rome’s most beloved public figures.
8. Hidden talent counts for nothing
This quote was from Nero, the Roman Emperor from 54 to 68 AD. He was the last Emperor in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to be his successor. Nero focused his attention on diplomacy, trade, and enhancing the cultural life of the Empire during his reign.
9. Can anyone be proved innocent, if it be enough to have accused him?
This quote was from Flavius Claudius Julianus or known as Julian. He was a Hellenistic philosopher, military leader, Roman Emperor, and satirist. He was also often referred to as Julian the Apostate because he rejected formal Christian doctrines and opposed to their spread. He was the last pagan Augustus of the Roman Empire.
10. To have command is to have all the power you will ever need. To have all the power you will ever need, is to have the world in the palm of your hand.
This quote was from Tiberius who was the Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. He was a Claudian by birth and the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. In 39 BC, his mother divorced Nero and married Augustus, making him a step-son of Octavian.
These quotes stand as evidences on how noble and brave the Roman Emperors were.