Under the reign of emperor Marcus Aurelius, there was unprecedented freedom of expression for those times. It was a phenomenon in history. For example, comedian writer Marullus allowed himself to criticize the authorities without any consequences.
The emperor was open to criticism, which was an unprecedented accident in history. Any other Roman emperor would condemn the writer to death. Marcus Aurelius, called the “Philosopher on the throne”, despite his background, education, wealth, power and privileges, was a simple and very understanding man. He approached all duties with caution, he ruled justly. He was faithful to his friends and family, merciful to enemies; generous to those in need. He was the model of a benevolent monarch, whom Socrates mentioned.
Anthony R. Birley, Hadrian to the Antonines
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