Memento Mori

Rome is one of those places with an interesting past; from religion, to culture, to philosophy, to politics; one can never miss a fascinating angle on various aspects of its rich history. At one point in history, Rome was a global power house that ruled the European continent for years and can be said to have had major influences of the present world as we know it today. Several inventions are attributed to the genius of ancient Rome; from Roman numerals, to aqueducts, to surgical equipment. Rome is also known to have produced some outstanding philosophers like Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and so on, who in the course of their lives taught, practiced and lived philosophy emanating from various schools of thought which have shaped and influenced the world in one way or another.

One Roman philosophy in particular, which forms the basis of this post, is the concept of ‘Memento Mori.’ In ancient Rome, after winning gruesome battles and ravaging wars against her foes, Roman soldiers used to come back home led by their generals, who would then go round in victory laps as a way to celebrate their feats. The Roman war generals who took place in such proceedings, were normally accompanied by their slaves who during the entire process carried around a sort of a coin engraved with the words ‘Memento Mori’ which they occasionally showed the general to remind him of his immortal nature. Memento Mori is an object kept by an individual to remind them of their immortal status and that no matter one’s station in life, death is inevitable.

Life is for the living; we are alive because we should live and exploit today fully of its beauty and possibilities without worry of what tomorrow may bring. By cultivating an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for each moment of our life means to truly live. Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor and Philosopher once said that “if you wake up each morning, think of what an opportunity you have to be alive, to think, to love, to enjoy.” Live well, laugh hard, love unconditionally, travel and experience the various aspects of life for at the end of it all; whether you think of yourself as rich or poor, whether you think of yourself as a success or failure, or whether you think of yourself a scum of the earth or the lord of men, Death is an Inevitable process for all. So live today as best as you can for tomorrow is never promised.

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