Meditations the personal journal of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic philosopher.
Marcus Aurelius is considered to be the last of the so-called "Five Good Emperors".
The journals were hidden away for many years until they were translated into Latin by Wilhelm Xylander at Heidelberg University in Germany, who published them in 1558. Marcus Aurelius originally wrote in Koine Greek, which was the dominant form of Greek at the time. The title of the book was not the title that Marcus Aurelius gave it. It's just a name commonly associated with the collection of journals.
The books actually do read like journals. They are very short, only taking up 4 or 7 printed pages. (write more)
The brevity of each book has impact in its own right. You could almost image yourself taking up a marble notebook, journaling your thoughts. Then someone comes along and prints them in a paperback book -- and your entire marble notebook collection gets reduced to 4 or 7 pages per book.
In the first book, Marcus Aurelius enumerates all of the people who guided him in his life (parents, teachers and so on).
There are more than one English translations available. The Hays translation is the newest. It is easier to read, but it also takes more poetic license than the Long and Chrystal translations, making the writing feel nature in today's English. If you only intend on buying one, then get Hays.