Marcus Aurelius

"Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life." — Marcus Aurelius

Considered by most historians to have been the most responsible and effective Roman Emperor, in all matters except succession, Aurelius is also the best known Stoic philosopher, outranking even the originator of that system, Zenon, and Epicanthus, who codified the non-egalitarian Stoa view - despite, or perhaps because of, living his entire life as a slave.

Aurelius is lauded by William Gibbon as, with three other Emperors, as having led a regime where Gross National Happiness was its only priority and purpose.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stoics/message/5703?viscount=100 A detailed history of the Stoics