My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the north, general of the Felix Legions. Loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.[to Commodus]
You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude, and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, Father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage. Perhaps not on the battlefield, but there are many forms of courage. Devotion to my family, to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn’t want me for your son.
Ultimately, we’re all dead men. Sadly, we cannot choose how, but we can decide how we meet that end, in order that we are remembered as men.