Categories
Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

How Marcus Aurelius wrote The Meditations

The Art of Paraphrasing Philosophical Maxims

If thou would’st master care and pain,
Unfold this book and read and read again
Its blessed leaves, whereby thou soon shalt see
The past, the present, and the days to be
With opened eyes; and all delight, all grief,
Shall be like smoke, as empty and as brief.

This epigram is found at the end of a Vatican manuscript of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, one of the most widely-read spiritual and philosophical classics of all time. Readers of The Meditations are usually aware that Marcus was a Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher. However, they often don’t realize how much more we know about him.

Marcus studied rhetoric under Fronto for many years, and learned certain techniques from him that appear to have shaped the writing of The Meditations.

In my recent book, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, I drew upon the surviving evidence to make connections between Marcus’ life and thought. We have three main contemporary biographical sources: The Historia Augusta, Cassius Dio’s Historia Romana, and Herodian’s History of the Empire from the Death of Marcus.

In addition to these, one of our most important sources is a cache of letters belonging to Marcus’ family friend and rhetoric tutor Marcus Cornelius Fronto. These were discovered in the early 19th century by the Italian scholar Angelo Mai. They give us a remarkable window into the private life of the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher.

We learn, for instance, that Marcus was, in private, an exceptionally warm and affectionate man. He also shows evidence of being adept at diplomacy and at resolving conflicts between his friends. As we’ll see, Marcus studied rhetoric under Fronto for many years, and learned certain techniques from him that appear to have shaped the writing of The Meditations.

“It is that I learn from you to speak the truth. That matter (of speaking the truth) is precisely what is so hard for gods and men…” — Marcus

Read the rest of this article on Medium.

Categories
Interview Marcus Aurelius Podcast Stoicism

Modern Stoicism Podcast

Listen to my interview on Marcus Aurelius and Alexander the Great for the new Modern Stoicism podcast.

Categories
Courses Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

Coming Soon: Marcus Aurelius Life and Philosophy

I’m very happy to announce that the latest version of my flagship course “Marcus Aurelius: Life and Philosophy” is now enrolling and will begin on Sunday 16th February. Come and join as we discuss how to apply Stoicism in daily life…

Marcus Graffiti
Categories
Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

The Greatest Stoic Argued That Kindness is More Manly Than Anger

What the philosopher Marcus Aurelius believed about masculinity

Over the past few decades, there’s been a resurgence of interest in Stoicism. People often confuse stoicism (lower-case), a coping style that involves suppressing or concealing emotions, also called having a “stiff upper-lip,” with Stoicism (capitalized), the ancient Graeco-Roman school of philosophy. Some crudely equate “manliness” with being tough and unemotional (lower-case “stoicism”). I think there’s a more nuanced way to understand how Stoic philosophy might inform a modern man’s conception of his role in society.

Read the rest of this article free of charge on Medium.

Categories
Books Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

New Download: Marcus Aurelius Poster

I’m delighted to announce that the print quality version of the poster for my forthcoming graphic novel on the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius is now available. The artist Ze Nuno Fraga has created something you can print out and put on your wall, or you can use the web version as a background on your phone.

I said I’d put this online when we reached 100 Amazon reviews for How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius and we’re way past that now so here’s your poster! Thanks everyone.

You’ll need to download the print quality TIF using this link – it’s a large file.

You can preview the web version below. Don’t ask me loads of questions about the project, though, because it’s early days and so I can’t actually provide more details yet! (You’ll have to be patient.)

Thanks for your support,

Donald Robertson Signature
Marcus Aurelius Poster (Web Quality)
Web version of the poster by Ze Nuna Fraga.

Categories
Books Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

Translations of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

I get a lot of enquiries from people asking “When is your book coming out in…?” So here’s the current list of translations. There may be more coming, though, this list is just how things stand at the moment.

The English edition of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius is currently available from Macmillan in hardback, ebook, and audiobook formats with the paperback scheduled for release in the US on 4th August 2020.

Now Available

Coming Soon

  • The Turkish translation will be available from Destek Publishing.
  • The Korean translation will be available from Golden Turtle.
  • The Croatian translation will be available from Planetopija.
  • The Romanian translation will be available from Seneca Iulius Annaeus Publishing House, part of Asociatia SNK
  • The Arabic translation is coming.
  • And other translations may become available over time…
Categories
Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

What Marcus Aurelius Said about Stoicism and Manliness

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Just be one! — Meditations, 10.16

There’s been a resurgence of interest in Stoicism over the past few decades. The emerging community of modern Stoics naturally divides into several distinct groups, although there’s presumably some overlap between them. One of those consists of guys who are interested in masculinity and often, but not always, the Men’s Movement.

People often confuse stoicism (lower-case), a coping style that involves suppressing or concealing emotions (having a “stiff upper-lip”) with Stoicism (capitalized), the ancient Graeco-Roman school of philosophy. Some crudely equate manliness with being tough and unemotional (lower-case “stoicism”) but I think many others do have a more nuanced understanding of how Stoic philosophy might inform a modern man’s conception of his role in society.

Read the rest of this article on Medium.

Categories
Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Video

Author Reading: How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

I said I’d upload a video of myself reading the final chapter from How to Think Like a Roman Emperor when we reached 500 reviews on Goodreads. So here it is…

When we reach 100 reviews on Amazon US, I’m going to release a new poster from by forthcoming graphic novel about Marcus Aurelius.

Categories
Books Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor on Amazon

When my latest book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius reaches 100 reviews on Amazon, I’m going to release a special infographic depicting the reign of Marcus Aurelius.

Categories
Books Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

Coming Soon: New Edition of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

I’m delighted to announce that a new edition of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, with which I was involved, is due for publication in December 2019 by Capstone, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons. (Publisher’s website.)

Capstone Classics is a series of deluxe hardback editions of classic texts. This special edition of The Meditations is beautifully bound and contains a modernized version of the George Long translation accompanied by my detailed introduction to the text.

This book is eligible for Amazon’s pre-order price guarantee so you should find that by ordering now you’ll get the book at the lowest price offered prior to its release. So that’s a great way to pick up a bargain.