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Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Verissimus

Verissimus: Top-Rated on Amazon

We’re delighted to announce that our new graphic novel Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius is currently among Amazon’s top-rated books in the Ancient Roman History category, with an average rating of 4.8 stars from nearly 100 reviewers.

On its release, Verissimus was chosen as an Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best History Book.

See our publisher, MacMillan’s website for more information and links to other booksellers. Verissimus is available in both hardback and ebook format from all good bookstores.

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Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Verissimus

Stoicism Graphic Novel: Goodreads Giveaway

Verissimus Front Cover

Enter our Goodreads Giveaway today for a chance to win one of three signed copies of Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, our stunning new graphic novel. Terms and conditions apply; see the website for details.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Verissimus by Donald J. Robertson

Verissimus

by Donald J. Robertson

Giveaway ends September 30, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway
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Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Verissimus Video

Facebook Live on Marcus Aurelius

Watch the video of my live session on Marcus Aurelius, showcasing some of the artwork and behind the scenes secrets of our graphic novel, Verissimus.

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Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

Medium: How Stoicism can Make you a Better Leader

What the Stoics actually said about kingship, applied to leadership

Verissimus Poster

How better or how otherwise could a man be a good ruler or live a good life than by studying philosophy? For my part, I believe that the good king is straightway and of necessity a philosopher, and the philosopher a kingly person. — Musonius Rufus

The ancient Stoics believed that it was essential for anyone who wants to be a leader to study philosophy. Indeed, the most famous Stoic of all was Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor, who saw Stoicism as essential training for his role. The Stoic teachers who came before him wrote entire books on leadership, under titles such as On Kingship or The Statesman. Most of these are lost, unfortunately, but in the 1st century AD, the famous Stoic teacher Musonius Rufus, gave a lecture titled That kings also should study philosophy, which survives today. Kingship is one type of leadership, but as we’ll see, if we adapt the words of Musonius’ lecture, most of what he says is still relevant, and it provides us, in summary form, with a Stoic manual for modern-day leadership.

Read the rest of this article on Medium.

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Marcus Aurelius Podcast Stoicism

Conversation with Ryan Holiday about Marcus Aurelius

I recently spoke with author Ryan Holiday about our mutual fascination with the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, on the Daily Stoic podcast. You can also download the episode from Spotify or Apple Podcasts, among others. If you found our chat interesting, please share your comments or questions on Twitter, for me to read, and tag DonJRobertson.

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Marcus Aurelius Stoicism

The 10 Most Surprising Facts about Marcus Aurelius

What my research told me about the Stoic Roman Emperor

have spent a lot of time researching Marcus Aurelius. I first read his notes about applying Stoic philosophy to daily life, the Meditations, one of the most cherished philosophical and self-help classics of all time, over 25 years ago. Since then, I’ve written six books on Stoicism — three in a row have been about the life of Marcus Aurelius! The first was a self-help book, based on vignettes from his life, called How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, the most recent was a prose biography of him for Yale University Press, and between them came a graphic novel called Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, from which the illustrations in this article are borrowed. Here are some of the most interesting things I learned during my research…

1 Marcus led a dance troupe

As a young boy, Marcus was appointed to several important positions due to the influence of the Emperor Hadrian. One of them was the College of the Salii or leaping priests, a Roman religious order supposedly founded by the legendary King Numa, from whom Marcus’ family claimed descent. The Salii recited obscure chants and performed an athletic military dance, bearing archaic shields and spears, in honour of Mars, the god of war. These rituals were meant to train youths for the physical exertions of battle.

Artwork from Verissimus, copyright Donald J. Robertson, reproduced by permission.

When Marcus refers to dancing in the Meditations, therefore, he’s drawing on a wealth of experience, which makes his comments much more personally meaningful. For example, being well-acquainted with both wrestling and dancing, he wrote:

The art of life is more like the wrestler’s art than the dancer’s, in respect of this, that it should stand ready and firm to meet onsets which are sudden and unexpected. — Meditations, 7.61

Marcus appears to have relished his training in dance, though, and eventually went on to become the leader of the Salii.

Read the other nine amazing facts about Marcus on Medium…

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Books Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Verissimus

Reviews of Verissimus

Our graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, was published by St. Martin’s on 12th July. There are lots of early reviews of Verissimus already on Goodreads. This post contains a video review by Greg Sadler and links to various other reviews by bloggers. (If I’ve missed one, post it in the comments section below please!)

  • Casey Douglas: “The imagery brings the life of Marcus, and various elements of Stoic philosophy, into a rich and vibrant level of clarity, and it does this in a way that’s as enjoyable as it is educational.”
  • What is Stoicism?: “The great thing about Verissimus is that it’s accessible to people of all levels of expertise. Not only will it introduce Stoicism to a new audience, but it will also help reinforce key details and concepts for those already familiar.”
  • Enda Harte: “Donald and his small team have crafted a well thought out, thoroughly researched, and cleverly illustrated piece of work for anyone to pick up on any given weekend, and digest to their heart’s content.”
  • Bob Cymber, the Stoic Coach: “I would come to appreciate the Stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius even more than I thought possible.”
  • Nancy Famolari: “It is also a delight to read. If you’re interested in Roman history, or Stoic philosophy, I highly recommend this book.”
  • Jamie Ryder at Stoic Athenaeum: “Donald Robertson’s Verissimus is an ideal story for making Stoicism fun for a new generation.”
  • Chuck Chakrapani in the Stoic Gym: “Donald Robertson and Ze Nuno Fraga have done a masterful job of bringing the dead Emperor to life. By interweaving Marcus’s philosophy with his life, they have made Stoicism come alive.”

There was also a more critical review in Publisher’s Weekly: the reviewer thought the story packed in too much history and philosophy.

You may also be interested in this Medium article on How I wrote Verissimus, or the interview I did for The Comic Vault. You can preview a sample 30 pages including artwork from Verissimus on Google Books.

Endorsements from Other Authors

  • “Donald Robertson is one of my favorite writers about Stoicism.” – Ryan Holiday, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of The Daily Stoic
  • “A superb graphic novel that provides stunning insights into one of the most interesting figures of antiquity, as well as into the philosophy that guided him throughout his life.” — Massimo Pigliucci, author of How to Be a Stoic
  • “Whether you’re new to Marcus Aurelius or already know him as a friend and guide, this graphic novel will open your eyes… Author and artist have found… a brilliant combination of entertainment and education.” – Robin Waterfield, translator of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus
  • “Verissimus represents the vanguard of the next phase of the ongoing Stoic renaissance.” – William B. Irvine, author of A Guide to the Good Life
  • “A remarkable work that is awesome in its conception and execution.” – Karen Duffy, author of Backbone: Living with Chronic Pain without Turning into One and Wise Up
  • “This is a wonderful and engaging introduction to the life and thought of Marcus Aurelius… It’s the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about the man behind the Meditations.” – John Sellars, author of Lessons in Stoicism
  • “Donald Robertson continues to be my teacher when it comes to the depth of Stoicism… Invaluable!” – Mo Gawdat, author of Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy.
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Books Comic Comics Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Stoicism Verissimus

Out Now – Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

We’re delighted to announce that our graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, is now available from all good bookstores! You can read the advance reviews on Goodreads.

Comments from Other Authors

  • “Donald Robertson is one of my favorite writers about Stoicism.” – Ryan Holiday, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of The Daily Stoic
  • “A superb graphic novel that provides stunning insights into one of the most interesting figures of antiquity, as well as into the philosophy that guided him throughout his life.” — Massimo Pigliucci, author of How to Be a Stoic
  • “Whether you’re new to Marcus Aurelius or already know him as a friend and guide, this graphic novel will open your eyes… Author and artist have found… a brilliant combination of entertainment and education.” – Robin Waterfield, translator of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus
  • “Verissimus represents the vanguard of the next phase of the ongoing Stoic renaissance.” – William B. Irvine, author of A Guide to the Good Life
  • “A remarkable work that is awesome in its conception and execution.” – Karen Duffy, author of Backbone and Wise Up
  • “This is a wonderful and engaging introduction to the life and thought of Marcus Aurelius… It’s the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about the man behind the Meditations.” – John Sellars, author of Lessons in Stoicism
  • “Donald Robertson continues to be my teacher when it comes to the depth of Stoicism… Invaluable!”– Mo Gawdat, author of Solve for Happy
Verissimus Front Cover
Categories
Books Comic Comics Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Stoicism Verissimus

Out Now: Verissimus the Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

We are delighted to announce that our graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, is now available from all good bookstores! It was published on 12th July by Macmillan. You can read lots of advance reviews on Goodreads. You’ll so other reviewers posting their thoughts on social media.

Verissimus was Amazon Editors pick for Best History book in July 2022, and #1 in new releases for Greek and Roman Philosophy. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and most other online booksellers.

Verissimus Front Cover

Some comments from other authors…

  • “Donald Robertson is one of my favorite writers about Stoicism.” – Ryan Holiday, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of The Daily Stoic
  • “A superb graphic novel that provides stunning insights into one of the most interesting figures of antiquity, as well as into the philosophy that guided him throughout his life.” — Massimo Pigliucci, author of How to Be a Stoic
  • “Whether you’re new to Marcus Aurelius or already know him as a friend and guide, this graphic novel will open your eyes… Author and artist have found… a brilliant combination of entertainment and education.” – Robin Waterfield, translator of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus
  • “Verissimus represents the vanguard of the next phase of the ongoing Stoic renaissance.” – William B. Irvine, author of A Guide to the Good Life
  • “A remarkable work that is awesome in its conception and execution.” – Karen Duffy, author of Backbone: Living with Chronic Pain without Turning into One [and forthcoming book on Epictetus]
  • “This is a wonderful and engaging introduction to the life and thought of Marcus Aurelius… It’s the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about the man behind the Meditations.” – John Sellars, author of Lessons in Stoicism
  • “Donald Robertson continues to be my teacher when it comes to the depth of Stoicism… Invaluable!”– Mo Gawdat, author of Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy.
Verissimus Cover
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Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Stoicism Verissimus

Stoicism and Anger

Ten Practical Tips from Marcus Aurelius

Artwork from Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius (2022), copyright Donald J. Robertson

What does Stoic philosophy tell us about how to control our tempers? When we began working on our graphic novel, Verissimus, the illustrator, Zé Nuno Fraga, and I decided to show how colourful and action-packed Marcus Aurelius’ life really was. We also liked the idea, however, of leaving our readers with a good amount of practical advice from Stoicism, which they could take away and use to help themselves and others.

I chose to focus on Stoic advice about anger — the royal road to self-improvement.

I chose to focus on Stoic advice about anger — the royal road to self-improvement. We know that this was a problem for Marcus because he tells us in the Meditations that he struggled, at first, to master his own temper. Later in life, Marcus had a reputation for remaining completely level-headed, even in the face of extreme provocation. So it appears that he succeeded in using Stoicism to master his natural quick temper. He did this by employing Stoic psychological practices, over and over again, on a daily basis. I can see parallels between many of these strategies and those employed in modern cognitive therapy. So I think that, with practice, they may help the rest of us cope with our feelings of anger too.

It was one of the men who provoked Marcus’ temper the most, ironically, who also taught him how to restore calm and rebuild friendships after an argument — his Stoic mentor, Junius Rusticus. We therefore speculated, in our illustrations, that it could have been Rusticus who taught Marcus the ten anger-management strategies he describes using in the Meditations (11.18). Marcus, curiously, refers to these as ten “gifts” from the god Apollo, and his nine Muses. Apollo, Lord of the Muses, was the god of the arts, including the arts of medicine and, in a sense, also philosophy. It’s perhaps fitting, therefore, that Marcus would call these therapeutic strategies, or self-help tips, gifts from the god of healing.

Draft for Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius (2022), copyright Donald J. Robertson.

Marcus describes things he should tell himself whenever he noticed he was growing annoyed with someone. I would call these cognitive (thinking) strategies for anger-management. In this article, I’ll discuss each of his ten strategies in turn, adding a few comments, here and there, from my perspective as a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist.

Read the rest of this article on Medium…