“The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor.” — Commodus, Gladiator
Deadline recently announced that Paramount Pictures have green-lit a sequel to the hugely successful sword-and-sandals action movie, Gladiator (2000). Gladiator 2 will be directed, like its forerunner, by Ridley Scott. Back in 2006, the musician Nick Cave wrote a fairly surreal script for Gladiator 2 that was perhaps bound to be rejected by the studio. This time it’s been announced that Peter Craig, who worked on two of the Hunger Games films, is writing a new script.
Of course, Maximus, Russell Crowe’s character, dies at the end of Gladiator. So how can there be a sequel? Well, it’s been reported that Gladiator 2 will continue the story of Lucius Verus II, the young son of Lucilla and grandson of Marcus Aurelius in the original movie. In reality, although Lucilla and her husband Lucius Verus did have a son called Lucius Aurelius Verus, he died young unlike the corresponding character in the movie. Commodus, the son of Marcus Aurelius, is described in the movie as Lucius’ uncle.
Producer Walter F. Parkes has confirmed “It picks up the story 30 years later… 25 years later.” Lucius was a child of about twelve years old in the original, so we can probably expect to see him in his late thirties or early forties. Given that Gladiator was set in 180 AD, it seems the sequel will be set around 205/210 AD. In the real world, this would be during the reign of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus.
Will I be known as the philosopher, the warrior, the tyrant. — Marcus Aurelius, Gladiator
I run a large Stoicism discussion forum and write books about Stoic philosophy. Periodically, we tend to get posts from people who think Jordan Peterson is a Stoic.
In a sense, that’s surprising. As far as I’m aware, Peterson’s never once mentioned Stoicism and there’s no hint in his talks or writings that he’s ever even read the Stoics. Despite this, some people clearly feel that they’re saying similar things. Then again, there appear to be just as many, if not more, people who have concluded that Peterson’s writings are fundamentally at odds with what Stoicism teaches. One of them is, Massimo Pigliucci, author of How to be a Stoic, who recently wrote an article called simply Nope, Jordan Peterson Ain’t No Stoic.
My personal area of specialism is the relationship between ancient Stoic philosophy and modern evidence-based psychotherapy. (I’m the author of six books on philosophy and psychotherapy, the latest being How to Think Like a roman Emperor, about the Stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius.) Peterson is a professor of clinical psychology; I’m a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist. So we come, as it happens, from virtually the same professional field. I think it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive overview of Peterson’s writings from a Stoic perspective because there would, frankly, be far too much to address in a single article. Instead, I’m going to focus specifically on the topic of anger.
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“This book is a wonderful introduction to one of history’s greatest figures: Marcus Aurelius. His life and this book are a clear guide for those facing adversity, seeking tranquility and pursuing excellence.” —Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of The Obstacle is the Way
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor has been nominated for two prestigious Canadian literary awards. It was reviewed favourably in The Wall Street Journal and reached the #1 bestseller position in philosophy throughout the US on its release. It currently has a 4.8 star rating on Amazon from 140 reviews.
All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them. — Matthew, 7.12
Treat others as you would like to be treated by them. The “Golden Rule”, as it’s known, is one of the simplest and most influential of all ethical principles. In this article, we’ll begin by looking at what it is before exploring some examples found in the writings of Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and other Stoic philosophers.
The Golden Rule is a remarkably simple guide to ethical behaviour, which anyone can understand and try to follow. It’s found in both positive and negative forms:
Do what you would praise others for doing
Avoid doing what you would criticize others for doing
Indeed many people today take it for granted that applying a different standard to other’s actions than we do to our own would be a form of moral hypocrisy.
I explored the ways Stoicism can be used as a guide to modern life in my recent book, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, but this article will focus on a very simple principle that Stoics used as a guide to ethical action. People often say they find Stoic ethics confusing and want a very clear and simple example of practical advice, well here it is…
“Robertson distills the emperor’s philosophy into useful mental habits… displays a sound knowledge of Marcus’ life and thought… presenting a convincing case for the continuing relevance of an archetypal philosopher-king.” ―The Wall Street Journal
On 6th January 2019 there will be a one-day only special offer for Amazon US customers, allowing you to purchase the Kindle edition of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor at a significantly reduced price.
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.
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.