What’s in the book and how to decide if it’s appropriate reading
Our graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, was written for adults but an increasing number of people have told me their children have been reading it. They told me that their kids saw the cover, were intrigued by the artwork, and “stole” their copy. Some teachers have also approached me, interested in purchasing copies for their classes. They think it would make a useful teaching aid.
With Christmas approaching, I’ve been asked about its suitability as a gift for young people. In this post, I’ll try to give a comprehensive answer, inspired by the review site Common Sense Media, which I think does a great job of helping adults decide for themselves what’s appropriate for their children. The short answer is that I would rate this book PG-13 but I’ll explain below the aspects of which parents and teachers should be aware, in order to decide for themselves.
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.
“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.
Please feel free to download and share with your friends. This unique PDF guide was written by me, Donald Robertson, with stunning artwork by our award-winning illustrator Zé Nuno Fraga and graphic designer Rocio de Torres. It provides the perfect introduction to the world of Marcus Aurelius as depicted in our new graphic novel Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, which you can order now from all good bookstores.
People often ask for a simple introduction to the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, so we created one especially for you! This booklet draws on research conducted for several books I’ve written or edited about Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius (St. Martins)
Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius (St. Martins)
Marcus Aurelius: Ancient Lives (Yale)
Meditations: The Philosophy Classic (Capstone)
This printable PDF document will give you a good overview of the life of Marcus Aurelius, the times in which he lived and characters who influenced him, as well as the Stoic concepts and practices that shaped his life. As well as key information on Marcus Aurelius and Stoic philosophy, it contains comic book illustrations, genealogical diagrams, study questions, important quotations, and recommended reading.
If you’re a teacher, we’re confident you’ll find this booklet useful as a classroom aid. If you’re just interested in learning more about Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism, it’s a great place to begin before starting to read the classics.
The Stoic Goal of Life
Three Stoic Practices
Who were the Stoics?
Who was Marcus Aurelius?
The Imperial Succession
Questions, Quotes, and Reading
About the Graphic Novel
If you’re completely new to Stoicism, it’s a good place to start. However, we can’t compress the whole philosophy into a few pages, it’s just a summary, so you will need to read the Stoics to gain a more complete understanding of their concepts and techniques.
Donald Robertson is one of my favorite writers about Stoicism.
Ryan Holiday, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of The Daily Stoic
Donald Robertson is a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist, who lives in Canada and Greece. He is the author of six books on philosophy and psychotherapy. His bestselling self-help book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor has been translated into eighteen languages.
Zé Nuno Fraga, who created the artwork, is an award-winning illustrator from Portugal. Kasey Pierce, who advised on the content, is an award-winning author and comic book editor.
St. Martin’s are currently running a preorder promotion that means anyone buying Verissimus may be eligible for three different prizes.