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Now Enrolling: Marcus Aurelius Online Course

Learn how to build emotional resilience and develop a more meaningful life, from Marcus Aurelius, with my 4 week intro to Stoic philosophy and psychology.

It’s been a couple of years since I last ran my online course, Marcus Aurelius: Life and Stoicism. I used to run it several times a year but can’t do it as frequently now because of other commitments. We just opened up enrollment, though, for the course starting 10th July – this may be the only time we run the course this year so come and join us if you’re looking for a deep dive into Marcus Aurelius’ life and philosophy.

I’ve actually been busy working on more books about Marcus! I’ve now written three (and a half!) books about him in a row. Many years of research went into these books and I’ll be drawing on them in delivering the online course.

  1. How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, my self-help book about his use of Stoicism
  2. Verissimus, our graphic novel about Marcus’ life and philosophy is available to order now!
  3. Ancient Lives: Marcus Aurelius, my prose biography for Yale University Press, is finished and due out next year
  4. Meditations: The Philosophy Classic, I wrote a biographical introduction and edited this edition

I also contributed a chapter on Marcus Aurelius and psychotherapy to the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations edited by John Sellars.

The course has a satisfaction guarantee so there’s no risk – try it out and see what you think. The feedback from previous students has been extremely positive, though, and we’ve revised it many times based on their suggestions. So we’re confident you’ll be getting access to an impressive and very extensive collection of resources.

Donald Robertson Signature

Nobody exemplifies Stoicism as does Marcus Aurelius. Because of the extremely difficult and unpredictable events that came into his life when he became Emperor, his embodiment of Stoic ideas burned in his blood and he saw that life is not worth it’s living unless you recognize how critical it is for wisdom to be your primary guide to lead you on your way… moment by moment inch by inch. A year ago i would not have imagined about how to think like a Roman Emperor. Nowadays it is the only game in town worth playing.

Melville Richard Alexander

Week One: Overcoming Anger and Developing Empathy

The Education of a Stoic Emperor. This section focuses on the Stoic practice called “Contemplation of the Sage” and the role of empathy in Stoicism, particularly as a remedy for feelings of anger. It uses illustrations from the life of Marcus, such as his difficulty coping with feelings of anger toward his Stoic tutor, Junius Rusticus. Includes: Videos, reading, discussion, knowledge-check quiz. Also, for students on standard or premium plan, a webinar on Stoicism, Virtue, and Empathy.

Week Two: Conquering Worry and Anxiety

Marcus’ Early Reign and the Parthian War. This section focuses on the Stoic practice called “Premeditation of Adversity” (praemeditatio malorum, sometimes called “negative visualization”) and the role of acceptance in Stoicism, toward indifferent things, such as in coping with pain. It uses illustrations from the life of Marcus, such as his worry about matters of state, coping with chronic pain and illness, and his correspondence with his Latin tutor Fronto. Includes: Videos, reading, discussion, knowledge-check quiz. Also, for students on standard or premium plan, a webinar on Stoicism, Indifference, and Acceptance.

Week Three: Managing Pain and Illness

The First Marcomannic War and The Meditations. This section focuses on the Stoic practice called “The View from Above” and the role of metaphysics in Stoicism, with reference to the famous Dream of Scipio. It uses illustrations from the life of Marcus, such as the challenges of his assuming the role of military commander during the lengthy northern campaign against a huge coalition of enemy tribes led by King Ballomar of the Marcomanni. It is widely believed that Marcus wrote The Meditations during this period, and we also consider its role as a spiritual journal in relation to other Stoic writing practices. Includes: Videos, reading, discussion, knowledge-check quiz. Also, for students on standard or premium plan, a webinar on Stoicism, Nature, and the Cosmos.

Week Four: Coming to Terms with Mortality and Loss

The Civil War, and Marcus’ Final Years and Legacy. This section focuses on the Stoic practice called “Contemplation of Death” and the concept of impermanence in Stoicism, and also on the practice of Stoic mindfulness (prosoche) and attention to the present moment. It uses illustrations from the life of Marcus, such as the Antonine Plague, the civil war against his general Avidius Cassius, and his own illness and eventual death. Includes: Videos, reading, discussion, knowledge-check quiz. Also, for students on standard or premium plan, a webinar on Stoicism, Mindfulness, and Death.