fbpx
Categories
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
Verissimus Cover
Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Verissimus Cover
Categories
Stoicism Verissimus

Stoic Graphic Novel on Instagram

🎨 You can check out samples of artwork from Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius shared by accounts on Instagram. Please share your own photos using #Verissimus.


Categories
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…

Categories
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.
Verissimus Cover
Categories
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
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…

Categories
Marcus Aurelius Podcast Stoicism Stoicism Video

Video: Chris Williamson’s Modern Wisdom Show

Video of a recent interview I did about Stoicism for Chris Williamson’s Modern Wisdom podcast.

Categories
Books Courses Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Stoicism

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.