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Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

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In the tradition of Logicomix , Donald J. Robertson's Verissimus is a riveting graphic novel on the life and stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius.

Marcus Aurelius was the last famous Stoic of antiquity but he was also to become the most powerful man in the known world – the Roman emperor. After losing his father at an early age, he threw himself into the study of philosophy. The closest thing history knew to a philosopher-king, yet constant warfare and an accursed plague almost brought his empire to its knees. “Life is warfare”, he wrote, “and a sojourn in foreign land!” One thing alone could save philosophy, the love of wisdom!

The remarkable story of Marcus Aurelius’ life and philosophical journey is brought to life by philosopher and psychotherapist Donald J. Robertson, in a sweeping historical epic of a graphic novel, based on a close study of the historical evidence, with the stunning full-color artwork of award-winning illustrator Zé Nuno Fraga.

272 pages, Hardcover

Published July 12, 2022

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About the author

Donald J. Robertson

10 books784 followers
Author of books on philosophy and psychotherapy, including Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, and the graphic novel Verissimus. I'm a philosopher and psychotherapist with a special interest in Stoicism and CBT. I was born in Scotland, but now live in Canada and Greece.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,711 reviews401 followers
February 4, 2022
Well, well, as if the heavens had listened to my wishes, at long last someone has done a graphic novel to the delight of all loyal servants of the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius.

I solemnly promise not to slip into Gladiator gushing as I review this, never fear, but I'd have to be obtuse to not see that the opening chapter is reminiscent of the film, with Marcus Aurelius up North in the war with the Germans and dying in the presence of his insufferable son, Commodus. But the film is fictional and has numerous historical blunders, whilst Verissimus is the true story of the last of the Five Good Emperors, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus.

I'm impressed by Mr Robertson's research and his meticulosness in laying out the Caesar's Stoic philosophy, which isn't as easy as one would think from the quotes in "Meditations," that the author uses very effectively here. Robertson knows the emperor's philosophical thought well, has stayed faithful to the sources and stuck to what's credible, taking very minor creative liberties, about which you can read in the afterword notes. These authorial notes are also much appreciated, because as I was reading I had some questions that, if left unanswered, would've looked like loose ends and omissions. For example, in the chapters covering the Antonine Plague, he preferred to not include the Christians as I'd have expected, but the authorial notes give me an idea as to the reason for it.

The Marcus Aurelius that shines in Verissimus is a good man, a genuinely kind soul that struggles with the flaws of his nature, and does live his philosophy in his daily life and implements his Stoic principles both for himself as a man and for his role as emperor instead of merely indulging in rhetoric and sophistry. He learns early in life the precepts of Stoicism, which in his childish mind he interprets in hilarious ways at first, such as when he tries to live like a pauper in his own home or mouthing off to emperor Hadrian, who bestows on him the nickname "Verissimus," he who is most truthful, for daring to tell him to his face what nobody does. Can a good child grow up to be a good emperor, though? Or will the old maxim that power corrupts be proven on him once he's Caesar? Marcus Aurelius is aware of the temptations and trappings of power, and is afraid of it, but this same self-awareness is what keeps him grounded and humble. That, and having good role models such as his grandfather Verus, his adoptive father Antoninus Pius, his tutors Rusticus and Fronto, etc.

But Marcus Aurelius is also a practical man, in spite of his military commanders and some other elites dissing him as The Philosopher, too bookish to have the firm ruling hand an empire the size of Rome demands. Bookish and Stoic he might be, but Marcus Aurelius is no out-of-touch ascetic or a saint; he does have flaws, a temper he badly wants to rein in, he makes mistakes, he trusts the wrong people, and so on. A good emperor he was, and did much for Rome, but he also faced enormous challenges such as the War of Many Nations in the north with various German tribes and Sarmatians, the war with Parthia, the Antonine Plague that wiped millions across the empire after legionnaires brought it from the East (sounds familiar?), the civil war with Cassius that was just barely averted... The novel does an excellent job representing all his many challenges in power, and his personal tragedies, too, for he lost loved relatives early and so many of his own children, until the one male heir left standing was everyone's love-to-hate emperor, Commodus.

It's a beautiful novel, in my opinion. The aesthetics of Zé's artwork might not be to everyone's liking, but I appreciated that the artist was as careful with historical accuracy as the writer. The armour, legion formations, architecture, clothing, hairdos, and so on, are well-done without being excessively detailed. I highly recommend it!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the ARC through NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for literaryelise.
389 reviews92 followers
January 28, 2022
This was a delightful graphic novel!! I am big fan of books on Roman history and I love comics so this was the perfect graphic novel for me. A huge make or break for me in a graphic novel is always the art and I loved the art in this book! It was very mellow and soothing but also extremely detailed and beautiful! I also thought the story telling was quite good and it was a fun way to learn about Marcus Aurelius. A really accessible and enjoyable text! Loved this!!
Profile Image for Henry Manampiring.
Author 8 books1,016 followers
July 16, 2022
Humanizing The (Probably) Most Famous Stoic.

It is easy to deify a great exemplary figure, Marcus Aurelius not exempt. While his writing has inspired millions, it is easy to forget that he is a human just like the rest of us. A great Stoic teacher, but a human still, with his flaws and weaknesses. Reading 'Meditations' only may not make us realize this.

This is where Verissimus helps paint the complete Marcus Aurelius. Based on painstaking research of the historical emperor, his story and struggle as an emperor and Stoic practitioner came alive. This is the result of Donald J. Robertson mastery of the subject, and Ze Nuno Fraga illustration that captures human emotions and the ancient scenery wonderfully. Here you find the emperor journey, from his childhood to deathbed. His inner struggle that you and I can relate to, even almost 2,000 years apart.

Whether you are new to Stoicism, or having practiced it for years, Verissimus makes a great starting point/addition to the subject. It will teach you, refresh you, draw you again to the timeless and practical Stoic wisdom.
Profile Image for Bargle.
84 reviews39 followers
July 26, 2022
I received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway Program.

Next in line on my reading list. I'll get to it.

OK, I got to it. A very interesting look at the life of one of the more unusual Roman emperors. Trying to apply his Stoic philosophy during a time of great upheaval and near constant war throughout his reign. Good artwork and story flow. I wonder how different things would have been with a more war-like emperor.
Profile Image for Jude Thaddeus.
Author 1 book
June 27, 2022
*I received an early review copy of this book from the publisher*

I expected laying out Marcus Aurelius's complicated life and even more complicated philosophy in a graphic novel would leave a lot to be desired. I thought Stoicism would be watered down to platitudes and Marcus's life — about which 400-page biographies have been written — would become a superhero blur.

I was wrong. Donald Robertson knocked it out of the park, painting us a vivid picture of Marcus in all his complexity and indomitability. We see a man struggling as life hands him setback after setback, and drawing on Stoicism to keep himself centered, virtuous, and effective where others would have been bowled over.

Especially of Note:

1) Marcus gives us a long list of the people he's grateful for in book one of Meditations. Virtually every one of these people appears in the book, showing Robertson's grasp of the complex tapestry of Marcus's life.

2) Robertson does a great job Showing Marcus's relationship with his Stoic teacher Junius Rusticus. After Rusticus dies, we see Marcus writing Meditations as a way of stepping up to become his own teacher and guide, which prepares him for the hardest tests of all at the end of his life.

3) If you're familiar with Meditations and Marcus's letters to Fronto, you'll find the most important elements from them here. Robertson masterfully weaves them into bits of dialogue and throwaway narration, filling out what could be a stuffy lecture with lots of personal details.

4) Although this book cover a lot of philosophy, it only rarely gets bogged down in it. The pace is quick and the interplay between events and Marcus filtering of them through the lens of Stoicism seems natural.

All in all, this is a fantastic book with beautiful illustrations and great writing. I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Sergej.
6 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2023
Work of art and deep thought. Should be studied in schools.
893 reviews26 followers
April 12, 2022
My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher St. Martin's Press for an advanced copy of this historical and philosophical graphic novel.

The acceptance of sequential art in publishing has a been a boon for writers and artists who prefer to do works outside of the mainstream, or who write books that are more scholarly and difficult to find a publisher for. A book on an Emperor of Rome who was a stoic, maybe Knopf or Harcourt, if the author was known, would have once published it, but most likely it would have been a university publisher who would print just enough copies to make sure that print run was its only print run, spending more time on a library shelf than a major bookstores sales table. Now with more and more people reading graphic novels, of all sorts of genres, books like this will have a market that is much more accepting. Verissimus:The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius written by Donald J. Robertson, with art by Zé Nuno Fraga, is a biography and history of the Emperor and the philosophy that he followed.

The book begins at the end of Marcus Aurelius life with his son Commodus by his side. The book than goes back to the beginning with a young Marcus Aurelius facing a like without his father, and decisions being made about his future and education. Nicknamed Verissimus by the Emperor Hadrian which meant "truest" Aurelius had already found consulation in philosophy to deal with his father's death, a path that he would follow the rest of his life. As Emperor he tried to his wisdom to lead and decide, but wars, plague and constant intrigues made that difficult.

The book encompasses almost twenty- five years of research by Donald Robertson, so the research and work definitely shows. The characters are all interesting, I'm not sure how true to life, but they all were clear and very well defined. The art makes the book, a mix of both fantastic and realism, and bright, that keeps the story moving, and accompanies the story quite well. I'm not sure that you get a good sense of stoicism, but what I read intrigued me, and was not info- dumped. I felt that I learned as much as I was entertained.

Being a long time comic reader I remember Pirhana Press has a series of philosophical comic adventures called Epicurus the Sage by Willam Messner- Loebs. These go back quite a way, and I remember enjoying them and my father who was a theology and philosophy minor thought they were great fun, and explained the ideals and basis of a lot of the adventures. This book has the same sense, though not as funny. Like Logicomix in which it compares itself the premise is to entertain, and teach more about the world and the foundations of dealing with and thinking. It does succeed. Recommended for philosophy majors and minors, thinkers, artists and creative types who like the idea that comics can be a lot more than men in capes or ladies in capes hitting things, but can teach and be shared with others.
August 9, 2022
As a fan of both graphic novels and Marcus Aurelius books, I can say that Verissimus excels as both. The book goes through the entire life of Marcus Aurelius (a.k.a. Verissimus), but rather than being a dry recounting of his achievements, the book brings Marcus Aurelius to life in scenes that highlight the man as well as the legend.

What's more, even though there's considerable focus on Verissimus's involvement in Stoicism, the angle the author (Donald J. Robertson) took in the book is a unique one. The focus was always on how Marcus Aurelius applied Stoicism to his life and decision-making (something I haven't seen before in other books). For example, the book illustrates how Marcus Aurelius used Stoicism to help him cope with his volatile anger issues, something that most modern audiences can relate to and learn form.

The book chronicles Verissimus's entire life from childhood until his death. And although I consider myself an avid Marcus Aurelius fan, there were still a few new facts mentioned here that I didn't know about beforehand (like how Verissimus passed a decree requiring nets beneath rope dancers/acrobats). That is a credit to the author's painstaking research on the topic. It's very well done and interesting.

And of course, being a graphic novel, it's worth mentioning that the artwork is superb! From expressive facial features to very detailed historical settings, Zé Nuno Fraga did an excellent job bringing Ancient Rome to life. I especially like how the last few pages of the book showcase Fraga's talents in a series of full page splashes, reminiscent of portraits. It's breathtaking.

Overall, I strongly recommend this book for Marcus Aurelius fans (like myself), but I feel there's something here for everyone. Run out and grab this book! You won't regret it!
Profile Image for James.
3,354 reviews19 followers
May 19, 2023
A graphic novel about Marcus Aurelius, how strange and I admit I couldn't resist. The artwork was OK but the amount of text was overwhelming. Stoicism is an interesting philosophy and I do agree with some of it, though being a natural born slacker, I find it too serious. It might be better as a book.
Profile Image for Patrick Dewind.
129 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2023
Having first briefly encountered Marcus Aurelius's work when I was studying philosophy in college, I later grew to greatly appreciate his work for the context it brings to Stoicism. In more recent years I have spent a good amount of time reading about Greek philosophy through to the Hellenistic period, and always appreciate new takes on the sources (though there are quite a few that lose perspective in trying to focus too narrowly IMHO).

Robertson and Fraga have done an excellent job of portraying both the life of Marcus Aurelius and his guiding philosophy. The book was a gift from a dear friend, and I will treasure it both for how it came into my possession and for what it contains.

I especially recommend it as an early work for someone who wants to better understand what Stoicism is truly about.
January 2, 2023
Illustrert bok om livet til Marcus Aurelius.
Vil trekke frem den fiktive dialogen (med autentiske formuleringer) som viser hvordan Marcus KUNNE ha praktisert filosofien sin under beslutningstaking.
Profile Image for RhysEvans.
43 reviews1 follower
January 8, 2023
Can't imagine a more captivating way to learn about the life of the philosopher emperor.

Beautifully crafted book–would not hesitate to buy.

Never been a reader of graphic novels. Probably the last graphic novel I read was The Watchmen when I was in college.

But I loved reading Verrisimus so much, I've purchased the graphic novel of Sapiens for my next read.
Profile Image for Adam Piercey.
23 reviews2 followers
July 31, 2022
Verissimus is likely the most well researched historical graphic novel that has ever been published. Filled with vibrant imagery that invokes the sights and sounds of ancient Rome, the intriguing storyline of the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius pulls the reader in. This is no stuffy, academic text, but is instead a vivid retelling of the life and philosophy of one of history’s most profound leaders. Fantastic read.
12 reviews5 followers
July 19, 2022
Donald Robertson is hands down one of the best writers in the world of Stoicism and Verissimus is no exception. What makes Donald’s work so good is that he is able to artfully tell the story of ancient philosophy in a way that isn’t only palatable to a modern audience, it’s highly entertaining!

As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time studying Stoicism I can say that the graphic novel format of Verissimus is valuable in several ways. Firstly, it’s fun! It is a fresh and interesting way to learn about philosophy and ancient history. Secondly, the visual format tells the story in a way prose does not. While we often recognize the various challenges Marcus Aurelius faced, it is hard to paint a picture of what that might have looked like. Verissimus takes the guess work out and with Donald Robertson’s background studying the late Emperor you can have confidence that the story is true to the available evidence.

If you enjoy history… or philosophy… or graphic novels… then you should check this out because it is worth it’s salt in all three categories.
Profile Image for Mahon McCann.
Author 2 books
July 13, 2022
*I got an advanced copy of the book from the author*

Initially, I was sceptical because I don't read many graphic novels. But, I was quickly relieved to find Verissimus added a new and exciting dimension to the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, Stoicism and ancient philosophy in general. The drawings are outrageously cool and help to visually connect stories and anecdotes in a way that a written text doesn't. I found myself enthralled, drawing connections from Marcus's life with Emperor Hadrian to stories about Hercules's decisions, placing the philosophy within a historical and mythological context which felt very meaningful and exciting. Aside from being an inspirational and insightful introduction to Stoicism and Marcus's writing, Donald and the team have brought to life an important and vital part of Stoic, Roman, and, in my opinion, human history. A must-read for the stories, insights, and illustrations, and hopefully, the first of more to come.
36 reviews
November 12, 2022
I have been lucky to have received pre-release access to this book.

I have been studying Stoic philosophy for some time now, and have previously read various Stoic philosophy books, including "How to think like a Roman Emperor" also by Donald Robertson.

To give a little background, if you haven't come across Donald's writing before, he is a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist and has written a number of books on Stoicism and it's relationship to better mental health/self improvement.

This new book is a graphic novel. A genre I have never really looked into (last thing I read in this format was probably the Beano), and as someone who does enjoy an educational read I did wonder if it was for me.

Visually the book is stunning and the art work by Ze Nuno Fraga really fits the style of the time being portrayed. The time of Marcus Aurelius, Verissimus.

This is the story of how Marcus became emperor and lived his life. It tells of his studies, his teachers, and how he became who we know today (we have his own writings, Meditations to learn from too).

What I have really enjoyed about this novel is that it manages to tell stories, within the story. For example the choice of Hercules.

Even if you are an experienced Stoic, know of the facts, and have been practising for years, this graphic novel is a new take on the information, and I suggest would be suitable for younger people with an interest in history, philosophy, graphic novels and dare I say Stoicism, as well as an older audience.
Profile Image for Craig Carignan.
425 reviews4 followers
July 14, 2022
I really enjoyed the graphic novel. It was a quick read. Just what I needed to relax and read.
Profile Image for Mason Roulston.
4 reviews2 followers
July 8, 2022
I thought I knew a lot about Marcus Aurelius, this book showed me I didn’t!
2 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2022
This book is a union of the stirring wisdom of Donald Robertson and the jaw-dropping artwork. Verissimus offers insight as to how Marcus Aurelius became The Greatest Emperor Philosopher.

I made a mistake in a previous review, where I misconstrued the free gift PDF as the final version. This was my fault, and I'm grateful to share that I'll correct my previous review.
Profile Image for Randell Green.
Author 3 books30 followers
June 20, 2022
Advanced copy from Donald & NetGalley. Fantastic! The art is phenomenal and Donald carefully weaves in stoic lessons under the backdrop of several Roman wars. I really enjoyed how he taught Stoic lessons through the events of the characters. Additionally, his attention to detail with the language and culture of Romans was superb.
Profile Image for Sherry Brown.
501 reviews41 followers
February 24, 2022
I have always enjoyed graphics in a book and those in this book are awesome!!! It was a fast , and very enjoyable read!! Loved it!!!!
2 reviews
March 24, 2022
Received a copy through a GoodReads giveaway (thank you!) and loved the art in this book! The storytelling was well-paced and engaging.
Profile Image for Pop Bop.
2,475 reviews101 followers
March 6, 2022
Logic, Physics, Ethics - the Search for Virtue.........

Stoicism is popular right now, and that's all for the good. Its basic tenets are accessible, practical, and especially well-suited for navigating the world as it presently stands. There are many good books that lay out the basics, starting from the "Enchiridion" and "Discourses" of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations", right up to recently published volumes. Heck, you could start at Wikipedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica if you want a quick fix.

This book, though, takes a novel and engaging approach. As a graphic novel it has its limitations, but also a quirky appeal. By focusing on the life of Marcus Aurelius it adds a unique angle of interest, and emphasizes the historical origins of Stoicism and the development of Aurelius as a thinker. The book touches on the high points of the Stoic approach and it, for want of a better phrase, humanizes the development and establishment of the practice.

I don't know if I'd necessarily want to start my exploration of Stoicism here, although I guess one could do worse. In any event, for anyone interested in the Stoics and Marcus Aurelius this is an engaging and interesting contribution. A nice find.

(Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Profile Image for Sebastian.
11 reviews
May 22, 2023
Summary: 5 out of 5. This is an awesome graphic novel and I´d love you to read it. It is certainly remarkable for its subject matter alone - the historical (or historically grounded, we´ll get to that) life cycle of a Roman emperor and his application of Stoic philosophy to deal with what life threw at him isn´t exactly common ground for graphic novels. But I can´t argue with the result. So, why should you pick it up?

Visuals: Right out the gate, let´s give massive credits to Zé Nuno Fraga´s illustrations cause they are just stunning. I´ve read about the life of Marcus Aurelius before and knew the rough chain of events of his tenure, but the visuals made him come to life in a way that purely textual recollections can´t contest with. On most pages, the art style is realistic enough to immerse you in the various locations and character interactions covered. On some others, it is gorgeous enough to pull you out of the pages and make you sit down a while to appreciate the sheer dedication that went into the drawings. If I could rate this category higher, I would.

Content: As Robertson acknowledges himself, if you aren´t at least passingly familiar with Stoic philosophy from the outset, you might have a hard time getting its nuances by picking this title up. Rather than teach you the basics, it aims to visualize “Marcus´s philosophical precepts and psychological techniques in a more concrete way, placing them within the context of real events from his life.” And its quite effective at doing so. Yes, you´ll learn something about Stoic theoretics if you came here without any, but it mainly demonstrates how a historic figure drew on a remarkable body of thought to deal with the external pressures he faced as an emperor.

Story: Given its historicity, you might not blame me for spoiling by giving you an overview over Marcus´s life story, a man who died nearly two thousand years ago. Naturally, his life has been covered in great detail in many a thick volume, but in case that you might regardless: HIC ET NUNC COME THE SPOILERS.

Coherence: This last sentence might have already told you this, but this isn´t Robertson sticking to historical accuracy exclusively. Throughout this book a number of supernatural phenomena occur, which do not affect the “plot” all that much, but more generally the author has taken some creative liberties here and there. As he points out himself, he has filled some gaps that were not covered by historical records and relied on some questionable sources that color certain aspects of the story in shades that you might not want to leave unquestioned. Points for transparency. Given the length of time that passed since his death, it ought to be clear that we can´t know every detail of Marcus´s life. We need to rely on what we have and a graphic novel aiming to reconstruct it needs to take liberties where necessary. Where it did so, it did not strike me as problematizing the story it set out to tell and that´s that.

Tone: Throughout all his struggles, Marcus remains true to his path of living in line with Stoic philosophy, despite severe setbacks and ridicule for his philosophical musings by many of the Roman elite wishing him to adopt a more “hawkish” stance on state policy. From the records we got, it is believable that that´s an accurate depiction of our philosopher king. This book clearly doesn´t frame him as faultless, but at times I found it to paint his wisdom and generosity in an overly rosy manner. Then again, it is set out as a work of great admiration for the central character, so to be expect differently would be futile.

However, what I do take some issue with is the depiction of the non-Romans clashing with the empire. Sure, some Romans are framed as remarkably terrible human beings, but those depictions are mostly concerned with these individuals. Their enemies on the other hand are pretty exoticized at times. This doesn´t really go for the Parthians, but the Egyptian and especially Germanic and Sarmatian tribes are depicted as immensely bloodthirsty - quite literally so.

Needless to say, I´m not unconditionally defending Roman military expansionism. Seeing how little light was shown on the fact that throughout its history this massive empire was noteworthily held together by military power and the invasion of other peoples´ lands however, it was a bit jarring to me to see this somewhat skewed account. Then again, our attachment figure Marcus´s allegiance to Rome naturally stirs the story in a pro-Roman direction. I just felt it shouldn´t be left unsaid.

Final Thoughts: If you like Stoic philosophy, read it. It´s a beautiful depiction of one of the school´s most notable proponents and let´s you trace his steps in the most vivid form you can hope for at this point in time.
Profile Image for William.
425 reviews5 followers
February 20, 2022
3.5 star. See disclaimer below.

This book is an ambitious effort to bring the life and Stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius to the post-modern reader via the graphic novel. This technique is effective for telling the story in dramatic form and for setting the context of the why of Aurelius’ famous sayings. Much research went into presenting an accurate account of an obscure history, specifically regarding plagues and military campaigns during Aurelius’ times. While the message gets across, there are times when the history is dull, the characters excessively cruel, and the connections to stoicism hard to identify.

Disclaimer: I received this prepublication uncorrected proof as a giveaway for review and comment. I found the newspaper quality printing (will be glossy and colored when published) and the small font hard to read, which made my reading for critique harder. I tried to disregard this in my review.
Profile Image for Jeff Dicken.
18 reviews
September 10, 2022
I only very recently learned of this book, as I was reading The Philosophy Of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Donald Robertson. I have several of his other books in my home library and was really excited to learn of this graphic novel depicting the life and times of Marcus Aurelius. It’s not only an extremely thorough and detailed account of the political power plays and many wars of this period of the Roman Empire, but it’s also a beautifully illustrated book that kept me engaged from start to finish. It stands in a class of its own due to the fusion of first century AD history with graphic design. Such a quality contribution for lovers of history and philosophy, both of which this book has in spades. I’m certain there are embellishments and inaccuracies of varying degrees, but Donald & Co. have done their very best to consult historians and what remains of antiquity to present to us a highly entertaining, educational, and philosophical piece of art. Five stars.
Profile Image for Brad DeMaagd.
10 reviews
January 25, 2023
Donald Robertson and Ze Nuno Fraga have put together a graphic novel that is an excellent novel visually representing the events in the life and times of Marcus Aurelius and bringing forth and helping to explain the tenants of Stoicism. With artwork that bring the time and events to life , I found myself treating the text as a companion piece to How to Think Like a Roman Empereror (Mr. Roberson's earlier work on the practical application of the philosophy of Stoicism ). Instead of every page filled with text and pictures, the chapter division and brief quotes or description of what is to come in the chapters does make it easier to take it at a reflective pace, allowing someone to mentally marinate, before they move forward. After finishing, I would recommend this work prior to reading How to Think Like a Roman Emperor because it will make any novice to Aurelius or the Stoics a strong starting point before moving forward into this field and this time in history.
Profile Image for Wayne McCoy.
3,866 reviews22 followers
July 24, 2022
'Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius' by Donald J. Robertson with art by Ze Nuno Fraga is a graphic novel telling the life of the Roman ruler.

This book tells of the rise of one of the more powerful Caesars. When his father died, he was drawn to philosophy and that informed his life. Some of his ideas alienated him to those closest to him, but he was able to be a good leader.

at 272 pages, it's a fairly long graphic novel, but I found the story fascinating and enjoyed it. The art was nothing outstanding but serves the story adequately.

I received a review copy of this title from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Nilendu Misra.
246 reviews9 followers
October 1, 2022
A wonderful graphic novel about a full-fledged, often conflicted, and not wholly successful emperor of Rome, who, however, introduced philosophy from the unique vantage point of power. Marcus Aurelius wrote the “Meditations”, for himself, while fighting a brutal war. So, while he was no Plato, nor Heidegger, but his words reflect reality-induced insights and a calming sense of fatality - often known as stoicism. Beautiful “Modern European” style artwork and glossy pages make the hardcover a precious rarity. Great book!
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