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How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius (English Edition) Format Kindle
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Description du produit
Biographie de l'auteur
Donald Robertson is a cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist, trainer, and writer. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and after living in England and working in London for many years, he emigrated to Canada where he now lives.Robertson has been researching Stoicism and applying it in his work for twenty years. He is one of the founding members of the non-profit organization Modern Stoicism. Donald is the author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition paperback.
Détails sur le produit
- ASIN : B07D2C5NNV
- Éditeur : St. Martin's Press (2 avril 2019)
- Langue : Anglais
- Taille du fichier : 1656 KB
- Synthèse vocale : Activée
- Lecteur d’écran : Pris en charge
- Confort de lecture : Activé
- X-Ray : Activé
- Word Wise : Activé
- Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 293 pages
- Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon : 88,373 en Boutique Kindle (Voir les 100 premiers en Boutique Kindle)
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À propos de l'auteur
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However, for me this book is ruined by the invention and inaccuracies in the author's misunderstanding of Roman history, which he tells as though they are facts. There are very few good sources for the level of detail the author attempts to construct - the slightly preferrable being Cassius Dio - however everything covering the Nerva–Antonine dynasty (the author fails to mention sucession began further back than Hadrian) was written down decades afterwards from stories that were already resembling Chinese whispers, and other sources (eg The Historia Augusta) are often best viewed as sattirical gossip. The best (worst) example of the author's creative license is in relation to Hadrian - who many historians recognise as one of the most cultured and tolerant of the Roman emperors, and who, like Marcus Aurelius, only engaged in war very reluctantly (towards the end of his reign). The author however seems to have no problem extrapolating a tale from a source (named Galen) that Hadrian apparently blinded a servant in the eye with a stylus - Galen himself being born towards the end of Hadrian's life, and raised in Pergamum (now Bergama, Turkey), a great many miles from Rome. So how given the distance in time and space would he know if such a story was true? It was commmonplace for all the emperors to have tales told at their expense, by rivals in the senate who saught to profit from misinformation. The author accepts this occured during Marcus Aurelias' reign - in fact it happened throughout antiquity, just as it does today. Additionally a number of statements from Roman historians such as Cassius Dio are recognised to be apportioned to the wrong emperors, (Hadrian telling a woman he did not have time to listen to her, and then returning to hear her after she said "cease then being emperor" is now believed to be derived from a tale about Trajan). The author then uses this snippet from a single source (ask any modern day students of the classics what they think of this approach) to fabricate how Hadrian was routinely belligerent and liable to fits of rage, so much so that the author then concludes this must be a large part of the reason Marcus Aurelius hardly mentions Hadrian in the meditations. Can this really be so? Hadrian only planned the succession of Marcus towards the end of his reign, when his original planned heir - Lucius Aelius Caesar, died of an illness in AD 138, barely six months before Hadrian himself died. Exactly how much the author could expect Marcus to write of an emperor he barely met as a young child? Meanwhile surrounded by his adopted father-emperor and the many teachers who he spent much of his growing life with, of course Marcus could write about them and thus very little about Hadrian. It would appear then that the author bends and creates flawed stories to fit his own narrative, rather than apply the stoic philosphy he talks of. A stoic would ask himself objectively if the stories he creates are suitably accurate, and whether they should be presented as conceptual pieces rather than fact. Perhaps he should also read Marguerite Yourcenar's well-researched and excellent "Memoirs of Hadrian".
Another problem not really discussed in the book, but does appear in the author's blog - the succession of Commodus: one of the worst emperors to be let loose on Rome - at least all historical sources agree to that. The author seems intent on defending Marcus Aurelius (perhaps in part because he tries to identify with him through the loss of a father at a young age) and so concludes "you cannot blame fathers for their sons"... really? Where did Commodus come from? And why did Marcus leave it until too late to plan (yes we know of the plague - a wise man would surely think all the more reason to plan well)? Why not appoint an adopted brother to replace Marcus Annius Verus as a co-emperor? (bloodshed apparently, but if the adopted brother had the respect of the army, and we know Commodus did not, the latter would not have so easily dominated). Of course historians for centuries have debated the what-ifs of Marcus Aerlius' succession plan - but the (tragic) irony stands that Pax Romana and ancient stoicsm died because of the actions of its main proponent - Marcus Aerelius. And on that - comes the realisation that too much naval gazing doesn't an empire save.
In Zen Buddhism there is the saying "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water". Meditation and philosphy are only part of the picture, there are always tasks to do, and this may be where Stoicism and Zen diverge more subtly - the latter strives for awareness in the present moment, which ultimately means knowing what needs to be done (if any "doing" is needed), and doing it better. I wish the author well and hope he considers a re-write.
Commenté au Royaume-Uni le 21 juin 2020