Category Archives: Ancient Rome

Have Yourself A Tranquil Little Death

Stoic philosopher and essayist Seneca (ca. 4 B.C. to A.D. 65) talks with stirring idealism about how to die tranquilly at Fortune’s apparently arbitrary hand. The first thing one must do is to cultivate flexibility: “We should also make ourselves … Continue reading

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Biblical and Stoic Ethics

It is sometimes argued that the New Testament owes some of its theological ethics to Greco-Roman Stoicism. At my present state of knowledge I can’t enter into that debate, but I find the following parallels interesting. I Scripture: “But the … Continue reading

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Stoic Holiness

Seneca (ca. 4 B.C. to 65 A.D.), a Stoic “wise man,” believes that neither himself nor anything he has is truly his own, but belongs to, another, Dame Fortune, who has allowed him to hold it for a short time: … Continue reading

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All Is Vanity: Deal With It

Seneca (ca. 4 B.C. to 65 A.D.) recommends that since life often sends us for a loop, we should just sit down, shut up, and deal with it: You must reflect that fettered prisoners only at first feel the weight … Continue reading

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Keeping to the Inner Track

One of the ways to obtain the quality of euthymia, “tranquillity [of mind], says Seneca (ca. 4 B.C. to 65 A.D.), is to practice thrift in all things: Let us get used to banishing ostentation, and to measuring things by … Continue reading

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Worthless Books

In line with his Stoic principle that “excess in any sphere is reprehensible,” Seneca (ca. 4 B.C. to 65 A.D.) has this to say about having too large a library: Even in our studies, where expenditure is most worth while, … Continue reading

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Roman Roads

Here’s a bit of trivia about Ancient Rome that I find interesting: the Roman road system consisted of 370 distinct highways which, taken together, ran for about 53,000 miles. This is about the same length as the U.S. Interstate system. … Continue reading

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Cicero on the Ground of Law and Justice

Cicero, passionately arguing for the grounding of law and justice in nature, points out what happens if one believes that law is instead rooted in the written laws and customs of particular communities at particular times, and individuals are left … Continue reading

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Notes on the Traditional Roman Account of Roman History

The traditional account of Roman history to the third century B.C. exhibits different standards of historiography than does our own, and carries different historical importance. In what follows I will discuss three major factors which informed and shaped the traditional … Continue reading

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Fides, Diffidatio, and Tyranny

This is interesting. In my original B.A. thesis work on conciliarism (some of which is as yet unpublished), I developed the idea of multiple streams of thought about authority in Western Christendom throughout the Middle Ages. The sources I had … Continue reading

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