Category Archives: The Ancient World

Sound Familiar?

“…So Numa forbade the Romans to represent God in the form of man or beast, nor was there any painted or graven image of a deity admitted amongst them for the space of the first hundred and seventy years, all … Continue reading

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Chill Out

In Ecclesiastes 12:12, Solomon says, “Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 B.C. to A.D. 65) … Continue reading

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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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Plato and “the Famous Flood”

In Book III of his Laws, Plato has his characters discuss the origins of human government. Beginning with 677a and running for some pages thereafter, the characters discuss in particular “the famous flood,” the massive destructions caused by it, and … 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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