Thursday, September 19, 2013


“Among the first to die was Cicero.  He had little estate, only debts, but Antony could not forgive the lash of the Phillipics.  Plutarch has told the tale of that winter afternoon in the wood by the sea-shore when the old man stretched out his frail neck to the centurion’s sword, and of that later day in Rome when the head was fixed by Antony’s order above the Rostra, and “the Romans shuddered, for they seemed to see there not the face of Cicero, but the image of Antony’s soul.”  He met his death in the high Roman fashion—the only misfortune of his life, says Livy which he faced like a man.  The verdict is scarcely fair; juster is the comment of the same historian that he is so great a figure that it would require a Cicero to praise him adequately."
-     John Buchan, Augustus (1937)

Top:  Vincenzo Foppa (1430-1515), Young Cicero Reading, fresco, ca. 1464, Wallace Collection, London.

Bottom:  L’assaninat de Cicéron, from Les Cas des nobles hommes et femmes, French manuscript miniature, Rouen, 1440. 

Note:  This post was inspired by yesterday's triple facts of: a) cleaning my office (partially). Cleaning remains finding; b) watching the gripping, very odd interview with President Assad of Syria on Fox News Special Report. Former congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and reporter Greg Palkot performed a valuable service presenting their interrogation and broadcast. I wish the phrase “the banality of evil” could be retired, however, along with “speaking truth to power; c) pondering deeply (for me) avenues and methods that might lead to substantial self-improvement.  As the New York State lottery commercials maintain, “You Never Know.”  And “You've Got To Be In It To Win It.”

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