The Mutilation Of Responsibility

The historian Ammianus Marcellinus, writing around A.D. 385, contrasts the indolence and effeminacy of the Romans with the vigor and truculence of the Gauls.  He tells us (XV.11) that the average Gaul is tall, insolent, proud, and “enthusiastic about fighting” (avidi iurgiorum).  His wife is even stronger than he is, and capable of landing punches on an enemy with such force that her fists “seem like catapult missiles launched from its twisted sinews (ut catapultas tortilibus nervis excussas).”

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“How Do I Expand My Social Circle In A Foreign Country?” (Podcast)

A reader who is living abroad in France is finding it difficult to meet new people. He has no desire to hang around with expats. People always revert to English when dealing with him, when he is trying to learn French. It is frustrating for him, and he wants to know if there are ways to get out of this dynamic. I offer some thoughts.

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The Bull Of Chrysame, And The Gold Of Pythopolis

The reckless pursuit of advantage and material gain inevitably leads the unwise to ruin.  It is a truth antique with age, yet fleeting in historical memory.  Two compelling tales buried in the forgotten pages of the historian Polyaenus (VIII.42—43) remind us of the lesson’s permanence.  We now resurrect them for our amusement and edification. 

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You’ve Got The Job: Now Get In There And Do It (Podcast)

A reader asks a question. He has just been assigned to a new position of great responsibility. The previous occupant of this position was a man much older than he. Our friend feels slightly intimidated and inadequate for the new job. To complicate things, the previous holder of the position has not helped our friend, and has implied that he’s too young. Our friend asks for some advice.

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The Terrors Of The God Pan

Those who have held leadership positions know that there are times when a group can become gripped by a sudden wave of panic or consternation.  It can happen without warning; there may even be no readily discernible reason for this collective psychological seizure.  Unless a leader takes stern and decisive measures without delay, such a panic can spiral out of control and plunge the group into disaster.

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The Top Ten Articles Of 2022

Year’s end is a time of reflection. We survey the landscape, and evaluate the passage of time. The ten most popular articles of 2022 are listed below. Some of them are surprises; others, less so. If you have not had a chance to check these pieces out, now might be a good time. The list below is arranged in order of the number of views, starting at the top.

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You Can’t Stampede People (Podcast)

A young woman from a conservative culture asks a relationship question. She is very fond of her boyfriend, an American man. She wants to move things in the direction of marriage, but the young man is ambivalent. He keeps putting her off. She wants to know what she can do to deal with the situation.

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The Serpent Of Pindus

The following tale is related by Aelian in his treatise On Animals (X.48).  In very ancient times the region of Emathia in northern Greece had a king name named Lycaon.  This king’s son was named Macedon; and it is from this name that the word for the country called Macedonia has come about.

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The Tolerant Wisdom Of Ibn Al Jawzi

We turn now to the wisdom of those who are able to extricate themselves from the ensnaring brambles of theological thickets.  The scholar and theologian Abd Al Rahman Ibn Al Jawzi, or more commonly Ibn Al Jawzi (ابن الجوزي), was born in Baghdad around 1115, and died there in 1201.    

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