Be Scrupulous About What You Write: The Lesson Of Rhazes

Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyyā al-Rāzī (known in the West by his Latinized name Rhazes) is considered one of the most original and accomplished of the medieval Muslim physicians.  An impressive list of achievements is linked to his name: he pioneered the study of pediatrics, ophthalmology, synthesized laboratory acids, composed treatises on smallpox and measles, wrote voluminously in a number of scientific fields, and had extensive practical experience with treating patients.

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Coming In December 2018: A New Annotated And Illustrated Translation Of Cicero’s “On Moral Ends”

In December, Fortress of the Mind Publications will be releasing my new annotated and illustrated translation of Cicero’s work On Moral Ends (De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum).  This announcement will provide some details about the book and what it contains.

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Case Studies In Conflict: Richard Overy’s “War: A History In 100 Battles”

We hear a lot of talk about “new generations” of warfare.  Everything is supposed to be new, different, and immutably changed from previous eras of conflict.  Some people have even taken to numbering what they see as historical phases of warfare.  First generation, second generation, third generation, etc.  While there is some merit to this classification system, I think its disadvantages outweigh its advantages.  Such neat categorizations tempt us into believing that things are somehow different now than they have been in the past.

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The Ghosts Of Cumae

The ancient town of Cumae was the oldest Greek colony in the west.  It was founded in the last quarter of the 8th century B.C.  From the town’s acropolis one can see the island of Procida and its smaller islet of Vivara; farther away is the island of Ischia.  Mycenaean artifacts have been found on these islands, proving the presence of Greek colonists in the area in the 8th century.  We are told that Ischia was called Pithekoussai in Greek, which means “island of the monkeys.”

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Driving On The Amalfi Coast

This was one of the best drives of my life.  If you ever have the chance to see the Amalfi Coast, see it.  This is not some ride through the same sea-side villages you’ve seen in other places:  it is something very different.  It’s a community that is literally built into the cliffs and rocks that overlook the sea, and this gives it a feel of something like a human bat colony, or an ancient hive.  Photos can never really do it justice, but I hope they can give the reader an idea of what to expect.

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The Road To Tusculum

Today I visited the site of the old Roman town of Tusculum.  It is located in the Alban Hills outside Rome, near the modern town of Frascati.  It is close to Barco Borghese, Monte Porzio Catone, and Montecompatri.  In Cicero’s day, Tusculum was known as a fashionable spot for the elite to have summer villas.  Cicero himself owned a villa in Tusculum, and although its precise location has not yet been identified, he and his friends walked the ground there many times.

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