Some Wisdom From Chilon And Diogenes

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Here are some sayings and stories taken from Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of the Philosophers.  I’ve mentioned this book in a few previous articles here.  Practical life advice, amusing anecdotes, and mischievous criticisms of famous names never lose their freshness or fail to bring a smile.  Indeed, we often forget that one of the greatest lessons philosophy can teach us is a sense of humor about ourselves and most other worldly things.

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Many Go To The Market-Place, But Few Seek The Crown At Olympia

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Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of the Philosophers contains interesting stories and sayings of a great many ancient Greek sages, of whom most we would otherwise know almost nothing.  My own well-worn copy of the book presented me recently with the wit and wisdom of Lyco, who is said to have lived from 299 to 225 B.C.  The details about his life and legacy are found in V.4 of the Lives.

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“Someone’s Lecturing Me On How To Be A Parent” (Podcast)

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A reader is annoyed that someone is trying to tell him how he should approach and think about his parental responsibilities.

This person is appears to be crossing lines of decorum, but as often happens, I suspect there is more to the story here.

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Mehmet II (The Conqueror) Takes Constantinople

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Many decades before 1453 (the year Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Turks), the Byzantine “Empire” had become a sad parody of its former self.  Mismanagement, bad leadership, and the inability of the old state to cope with the challenges of its strategic environment had fatally doomed it long before Ottoman cannon breached its walls.

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Three Great Ways To Cook With Bones

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I love meat, and I love bones.  And we should try to pair these two things together whenever we can.  Professional chefs will tell you that the things always taste better with the bones left in.  But due to the increasingly sanitized society we live in, we’re losing touch with the beauty and taste of bones.  I wanted to write this article in praise of bones, in the hope that you consider making them a part of your culinary rotation.

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]

Michael Psellus On The Challenge Of Being An Emperor

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Michael Psellus (1017-1078?) was a Greek cleric, historian, and advisor to a number of Byzantine emperors.  His work, known by the name Chronographia, is a series of biographical portraits of fourteen emperors occupying the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire from about 978 to 1050.  Although not a well-known work, it is a candid and intimate record of palace events that the author had first-hand knowledge of.

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The Grave Of Suleiman The Magnificent

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A news agency recently reported the discovery of the tomb of Suleiman the Magnificient, who by general consensus was the greatest of all the Ottoman sultans.  Suleiman, who lived from 1494 to 1566, is now nearly unknown in the West; but he was, in the words of one eminent historian, “the greatest and ablest ruler of his age.”

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