The Thief Who Stole The Pharaoh’s Money

One of Herodotus’s charms is that he is always willing to share a good tale.  Some of these stories he apparently believes; others strike him as dubious.  Either way, he considers them imporant, and dutifully records their details.  “Those who find such things credible,” he warns us, “must make what use of them they will of the stories of the Egyptians.  My own responsibility, however, as it has been throughout my writing of this entire narrative, is simply to record whatever I may be told by my sources [II.123].”

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The Positivism Of Benjamin Constant

I made an effort today to visit the house and museum of Benjamin Constant in the Santa Teresa neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.  I had visited it some years ago and thought it would be a good idea to see it again to gain some perspective.  The site was closed for renovations, unfortunately, so I had to content myself with a few photographs of the surrounding area.  These can be found below.

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Selection And Supervision Are Critical In Any Great Enterprise

I have lately been rereading Candace Millard’s excellent River of Doubt, a narrative of Theodore Roosevelt’s ill-fated sojourn through the Amazon in 1914.  As is well known, the expedition was plagued by a lack of adequate food supplies and equipment.   This fact nearly caused the entire project to unravel once it was deep in the Amazon.

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The Pitfalls And Vices Of Old Age

We are afflicted by different vices in different periods of life.  While much energy is spent in discussing the pitfalls and failings of youth, it is just as important to be mindful of the pitfalls of old age.  It seems to me that these are especially difficult to correct if not identified for what they are; and just as ivy may slowly encroach on a neighboring plant and choke the life out of it, so may the vices of old age bring what may once have been an admirable life to a miserable conclusion.

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The Importance Of Thinking On One’s Feet: A Lucky Escape For Ibn Abi Muslim

We all know that the ability to think on one’s feet is an important skill.  There may even be times when this ability makes the difference between survival and execution.  The amusing anecdote that follows appears in Ibn Khallikan’s biographical sketch (IV.200) of a government official and administrator (مولى) named Yazid Ibn Abi Muslim, who served under an Umayyad governor of Iraq named Al-Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf (c. 661—714 A.D.).

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Hercules And The Apple Of Athena

One of the fables of Aesop concerns Hercules and Athena.  One day, Hercules was proceeding along a pathway in the mountains when he spotted an apple lying on the ground.  Irritated at its presence, he decided to smash it with his club; and when he tried to do so, the apple doubled in size.  Shocked, he swung his club at it again, this time determined to crush it completely.

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