The Object Of One’s Desire Is The Means Of One’s Capture

The Roman writer Aelian, in his treatise On the Nature of Animals (De Natura Animalium), collects many interesting facts related to the habits and behaviors of the creatures of the land, sea, and air. It is unfortunate that he felt compelled to write in Greek instead of Latin, but I suppose this is a decision forgivable for an educated Roman long steeped in Greece’s literary and rhetorical heritage.

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The Best Reliance Is Self-Reliance

The Roman writer Aelian makes an interesting comment in his Varia Historia (II.39) about the education of Cretan youths in ancient times.  He says that the children of citizens (presumably both boys and girls) would learn the laws of their island with musical accompaniment as an aid to memorization. 

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Ancient Greek Athleticism And The Idea Of Virtue

This morning my friend Dr. Michael Fontaine sent me an email that contained the following quote by the French Enlightenment thinker Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle.  When Fontenelle, at the age of 85, met Rousseau in 1742, he counseled him, “You must courageously offer your brow to laurel wreaths, and your nose to blows.” 

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Jean de La Bruyère’s Thoughts On Money, Wealth, And Fortune

The French essayist and philosopher Jean de La Bruyère achieved a degree of notoriety for his work Characters (Les Caractères ou les Mœurs de ce siècle), which he published in 1688.  He died young, at the age of 50 in 1696; perhaps his pen might have produced more marvels had fortune provided him more longevity. 

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What You Vote For, You Must Also Commit To

The Athenian statesman and general Phocion lived from about 402 to 318 B.C.  He was famous for his frugal and unassuming personal habits; and he always put the interests of his country first, in stark opposition to his careerist, opportunistic contemporaries. 

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Making Things Personal

I was walking today through some side-streets of Falmouth, Massachusetts and saw a lawn sign that caught my attention.  The sign said, “Drive As If Your Kids Live Here.”  What an effective message, I thought to myself.  The writer is making a direct appeal to the reader, asking him to put himself in the shoes of the people living in the neighborhood. 

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The Patriotic Wisdom Of General John Stark

One of the most impressive names in the annals of American Revolutionary War leadership is that of General John Stark of New Hampshire.  Few of his peers equaled him in fighting prowess, tenacity, and strength of character; and while his name may be unfamiliar today, this is only because he was an apolitical animal who scrupulously refused to seek the garlands of notoriety and fame.

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Some Leadership Principles Of John Paul Jones, In His Own Words

John Paul Jones, in a 1781 portrait [PD: US]

I have lately had the pleasure to read some of John Paul Jones’s correspondence during the American Revolution.  It was a surprise to me how many notables he communicated with—not just with his political superiors, but with Benjamin Franklin, the King of France, Lafayette, and many others. 

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