The Remarkable Memoirs Of Madame Roland

When a writer composes his or her memoirs while in prison awaiting execution, we owe it to ourselves to consider what they have to say.  It may be a cliché that the prospect of death focuses the memory and concentration, but it is a cliché that is powerfully true.  In Chapter 5 of Thirty-Seven, I discussed the fate of Boethius, who wrote his Consolation of Philosophy while languishing in a dungeon (and awaiting execution) for a crime he did not commit.  I recently heard of another last testament written during captivity:  the poignant memoirs of Jeanne Manon Roland (1754–1793), known to history simply as Madame Roland.

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On The Forgetting Of Offenses And Insults

It is a good thing for us to cultivate our aggressive spirit.  Life requires participation, and participation demands endurance and adrenaline; and he who enters battle with a spirit of meek submissiveness is likely to get precisely what he asks for.  All this is true.  Yet the patient endurance of the pack-mule may be just as valuable as the explosive fury of the panther:  the former triumphs by being able to endure, while the latter may find itself fatally exhausted once its initial burst of energy is spent.  Life more often demands the ability to absorb punishment than the ability to deliver it to others.

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The Fragility Of Historical Knowledge: The Case Of Lorenzo Boturini In Mexico

In the modern era we like to think of knowledge as something indelibly fixed and permanent.  We take it for granted that it will always be here, like the Great Pyramid, and are apt to overlook the bitter struggles that our ancestors may have endured to acquire such knowledge.  Information has not always been as easy to obtain as it is now.  As we read about the adventures of scholars of the past, we get the distinct impression that the learned men who came before us had a hardiness and tenacity that is lacking in the modern era.  I will let the reader judge for himself.

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Paulus Catena: The Psychology Of An Accuser And The Anatomy Of A Witch-Hunt

Witch-hunts and persecutions thrive in environments where certain conditions are met.  There must be some driving motivation, such as greed, envy, ideology, or hate; there must be willing accomplices who spread accusations and create new ones; and there must exist some tolerance of the persecution, whether from the leadership at the top or from the affected group at large.  When these conditions are met, witch-hunts can seize hold of a group and spread as quickly as a wildfire.  They are sustained by fear and hysteria; the affected group is made to feel as if hidden enemies are lurking around every corner and hiding behind every curtain.

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The Brutal Siege Of Amida

The Persian king Shapur II (A.D. 309–379) decided early in his reign to recover by force several of the Roman Empire’s eastern provinces, especially the rich lands of Mesopotamia and Armenia.  In the year 359 he focused his attention on capturing the city of Amida; the city was located in the spot currently occupied by Diyarbakir in Turkey.  Its extended siege and dramatic fall are recounted in detail by Ammianus Marcellinus, whose account (Res Gestae XVIII.9) forms the primary source for the present article.  The historian was personally present during the siege and took part in its defense, and his account of the battle forms one of the most dramatic episodes of his book.

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Josephine Livingstone Corrects Her Characterization Of Me By Amending Her Article In The “New Republic”

Shortly after I published my post this morning on Dr. Josephine Livingstone’s false characterization of me as an alt rightist, I was contacted personally by Dr. Livingstone.  This showed real character on her part, and very much appreciated.

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