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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The Shortness Of Life, And The Second Death

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There is a passage in Cicero’s treatise Tusculan Disputations I was thinking about today while driving home from work.  The passage begins as a parable, then closes with a glorious invocation to action.  Cicero makes an analogy from nature observed near the River Hypanis, then draws some conclusions from that analogy.  He says:

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The Three Things That Deflect Us From Love

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Several days ago I received a warm email from a young guy in Brooklyn who had read one of my recent articles here.  The story, told in the form of a fable, underscored the importance of taking the initiative in matters of love.  His questions were these:  How do I know when to take the initiative?  How can I develop my “initiative-taking” spirit?

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Some Writers Just Speak To You (Podcast)

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A reader writes to ask whether I like Cicero more than certain other authors.  This leads to a general discussion about what draws us, almost unconsciously, to prefer some writers over others.  Why do some writers resonate with us?  The reasons may surprise you.

This podcast was brought to your courtesy of delta2alpha.com.  A knife-making company with a difference.

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Fear Or Love? The Views Of Cicero And Machiavelli (Podcast)

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Is it better to be feared or loved?  This famous question is more nuanced than people think, and was addressed specifically by Cicero in “On Duties” as well as by Machiavelli in his “Prince” and “Discourses.”  Yet there has been much oversimplification and misunderstanding on this subject.
We also discuss whether Stoicism lends itself to passivity and fatalism.

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Conduct, Obligations, And Decision-Making: Details Of My New Book “On Duties” (Podcast)

This podcast discusses my new book, On Duties.  It is the most explanatory, readable, and well-organized translation of Cicero’s classic that is available in English, and perhaps in any language.  In this podcast, I provide the three reasons why this is so. I also discuss the great theme running through the book: the idea of greatness of spirit.

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