My illustrated, annotated translation of Cicero’s De Finibus (On Moral Ends) was released today. Purchase details can be found by clicking on the image above. An audio version will be also soon be available. This article will explain the unique features of this highly original translation, and why it represents a new direction for what may be Cicero’s most profound work.
I walked to the ruins of the Platonic Academy in Athens this morning. Founded by Plato himself around 387 B.C., it persisted through many generations under a variety of scholarchs (i.e., heads). It finally came to an official end during the reign of the emperor Justinian in 529 A.D., who ordered the closure of all the pagan institutions of higher learning.
There comes a time in the life of every son or daughter when they begin to see their parents as flawed mortals. Before this, they are still under the spell of their upbringing; they see their parents more as imposing authority figures than as anything else. I am not sure exactly when, or how, this transition takes place; for some it may be one event, for others it may be a series of events, or an incremental process. But it does happen, and the son begins to see the father as the human being he is, in all his definitive defects and foibles.
Of the literary works of classical antiquity, only a fraction have survived to the present day. What fraction this is, we do not know; one estimate places it at one-fourth, but the true figure will never be known. The reader may wonder how it can be that literary masterpieces could have been permitted to fade into obscurity, and then oblivion; but, on further reflection, he will marvel more at the fact that anything at all survived from antiquity than rue the losses we have suffered. Printing and the mass production of books are relatively new inventions. For most of history (in Europe at least) books could only be reproduced as fast as a copyist could transcribe them. Multiplicity was the only insurance against destruction: the more copies in existence, the better the book’s chance of survival.
The audio book of my translation of Cicero’s Stoic Paradoxes is now available on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible. You can find it by clicking on the image above. The audio book is complete and unabridged; it contains the complete texts of Stoic Paradoxes, as well as the Dream of Scipio, along with summaries and commentary.
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.
When Quintus Curtius’s translation of On Duties was first published in 2016, it achieved something few would have thought possible.