“On Moral Ends” Lectures: Part 3 (Podcast)

This podcast is the third and final lecture in a series of three on my translation of Cicero’s On Moral Ends. In this lecture, we focus on the fifth and final book of On Moral Ends, which deals with the somewhat eclectic philosophy of Antiochus of Ascalon.

The speakers in book V, Cicero and Marcus Piso, debate Antiochus’s views and tussle over whether his conception of the Ultimate Good is better, or worse, than the Ultimate Good proposed by the Stoics and Epicureans. Can wisdom and virtue stand alone, or do other “goods” matter too? What do we really need for a happy life?

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“On Moral Ends” Lectures, Part 2 (Podcast)

This podcast, the second in a series of three, discusses the highlights of books III and IV of Cicero’s “On Moral Ends.” In these two books, Cato and Cicero aggressively debate the merits of Stoicism and its conception of the Ultimate Good. The discussion takes place at Tusculum, Italy, a place that was extensively photographed by the translator in preparation of this work.

When reading books III and IV, ask yourself what you think of the points raised by the disputants. How does Stoicism compare with Epicureanism, in your view?

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“On Moral Ends” Is Now Available

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.

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Seeing The Platonic Academy

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.

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Why We Should Forgive The Faults Of Our Heroes

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.

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The Mystery Of Cicero’s Lost Work “On Glory”

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.

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Now Available: The Audio Book Of “Stoic Paradoxes”

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.

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