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.
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:
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?
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.
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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.