We find a stirring anecdote in the history of Valerius Maximus that does not appear in any other ancient source. There was once a centurion named Mevius who fought for Octavian (who would eventually become Caesar Augustus) during the civil war between him and Antony. Of Mevius we know very little; even his full name has eluded history.Continue reading
Far too often, we base our opinions on what we absorb from others. But if you have done the homework, if you have done the heavy lifting, and if you know the material, you should have the confidence to form your own thoughts. People read your writings because they want to know what YOU think, not what some other nibbler thinks. A critical step in intellectual independence is having the courage to state your own opinion on some learned topic, once you have earned the rights to do so.Continue reading
Captain Adolf Von Schell was an infantry officer in the German Army during the First World War. In 1930 he gave a series of lectures on battle leadership to American officers at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia. These presentations were later collected into a book called Battle Leadership. In this podcast, I read a short selection from Capt. Von Schell’s book, and discuss its relevance for today.
In this podcast, we discuss a reader’s email asking about the differences between courage and recklessness. What are the parameters? And how do we know when we have gone too far?
We then close with more G Manifesto tweet readings.
In a letter to Titinius Capito, the Roman official and career lawyer Pliny discusses the idea of writing a book of history. Of particular concern to him was the choice of topic: he was uncertain whether he should treat an ancient or a modern subject. Valid arguments existed for both options. An older subject might allow for a more considered perspective, far removed from the passions of immediate memory; whereas the treatment of a current subject might inflame unreasonable emotions in his readers. Pliny has serious doubts about choosing a subject that might be within the living memory of his readers. He summarizes his feelings with this sentence: