The ancient Persians held ingratitude to be a very serious offense: for them it was a gateway, in fact, to all kinds of vices. Xenophon, in his Cyropaedia, describes the prevailing attitude in Persian society in this regard:Continue reading
We do not know the precise location of Charlemagne’s birthplace. He donned the crown at the ripe age of twenty-nine in 771 A.D. upon the death of Carloman II. From that moment he became embroiled in an almost ceaseless series of military campaigns designed both to expand his frontiers and safeguard them; in this turbulent age, kings needed to fight as well as administrate. Historians tell us that he undertook around fifty-three campaigns, and personally commanded most of them.Continue reading
We have here very frequently discussed the necessity of training in character and the virtues as a lifelong activity. This subject is the concern of moral philosophy: that is, the study of conduct and the virtues. It is through moral philosophy that a man’s passions are bridled, directed, and channeled for positive use. Without this discipline, he never learns to sublimate his ego to a higher purpose; he begins to think of himself as an emperor, a man beyond the reach of the rules and obligations that apply to everyone else. Selfishness, arrogance, and close-mindedness creep into the subconscious, eventually to dominate every waking impulse.
It has been said, my son, that a society which neglects its youth is a society unworthy of survival. For while libraries and museums may be repositories of our cultural heritage, it is the youth that embody our sentient aspirations, and, through their activities, redeem our errors with the vitality of innocence. Yet surging waters require dams and embankments to control their flows; their energies must be checked and directed into proper channels, lest this raw force of effluence create a destructive tide. To this end I offer some words of advice. I have drawn up seven of them; there are probably many more, but certainly there are none less.