The Complete Lecture Series On “Stoic Paradoxes” And “On Moral Ends”

In 2015 and 2018, I made a series of podcasts discussing Cicero’s Stoic Paradoxes and On Moral Ends.  In response to continuing interest and questions, I thought it would be useful to provide all the links to these lectures in one place.  Having all of them consolidated can be a real convenience, and I want to do everything I can to assist students and general readers.  The most benefit can be gained from these podcasts if listeners also have the texts of my translations of these works.

Continue reading

The Hardcover Edition Of “On Moral Ends” Is Now Available

The hardcover version of the groundbreaking new translation of Cicero’s On Moral Ends is now available.  It can be found on AmazonBarnes & Noble, The Book Depository, Books-A-Million, and many other retailers as well.  Let me know if you have any questions or issues.  Some people prefer hardcover for important literary works, so I wanted to accommodate these requests.

Continue reading

“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?

Continue reading

“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?

Continue reading

The Sirens Seduced Not With Song Or Pleasure, But With The Prospect Of Knowledge

Many readers, no doubt, have heard the Homeric fable about the Sirens.  These were the alluring mythical creatures who, by using their advanced powers of song, were able to divert mariners who happened to sail by the rocks they inhabited in the Mediterranean Sea.  Their voices were supposed to be so seductive that sailors could not resist them.  And when they approached the Sirens’ rocks to get a better look, they ran aground and were destroyed.  This, at least, is what the Greek mythologists have told us.

Continue reading

“On Moral Ends” Lecture Series: Part 1

This podcast is the first of a series of three podcasts that will discuss Cicero’s treatise On Moral Ends.  I have just published an illustrated, annotated translation of this rich and nuanced work, and wanted to introduce readers to the book’s major concepts and arguments.  This podcast discusses the following subjects:

Continue reading

“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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Journey Through Life, And Out Of Life

When one examines the characters of different civilizations, one begins to notice commonalities of concern.  That is, recurring patterns.  Especially in the most ancient of civilizations.  There is this obsession with capturing the Spirit of Life, mastering its principles, and using that Mastery as a sort of pole-vault—if you will—to leap over the Wall of Life into the realm of the After-Life.  Look at those old Assyrian stone reliefs, showing the bearded kings pollinating their date-plants, which were the staff of life in the ancient Near East.  Look at the pharaoh smiting his enemies with a mace, and enjoying every minute of it.  Mastering life in order to master death, in other words.

Continue reading

Coming In December 2018: A New Annotated And Illustrated Translation Of Cicero’s “On Moral Ends”

In December, Fortress of the Mind Publications will be releasing my new annotated and illustrated translation of Cicero’s work On Moral Ends (De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum).  This announcement will provide some details about the book and what it contains.

Continue reading