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.
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.
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.
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.
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.