The Roman lawyer and government official Pliny the Younger wrote a fascinating letter to the historian Cornelius Tacitus that has fortunately been preserved for posterity (Letters I.20). The topic discussed is whether it is better to deliver a long speech, or a short one. Pliny says he has often debated this subject with a learned friend who believes conciseness in public speech is the best policy.Continue reading
On The Death Of Seneca
There is a preparatory plaster statue, very finely executed by Eduardo Barrón, on display at the Museo Nacional del Prado Museum in Madrid. It is called Nero and Seneca, and it was completed in 1904. Barrón never produced a final version in marble or bronze; and although it remains a preliminary study, it is a powerfully evocative depiction of two strong personalities. Seneca points at a passage in an unrolled book before him, and is leaning towards Nero, evidently to make some pedagogic point. The young Nero, whom Seneca had the misfortune to tutor, remains slouched in his chair, a clenched fist pressed against his temple in sullen opposition to the lesson his teacher is attempting to expound.
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