Pliny the Younger – The Eruption of Vesuvius (Letter 6.20) To Cornelius Tacitus: In the last letter, I wrote about my uncle’s death. But now you’re asking about me, so I’ll tell my version of the events. My uncle left us & I went to go read. Afterwards, I hadContinue Reading

Pliny the Younger – The Eruption of Vesuvius (Letter 6.16) To Cornelius Tacitus: My uncle, Pliny the Elder, died in a terrible incident which also left our region in ruins. Let’s hope that our talking about him will immortalize him. He was with the fleet he was commanding at MisenumContinue Reading

“Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius (170-180 AD)   Book I: a list of “Thank yous” or sources of his wisdom: Grandfather (Verus): morals and even temper Biological father (Annius Verus): modesty and manly character Mother: piety and beneficence abstinence from evil deeds and thoughts simplicity of life, to live unlike mostContinue Reading

“Lucretius” by George Santayana (1910) We don’t know much about Lucretius other than what St. Jerome said about him He’d been given a love potion & went nuts. In between the psychotic episodes, he wrote the poem & it was edited by Cicero. At the age of 44, he killedContinue Reading

“On the Nature of Things” Book 4 by Lucretius (1st Century BC) 1-25 I’m just trying to experience all there is in the world All in order to teach others, to remove the bonds of religion & brace the reader for unpleasant truths that will cause him to recoil &Continue Reading

“On the Nature of Things” Book 3 by Lucretius (1st Century BC)   1-30 Lucretius is following in Epicurus;s footsteps even many years later, in another country, in another language He feels the desire to imitate Epicurus’s work & help spread his word around the world He enjoys reading &Continue Reading

“On the Nature of Things” Book 2 by Lucretius (1st Century BC) 1-62 It’s comforting to watch another ship fight the sea & wind while yours is calm, not because you rejoice in others’ struggles but because it reminds you of how nice it is to be free from struggleContinue Reading

“On the Nature of Things” Book 1 by Lucretius (1st Century BC) 1-49 Prays to Venus, who’s able to affect the seas, fertility of the land, the rising & setting of the sun, influence on all nature & life Puts love into all things Asks her to appease Mars &Continue Reading

“Contentment” by Plutarch (46-120 AD) How can money, reputation or power contribute to happiness & an untroubled life unless men find their presence agreeable & don’t always miss their absence What other than reason can restrain the irrational from getting out of control? Xenophon told us to be mindful ofContinue Reading

“The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” Chapter 16 by Edward Gibbon The Conduct of the Roman Government Towards the Christians From the Reign of Nero to that of Constantine Christianity persecuted by the Roman Emperors – We don’t know why non-believers were so anti-Christian. But in the 80Continue Reading

The progress of Christian religion and the sentiments, manners, numbers and conditions of the primitive Christians Christianity is an essential part of Roman history because of its infiltration into Roman politics and power. Difficulties in inquiry Scanty and suspicious documents of church history make study of facts difficult. Must revealContinue Reading

“Confessions” by Augustine Book I I. [Addressed to God] You should be praised because of your infinite power and wisdom. Man is so little, sinful and proud. But at least we have the ability to look to you. You made us but you made our hearts restless. Should I callContinue Reading

“The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Caesar” by Plutarch Julius Caesar’s wife was Cornelia, Cinna’s daughter. Cinna used to run things in Rome. Then Sulla came along and was the big boss. Sulla stopped Caesar at every attempt to gain some sort of office in Rome. The reasonContinue Reading

“The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Lycurgus and Numa Compared” by Plutarch 1 – Similar: Moderation, piety, talent for governing and educating, deriving laws from a divine source. Different: Numa accepted the role of king without asking for it, Lycurgus was given the role of king and resignedContinue Reading

“The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans: Numa Pompilius” by Plutarch 1 – Not much about Numa’s family is well known. However, starting at Numa and going forward, the genealogy is fairly well known. It appears that the records on him were destroyed by attacks from Gaul and muchContinue Reading