The Utopia of Thomas More: A Contemporary Battleground

By |2017-06-22T08:37:43-05:00March 9th, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Cicero, Literature, Philosophy, Plato, St. Augustine, Thomas More|

By thinking through the limits and possibilities of political life, as presented in Utopia, the careful reader imitates Cicero and Thomas More by preparing for politics through the careful study of great literature… “The struggle is not merely over an iso­lated work of genius but over a whole culture”—so says Stephen Greenblatt about Thomas [...]

An American Augustan Age of Literature

By |2016-12-08T10:56:00-06:00October 19th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Classics, Featured, Great Books, History, Virgil|

The Augustan Age refers to a time period broadly revolving around the restoration of order (if not necessarily liberty) at the end of the Roman republic and the beginning of the empire—roughly 50BC to 120AD. Many scholars label it the “Silver Age of Roman Literature.” Every one of the authors listed below held numerous [...]

The Protestant Heritage of Classical Humanism: Melanchthon & Cicero

By |2019-07-09T10:46:16-05:00August 17th, 2016|Categories: Christian Humanism, Cicero, Classical Learning|

Here is the grand fact that Protestant theologians always overlook. They, in reality, always present nature and grace as two antagonistic powers, and suppose the presence of the one must be the physical destruction of the other. Luther and Calvin, weary of the good works, and shrinking from the efforts to acquire the personal [...]

The Sword of Damocles: No Friends for the Tyrant

By |2016-04-24T11:38:31-05:00March 17th, 2016|Categories: Christopher Morrissey, Cicero, Featured, History, Plato, Tyranny|

Plato tried to act as a political advisor to the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse. Famously, it was a fiasco. What are the sources of this failure? Cicero, in his Tusculan Disputations, has an interesting section on Dionysius. He tells us how Dionysius ruled over the Syracusans for thirty-eight years, beginning his rule when [...]

Socrates on Statesmanship: The Actual Intention

By |2018-11-21T08:39:06-06:00September 22nd, 2015|Categories: Books, Cicero, E.B., Eva Brann, Featured, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Cicero famously said of Socrates that he was the one who brought philosophy down from heaven to earth. This must be some other Socrates than the one of the Platonic dialogues, perhaps Xenophon’s of the Memorabilia. After all, even the comic Socrates of Aristophanes’s Clouds is a meteorologist, a watcher of the heavens, though [...]

The Dispassionate Study of the Passions

By |2018-11-21T08:39:08-06:00August 4th, 2015|Categories: Apology, Aristotle, Books, Cicero, E.B., Eva Brann, Featured, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Plato’s dialogue Gorgias ends with a long speech culminating in a rousing cry by an aroused Socrates. He is speaking to Gorgias’s student Callicles about his swaggering opinionatedness and their common uneducatedness. The words he uses are neanieusthai, ‟to act like a youth,” to behave like a kid, and apaideusia, ‟lack of teaching,” ignorance. [...]

Treason from Within

By |2016-11-26T09:52:04-06:00July 29th, 2015|Categories: Cicero, Classics, Quotation|

Cicero A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers [...]

Thomas More: Virtuous Statesman

By |2017-10-31T13:23:19-05:00August 23rd, 2014|Categories: Books, Christendom, Cicero, Classics, Protestant Reformation, Thomas More|Tags: |

Thomas More on Statesmanship, by Gerard Wegemer. If there is one historical figure whose life and work most closely resembled that of Sir Thomas More, it would likely be the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero. As some scholars have noted, Cicero, like More, was a statesman highly honored by Renaissance humanists for his many admirable qualities. He was a successful barrister, a [...]

The Importance of Marcus Tullius Cicero

By |2019-12-03T12:38:02-06:00February 25th, 2013|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Classical Education, Classical Learning, Classics, Featured, Liberal Learning, Natural Law|

How do I define the Natural Law? Taking my cue from Cicero—especially from On the Republic, On Duties, and On the Laws—I can state that Natural Law theory argues that there is a supreme being who holds everything together through his love or his force or his will or whatever it might be that [...]

The Necessity of Stories

By |2016-10-24T10:04:43-05:00December 26th, 2012|Categories: Aeneas, Anthony Esolen, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Cicero, Classics, Conservatism, John Willson, Leviathan, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|Tags: |

Last week, two of my Twitter friends (and friends of The Imaginative Conservative: @hencole and @Sir_Geechie) were happily discussing the 1965 Russell Kirk piece on Malcolm X; the one Winston graciously posted. After @henrole called it a birthday gift of sorts, @Sir_Geechie replied, “You know folks want narrative not knowledge.” I have found each of [...]

Cicero on Generosity

By |2015-05-19T23:16:02-05:00January 15th, 2012|Categories: Cicero, Classics, Sean Busick|

Cicero A few of Cicero’s thoughts on generosity. “Whereas one’s purse must not be tightly closed against every generous inclination, it must also not be opened so wide that its contents are available to everybody and anybody.” “Those who have got accustomed to being subsidized are bound to want more.” “Nothing wins [...]

Reading Cicero’s On Old Age; At Any and Every Age

By |2015-05-19T23:16:02-05:00December 7th, 2011|Categories: Cicero, Classics, Liberal Learning, Robert M. Woods|

Cicero Among the many readings that Dr. James Schall recommends, he places special emphasis on the value of reading Cicero’s “On Old Age.” Schall suggests that this should be read “preferably before old age.” Starting this year, I am having my Great Books Honors students read this work and discuss it. We [...]