Commonplace Wednesday 4 (On Thursday)

From I, Claudius by Robert Graves 
…then I told Livy what pleasure I had derived from reading his books since Athenodorus has recommended them to me as a model fro writing. So everybody was pleased, especially Livy. “What! Are you to be a historian too, young man?” he asked. “I should like to be worthy of that honorable name,” I realized…
Athenodorus used to stroke his beard slowly and rhythmically as he talked, and told me once that it was this that made it grow so luxuriantly. He said that invisible seeds of fire streamed off from his fingers, which were food for the hairs. This was a typical Stoic joke at the expense of Epicurean speculative philosophy.
 “Yes, Livy will never lack readers. People love being ‘persuaded to ancient virtue’ by a charming writer, particularly when they are told in the same breath that modern civilization has made such virtue impossible of attainment.”
 Soldiers really are an extraordinary race of men, as tough as shield-leather, as superstitious as Egyptians and as sentimental as Sabine grandmothers.

From Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
 “People say that Rome will perish, and there are some even who contend that it is perishing already. And surely! But if that should come, it is because the youth are without faith, and without faith there can be no virtue. People have abandoned also the strict habits of former days, and it never occurs to them that Epicureans will not stand against barbarians.”
“More than once have I thought, Why does crime, even when as powerful as Caesar, and assured of being beyond punishment, strive always for the appearances of truth, justice and virtue? Why does it take the trouble?...What a marvelous homage paid to virtue by evil!”

Comments