The Curia Julia, meeting place of the Roman Senate, begun by Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, finished by Augustus in 29 BCE, restored under Domitian in 81-96 CE, and rebuilt under Diocletian, 284-385 CE. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
“It is no easy thing to overthrow a democracy, and harder yet to replace it with an autocracy. The social institutions of any society possess a massive inertia which, unlike governments, cannot be changed overnight.”
— The Sons of Caesar, by Philip Matyszak.
Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”
— Fran Lebowitz
Photo credit: Film still from Public Speaking, by Martin Scorcese.
Statue of Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger in Cordoba, Spain, by Amadeo Ruiz Olmos
Lord Macaulay once said that Seneca the Younger was easily quotable, but reading him straight through would be like “dining on nothing but anchovy sauce.” I agree! Thus I present some of the condensed wit and wisdom of Seneca, every Saturday.
EPISTLE V. The philosopher’s mean, Part II.
Just as the same chain fastens the prisoner and the soldier who guards him, so hope and fear, dissimilar as they are, keep step together; fear follows hope. I am not surprised that they proceed in this way; each alike belongs to a mind that is in suspense, a mind that is fretted by looking forward to the future. But the chief cause of both these ills is that we do not adapt ourselves to the present, but send our thoughts a long way ahead. … The present alone can make no man wretched.
Seneca Epistles 1-65, Translation by Richard Gummere. Loeb Classical Library.
Photo credit: Gunnar Bach Pedersen, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.