TACITUS: The Histories [Book II]

Otho’s forces are defeated by those of Vitellius at Bedriacum; Otho commits suicide – The armies of Vitellius and Otho meet at Bedriacum. Otho’s generals advise inaction, believing that Vitellius’ army will eventually expend all their resources and surrender. Otho, however, is impatient and orders his generals to engage the foe while he travels to the safety of a neighboring town. Both sides fight honorably. Vitellius’ army secures victory. Upon hearing the news, members of Otho’s praetorian cohort urge him to renew the war with fresh troops that just arrived. Despite their pleas, Otho decides to commit suicide rather than risk the deaths of more Roman soldiers. Thus, with posterity, Otho gained notoriety for killing Galba and won fame for his glorious and selfless act of suicide. Continue reading TACITUS: The Histories [Book II]

HOMER: The Odyssey [Book XII]

In Book XII of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew return from Hades to the island of Circe. There, Circe advises Odysseus about the dangers he will face on his journey home. With Circe’s instructions in mind, Odysseus departs from her island. Continue reading HOMER: The Odyssey [Book XII]

HOMER: The Odyssey [Book XI]

In Book XI of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew sail to Cimmeria, a land of perpetual darkness where the entrance to Hades is. Odysseus performs the necessary sacrifices and rituals. Then, shades of the dead begin to appear. The shade of the prophet Tiresias tells Odysseus his future, which includes his arduous journey home and subsequent death at sea. Next, Odysseus sees the shade of his mother. He tries to embrace her, but sadly fails. Then he sees the heroines and heroes of Ancient Greek mythology. Continue reading HOMER: The Odyssey [Book XI]

TACITUS: The Histories [Book I]

The short reign of Galba – After the forced suicide of Nero, the provincial armies elect Galba as emperor. Galba is weak and 77 years old. The soldiers begin to hate him because he does not give them the donative that he promised. Furthermore, he is severe in his treatment of them, a stark contrast to the indulgence of Nero. Continue reading TACITUS: The Histories [Book I]

ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book XII]

In Book XII of his Metaphysics, Aristotle presents his case for the unmoved mover. This argument has been hijacked by later religions to argue for the existence of their gods, but Aristotle’s argument does not deny or affirm the existence of gods who care about human affairs. Aristotle’s unmoved mover is entirely indifferent to everything but its own existence and activity, which is the contemplation of its own contemplation. Continue reading ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book XII]

HOMER: The Odyssey [Book IX]

In Book IX of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus reveals his true name to Alcinous and the Phaeacian citizens and relates the tale of his adventures after the Trojan War. Shortly after the destruction of Troy, Odysseus and his men attack Ismarus, the city of the Ciconians. They achieve momentary success, but eventually they are repelled by the Ciconians and forced to sail away. Odysseus and his men next land on the island of the Lotus-eaters. On the island, Odysseus’ men encounter the inhabitants, who offer them lotus to eat. After tasting the plant, the men no longer wish to return home, but rather desire to remain on the island and eat lotus for the rest of their days. Odysseus forces them onto the ship, binds them beneath the deck, and sails away. Continue reading HOMER: The Odyssey [Book IX]

PLATO: Laws [Book X]

In Book X of Plato’s Laws, Plato tries to demonstrate the existence of the gods. His argument is complex and ambiguous. My interpretation of his argument is the following: 1) there are things in motion, 2) matter can move other matter, but it cannot move itself, 3) the soul can move itself and matter, 4) because matter is in motion, a soul must have moved it, 5) a soul capable of moving and arranging the heavens is a god. Continue reading PLATO: Laws [Book X]

The unexamined life is not worth living.

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