31 Response

On Living in the Roman Society Would you rather have lived in the Roman society you described in you last blog entry? Definitely not. The bathing culture, the corporeal and intellectual luxuriousness in the manner of the Epicureans, the international and cosmopolitan global culture, the bilingualism (you had to be able to speak both Greek and Latin), even the polytheism...

30 Encounter with Antiquity (IV)

Everyday Rome In ancient Rome there were no televisions, no radio, no concerts for the masses, for the most part not even books—for the man on the street the papyrus rolls were too expensive, and he couldn’t read them anyway. The Roman “information society” transmitted its messages orally, for example at the baths. Every day after the conclusion of business...

29 Satyricon

Roman Readings I From time to time I’ll be presenting here some examples from the literature of the Classic period, so that you get acquainted with the language, style, and culture of the times, and can compare them with the present. Today: SATYRICON of Petronius Arbiter. I was asked about the details of the love of boys that I can’t...

28 Phaidros (Greek Readings I)

Phaidros was a contemporary and—as with Plato—a student of Socrates. He was however also a young man whom Plato had loved. He—and not the colleague of the same name in the passel of students around Socrates—was immortalized in the master’s dialogue of the same name. Concerning its subject, and whether love has desire, or desire has love, under its control,...

27 Plato’s “Phaidros”

On Love and Lust Plato’s dialogue “Phaidros” is a peculiarly heterogeneous artwork. It deals simultaneously with truth, and also with the invalidity of isosthenias. In this case also with the provocative, in a speech on Lysias’ proclaimed and subsequently well-founded argument, that one may only indulge oneself sexually with those in whom one is not in love: “And I maintain...