Today’s Quote: Aristides (Plutarch)

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“Aristides the Just was always an independent in politics, and avoided political parties, on the ground that influence derived from friends encourages wrongdoing.”

—Aristides “the Just” (Athenian statesman, 530 BC – 468 BC), quoted from Plutarch’s Moralia, Sayings of Kings and Commanders, 186.1


Hello! Sorry about not posting anything in a while, but I’ve been both terribly busy and terribly lazy …

I was reading Plutarch over the weekend and came across this gem. Once again, a trenchant bit of ancient wisdom from 2,500 years ago, perfectly applicable to today. I know I’m not the only one completely fed-up with the undemocratic and downright evil stranglehold that partisan politics and political parties have placed on civilization. One only need look at this year’s presidential debacle to see the absolute truth of Aristides’ — and many others’ — wisdom.

I certainly wish there were any true leaders today who would behave in the same manner …

Today’s Quote: Livy

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“Here are the questions to which I would have every reader give his close attention—what life and morals were like; through what men and by what policies, in peace and in war, empire was established and enlarged; then let him note how, with the gradual relaxation of discipline, morals first gave way, as it were, then sank lower and lower, and finally began the downward plunge which has brought us to the present time, when we can endure neither our vices nor their cure.”

— Livy, Ab Urbe Condita (The Histories), Preface to Book I

Livy gives his overall reason for why he embarked on writing his histories and what he expects the reader to learn. And, once again, doesn’t this sound familiar to us all—as if “ripped from today’s headlines?”

Today’s Quote: Livy

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“What chiefly makes the study of history wholesome and profitable is this, that you behold the lessons of every kind of experience set forth as on a conspicuous monument; from these you may choose for yourself and for your own state what to imitate, from these mark for avoidance what is shameful in the conception and shameful in the result. For the rest, either love of the task I have set myself deceives me, or no state was ever greater, none more righteous or richer in good examples, none ever was where avarice and luxury came into the social order so late, or where humble means and thrift were so highly esteemed and so long held in honour. For true it is that the less men’s wealth was, the less was their greed. Of late, riches have brought in avarice, and excessive pleasures the longing to carry wantonness and licence to the point of ruin for oneself and of universal destruction.” [emphasis added]

— Livy, Ab Urbe Condita (The Histories), Preface to Book I

Here’s yet another instance where a voice from 2,000 years ago cautions us to both study and incorporate the lessons of history, and shows us what happened to a once great nation who forgot its virtues. Do the last two sentences sound at all like what’s going on today?

40-Word Challenge – April 2016

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I sat exhausted, staring in wonder at the juxtaposition between the beautiful planting of wisteria and the vile stinkweed worming its way, virus-like, up the granite walls; I couldn’t believe it’d been ruined by the lackadaisical gardener’s profound inertia.

Here are the given words: wisteria, stinkweed, exhausting, granite, juxtapose, virus, wonder, beautiful, worm, believe – Bonus (we actually had two this time): planting, inertia

©MMXVI Douglas P. Kendrick. All rights reserved.

Today’s Quote: Thucydides

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“For no one ever carries out a plan with the same confidence with which he conceives it; on the contrary we form our fond schemes with a feeling of security, but when it comes to their execution, we are possessed by fear and fall short of success.”

— Thucydides, I.cxx.5, “quoting” the Spartan Council before the commencement of the Peloponnesian War