CategoryClassics

Hell Is Full Of Love

Love is a many-splendored thing, we are told. The problem is that we very rarely know what kind of love we are talking about. We use the same term to describe the most heroic of sacrifices and the most banal of affections; our heroes are loved and so is that latest BuzzFeed post. I used to think this was a problem, that our modern tongue cannot help but bastardize the beautiful and the true...

Leap To The Stars

In my previous musings I considered why no one will get to heaven, precisely because heaven is not a place to get but rather a person to obtain; more specifically, God himself. Our difficulty as fallen creatures is that our desires are usually so half-hearted and tepid that we flit from love to love with no solidity of desire nor constancy of will, carried along by the gusts of our cravings and...

Everyone A Judas

The Emperor of the kingdom dolorous From his mid-breast forth issued from the ice; And better with a giant I compare Than do the giants with those arms of his; Consider now how great must be that whole, Which unto such a part conforms itself. Were he as fair once, as he now is foul, And lifted up his brow against his Maker, Well may proceed from him all tribulation. (Dante, Inferno, Canto XXXIV)...

Rhetorical Probability

I always find it amusing when I am sitting in a doctor’s office during the middle of the day how the only thing on the TV is a show involving some manner of litigation. I don’t know if Judge Judy is still doing her thing, but there always seems to be some ridiculous sort of court case being televised. Lest one think this to be something novel to our society, we have nothing on the...

Pronunciation is Important!

The renowned Carthaginian general Hannibal is perhaps best known for his infamous crossing of the Alps to begin his invasion of Italy, but while reading Richard Miles’ Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization, I was made aware of an incident that is, in my opinion far more robust in demonstrating the aplomb of Hannibal. Hannibal had long been entrenched in...

Book Review: 1066- The Year of the Conquest

If one could judge my interests merely by perusing my bookshelf, an unmistakable penchant for history would be immediately presented to the inquirer. While I find most periods of history somewhat interesting, (save for just about anything after the mid 16th century) ancient Greek and Roman history tend to claim the lion’s share of my attention. It was thus more of a whim than anything that...

A Small Spark

In the epistle of James we find a rather interesting description of the tongue: Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell...

Exordium

Since, then, we wish to have our hearer receptive, well-disposed, and attentive, I shall disclose how each state can be brought about. We can have receptive hearers if we briefly summarize the cause and make them attentive; for the receptive hearer is one who is willing to listen attentively. We shall have attentive hearers by promising to discuss important, new, and unusual matters, or such as...

Art and a Deal with the Devil

I happened across an interesting insight yesterday while sitting in a waiting room. I have never read Faust, and so I opened it up on my phone to start reading. I have a fairly vague notion of the overall plot of the book, and so when I started reading I was unsure if I was reading some kind of preface, the wrong book, or something else entirely. I discovered that Faust begins with a prelude in...

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

I recently finished reading Barry Strauss’ The Battle of Salamis, which is an enthralling account of the epic naval encounter between the Hellenic League of Athenian, Spartan and other Grecian city-state navies and the Persian forces under the command of King Xerxes. Strauss devotes considerable attention to describing the trireme, which was the standard battleship of the day. In the...

Is There Any Light A-Comin?

I have been reading through Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, and couldn’t help but share a rather poignant passage that closed out one of the chapters I read today. It is a very moving death-bed scene in which Mr. Allen Woodcourt attempts to give hope and comfort to a dying beggar. First, a little background. Both of these characters are, to some extent, ancillary to the main plot of the...

Narnian Servants are Better

A letter from Pliny the Younger to Pompeia Celerina: What treasures you have in your villas at Ocriculum, at Narnia, at Carsola and Perusia! Even a bathing place at Narnia! My letters — for now there is no need for you to write — will have shown you how pleased I am, or rather the short letter will which I wrote long ago. The fact is, that some of my own property is scarcely so...

When in Rome…

One of the characteristics of the Renaissance in the West (at the risk of over-generalization) was a fascination with all things classical; that is, the Greco-Roman heritage of both West and East. As the West was reintroduced, to some extent, to this heritage, it would become a locus of art, literature and a host of other fields towards the closing of the Middle Ages. (as strained and artificial...

Jason Watson

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