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Posts Tagged ‘Cicero’

There’s a strong case to be made that the most active field of engagement with the classical past and its legacy outside the creative arts, and certainly the area where this engagement has the greatest potential for real world impact, is military education, especially in the United States. Several ancient authors have long been included within the canon of military and strategic studies: Thucydides above all, but also Homer, Xenophon and Caesar (and the candidate for Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, is a devotee of Marcus Aurelius). Works on ancient warfare, largely based on these texts, regularly feature in lists of recommended reading: Donald Kagan on the Peloponnesian War, Victor Davis Hanson on the Western Way of War. This clearly derives from the importance of historical studies in the curricula of various military education establishments, most famously the US Naval War College with its use of Thucydides as a foundational text, and the way that this reading then regularly features in the public remarks of senior military officers.*

Recently – this is an impression rather than a scientific survey – this tendency seems to have increased; (more…)

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Do classicists and ancient historians have a particular relationship with Europe or special reasons to fear a British exit from the European Union, compared with other academic disciples? I’ve been asked this question in relation to the newly-founded Classicists for Europe, which aims to add our voice to the campaign for the UK to STAY, and my answer would be: basically, no. We may perhaps be more likely than some to feel an affinity to Europe, given that most of us work on material from other European countries in close collaboration with continental colleagues, while the cultural inheritance of classical antiquity clearly transcends national claims or identities. But even if this gives us a slightly different outlook from historians of early modern England or analytical philosophers, it’s clearly about Europe rather than the EU; when it comes to the latter, our fears are those of researchers, teachers and students in all the other sciences – the threats to mobility, funding and infrastructure, the consequences of prolonged instability and uncertainty – and so the message of the campaign is ‘Us Too!’ rather than ‘We’re Special!’ (more…)

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As anyone who follows me on Twitter might have gathered, I’ve spent the last couple of days at a conference in Cambridge on (Re)approaching Roman Frugality, organised by Cristiano Viglietti; this is part of the explanation for the silence on this blog over the last month, as I went straight from a couple of weeks’ exhausted collapse and catching up on sleep over Christmas to hasty re-reading of Varro in order to pull together something more or less coherent on the theme. As often happens, I’d invented a title for the paper and scribbled a short abstract on the basis of limited thought and more or less no research – the conference theme appealed not because it was a topic I was working on but because it’s something that fits with possible future work – and it rapidly became clear that this was not one of my most successful bits of intellectual improvisation…

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