Fourth Place is Still Better than You!

Seneca, Moral Epistle 100.9

“Offer up someone you think is better than Fabianus. Sure, there’s Cicero , who has nearly as many books relevant to philosophy as Fabianus does. I’ll allow this, but it is no minor affair to be somewhat less than the best. Then there’s Asinius Pollio. I’ll grant that too and respond that it is impressive to be third after those two. Name Livy too, for he also wrote dialogues, which you can include as philosophy no less than history, alongside books that expressly contain philosophy. I grant Livy his place as well. Think, then, of how many authors Fabianus surpasses if he is inferior to only three, and three rhetorical greats as it is!”

adfer, quem Fabiano possis praeponere. Dic Ciceronem, cuius libri ad philosophiam pertinentes paene totidem sunt, quot Fabiani; cedam, sed non statim pusillum est, si quid maximo minus est. Dic Asinium Pollionem; cedam, et respondeamus: in re tanta eminere est post duos esse. Nomina adhuc T. Livium, scripsit enim et dialogos, quos non magis philosophiae adnumerare possis quam historiae, et ex professo philosophiam continentis libros; huic quoque dabo locum. Vide tamen, quam multos antecedat, qui a tribus vincitur et tribus eloquentissimis.

color photography of a black figure greek vase.  nude youths on horseback in horse-race
C Painter (late work) – period / date: high archaic, ca. 560-550 BC


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