The Worst Form of Arrogance

Petrarch, Secretum 4.12 (Augustine speaking)

“Insulting other people is by far a more importunate type of arrogance than elevating yourself beyond your merits; I would have much preferred that you talked everyone else up (though you placed yourself ahead of them) than that you arrogantly took up the shield of humility after stomping  everyone under your heel.”

Multo quidem importunius superbie genus est alios deprimere quam se ipsum debito magis attollere; longeque maluissem ceteros magnificares, te quanquam ceteris anteferres, quam calcatis omnibus ex alieno superbissime tibi clipeum humilitatis assumeres.

The Catiline of America

Alexander Hamilton to Oliver Wolcott (December 16, 1800)

“He is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the plunder of his country. His public principles have no other spring or aim than his own aggrandisement per fas et nefas. If he can, he will certainly disturb our institutions to secure to himself permanent power and with it wealth. He is truly the Cataline [sic] of America—& if I may credit Major Wilcocks, he has held very vindictive language respecting his opponents.”

No Day Without a Latin Motto

From The New-England Courant, February 11, 1723:

p.s. Gentle Readers, we design never to let a Paper pass without a Latin Motto if we can possibly pick one up, which carries a Charm in it to the Vulgar, and the learned admire the pleasure of Construing. We should have obliged the World with a Greek scrap or two, but the Printer has no Types, and therefore we intreat the candid Reader not to impute the defect to our Ignorance, for our Doctor can say all the Greek Letters by heart.

Hamilton, A Second Cato (Maybe)

William Cunningham to John Adams, Aug. 18, 1809:

“Cato valued himself on his integrity, and was, it is said, addicted to intemperance, but the friends of Cato prized him so highly for his main excellence that they looked on his occasional intoxication with indulgence—Thus I have understood it of Hamilton—he set the estimation made of his uprightness against that which might be formed from the confession of his lewdness, and he determined that the weight of his cardinal virtues would preponderate over every defect, and keep forever that scale immoveably down.”

How to Learn Latin

John Milton, Tractate on Education: 

“For the studies, first they should begin with the chief and necessary rules of some good grammar, either that now used, or any better: and while this is doing, their speech is to be fashioned to a distinct and clear pronunciation, as near as may be to the Italian, especially in the vowels. For we Englishmen being far northerly, do not open our mouths in the cold air, wide enough to grace a southern tongue; but are observed by all other nations to speak exceeding close and inward: So that to smatter Latin with an English mouth, is as ill a hearing as Law-French. Next to make them expert in the usefulest points of grammar, and withal to season them, and win them early to the love of virtue and true labor, ere any flattering seducement, or vain principle seize them wandering, some easy and delightful book of education would be read to them; whereof the Greeks have store, as Cebes, Plutarch, and other Socratic discourses. But in Latin we have none of classic authority extant, except the two or three first books of Quintilian, and some select pieces elsewhere. But here the main skill and groundwork will be, to temper them such lectures and explanations upon every opportunity as may lead and draw them in willing obedience, inflamed with the study of learning, and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men, and worthy patriots, dear to God, and famous to all ages. That they may despise and scorn all their childish, and ill-taught qualities, to delight in manly, and liberal exercises: which he who hath the art, and proper eloquence to catch them with, what with mild and effectual persuasions, and what with the intimation of some fear, if need be, but chiefly by his own example, might in a short space gain them to an incredible diligence and courage: infusing into their young breasts such an ingenuous and noble ardor, as would not fail to make many of them renowned and matchless men.”

You Didn’t Read Today? You Have No Excuse!

Vergerio, de ingenuis moribus et liberalibus adulescentiae studiis, LIV:

“Everything will turn out well enough if our time is disposed of properly, if we on every day give fixed hours to the pursuit of literature, and he we are never dragged away by any business which prevents us from reading something every day. For, if Alexander was in the habit of reading much in his camp, and if Caesar wrote books as he was setting off with his army, and if Augustus after undertaking something so great in the Battle of Mutina nevertheless always read or wrote or declaimed every day in his tent, what could come upon us in our urban leisure which could call us far off from the study of literature? It is useful, however, for us to consider even the smallest loss of time as a great one; we should also keep an account of our time, just as we do of our life and health, so that nothing is uselessly lost, as when we commit our idle hours, (and those which others commit to leisure) to lighter studies or a bit of pleasant reading.”

Fient autem commode omnia si rite tempora dispensabuntur, si singulis diebus statutas horas litteris dabimus, neque ullo negotio abstrahemur quominus aliquid quotidie legamus. Nam si Alexander in castris lectitare plurimum solebat, si Caesar etiam cum exercitu proficiscens libros scribebat, et Augustus Mutinensi bello rem tantam adortus, semper tamen in castris legere aut scribere quotidieque declamitare consueverat, quid poterit urbano otio intervenire quod nos diu prorsus a litterarum studiis avocet? Utile autem est, ut vel cuiuslibet minimi temporis iacturam pro magna deputemus, et ita temporis, quemadmodum et vitae ac salutis, rationem habeamus, ut nihil inutiliter nobis depereat, veluti si inertes horas et quae apud ceteros otiosae sunt aut studiis levioribus dabimus aut lectione iucunda transigemus.

When Did He See Me Naked?

Plato, Epigram XXV (Page)

“Paphian Aphrodite once came across the sea to Knidos, hoping to see a statue of herself. After gazing at it in a spot seen from all sides , she said, ‘When did Praxiteles see me naked?’ Praxiteles never saw what it was not right to see – his tool carved out an Aphrodite that Ares would like.”

῾Η Παφίη Κυθέρεια δι’ οἴδματος ἐς Κνίδον ἦλθε
βουλομένη κατιδεῖν εἰκόνα τὴν ἰδίην.
πάντῃ δ’ ἀθρήσασα περισκέπτῳ ἐνὶ χώρῳ
φθέγξατο· „Ποῦ γυμνὴν εἶδέ με Πραξιτέλης;”
Πραξιτέλης οὐκ εἶδεν, ἃ μὴ θέμις, ἀλλ’ ὁ σίδηρος
ἔξεσεν, οἷά γ’ ῎Αρης ἤθελε, τὴν Παφίην.