Dividing Life into Two Parts

Seneca, de Otio 29

“I am going to say this thing in two parts: first, that from the earliest age a person cannot fully surrender to the contemplation of the truth, to seek out the way to live, and also to practice it when retired and then, in turn, that when someone has finished their work and is near the end of life, it is possible to do this with the best justice and to focus on different activities in the way of the Vestal Virgins who learn the second rites during their years devoted to their duties and then teach them.”

 Hoc quod dico in duas dividam partes: primum, ut possit aliquis vel a prima aetate contemplationi veritatis totum se tradere, rationem vivendi quaerere atque exercere secreto; deinde, ut possit hoc aliquis emeritis iam stipendiis, profligatae aetatis, iure optimo facere et ad alios actus animum1 referre virginum Vestalium more, quae annis inter officia divisis discunt facere sacra et cum didicerunt docent.

Dedication of a New Vestal Virgin, Alessandro Marchesini

Dividing Life into Two Parts

Seneca, de Otio 29

“I am going to say this thing in two parts: first, that from the earliest age a person cannot fully surrender to the contemplation of the truth, to seek out the way to live, and also to practice it when retired and then, in turn, that when someone has finished their work and is near the end of life, it is possible to do this with the best justice and to focus on different activities in the way of the Vestal Virgins who learn the second rites during their years devoted to their duties and then teach them.”

 Hoc quod dico in duas dividam partes: primum, ut possit aliquis vel a prima aetate contemplationi veritatis totum se tradere, rationem vivendi quaerere atque exercere secreto; deinde, ut possit hoc aliquis emeritis iam stipendiis, profligatae aetatis, iure optimo facere et ad alios actus animum1 referre virginum Vestalium more, quae annis inter officia divisis discunt facere sacra et cum didicerunt docent.

Dedication of a New Vestal Virgin, Alessandro Marchesini

A Routine for Managing Old Age from Cicero

Cicero, De Senectute 35-36

“Laelius and Scipio, we must resist old age and counteract its weaknesses with care. We must fight against it as we would a disease. A heath regimen must be established. We need moderate exercise and only as much food and drink as is needed to replenish our abilities but not to overcome them. And we should not attend to the body alone: but much greater service is owed to the mind and soul.

For these parts flicker out from old age just as a lamps unfilled with oil waver and dim. The body, moreover, grows worn out from excessive exercise, but our minds are unburdened by working out. For, the men Caecilius calls “the comic old fools” are those he means to mark out as credulous, forgetful, and discombobulated. These are not the faults of old age altogether, but of a lazy, careless, and sleepy old age. Just as petulance and lust are more often traits of young men than old ones, yet are not present in all young men but only the corruptible ones, so too is that aged foolishness which people usually call senility a mark of those who have weak minds, not of all old men.”

Resistendum, Laeli et Scipio, senectuti est eiusque vitia diligentia compensanda sunt, pugnandum tamquam contra morbum sic contra senectutem, habenda  ratio valetudinis, utendum exercitationibus modicis, tantum cibi et potionis adhibendum, ut reficiantur vires, non opprimantur. Nec vero corpori solum subveniendum est, sed menti atque animo multo magis. Nam haec quoque, nisi tamquam lumini oleum instilles, exstinguuntur senectute. Et corpora quidem exercitationum defetigatione ingravescunt, animi autem exercitando levantur. Nam quos ait Caecilius “comicos stultos senes,” hos significat credulos obliviosos dissolutos, quae vitia sunt non senectutis, sed inertis ignavae somniculosae senectutis. Ut petulantia, ut libido magis est adulescentium quam senum, nec tamen omnium adulescentium, sed non proborum, sic ista senilis stultitia, quae deliratio appellari solet, senum levium est, non omnium.

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