The Flight from Kar (The Emperors Library Book 1)

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Julian of Caesarea, who died at Athens in It appears, therefore, that Zeno of Cyprus can hardly have been alive in Moreover, Julian would not have failed to mention Zeno s oratorical talent if he had been addressing the teacher of Oribasius. The Alexandrian is, therefore, almost certainly another and a younger man.

Six letters that occur in no other MS. The fragmentary MSS. Philosophic, ; in Zeitschrift f. An invaluable detailed account of the MSS. The introduction to their critical edition of the Letters, , contains a few additions to and corrections of this monograph.

Against the Galilaeans. In Theologische Litteraturzeilung 10, , Neumann published a new frag, of this work. Asmus, Julian s Galil derschrift, Freiburg, , is a useful concordance of the works of Julian with relation to the treatise Against the Galilaeans, with some textual criticism. Gollwitzer, Observations criticac in Juliani imp. Editio princeps, Aldus, Venice, 48 letters , Spanheim, Leipzig, , contains all the other works of Julian and 63 letters, the letter from Gallus to Julian, and Cyril s refutation of the treatise Against the Galilaeans, edited by Aubert ; Latin translation.

Hertlein s and Neumann s marginal numbers correspond to the pages of Spanheim. Epistolographi Graeci, Hercher, Paris, , pp. Juliani Imp. Juliani Imperatoris epistulae, leges, poematia, fragmenta varia, Bidez et Cumont, Paris, too late to be used for the present text. The Letters. Sievers, Das Leben des Libanius, Berlin, Rendall, The Emperor Julian, Cambridge, Vollert, Kaiser Julians religiose u. Uebcrzeugung, Gutersloh, Mau, Die Religio? Julians, Leipzig, Geffcken, Kaiser Julianus, Leipzig, , has a good commentary.

Libanii Opera, Vol. Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, is the best authority for Julian s career and his Persian campaign. Asmus in Philologus 61, 71, 72, on the Letters. Bidez, Le philosophe Iamblique et son ecole, Rev. Etudes Grecques Cumont in Revue de Philologie Whittaker, The Neoplatoiiists, Cambridge, Bidez, Vie de Porphyre, Gand, Harnack, Porphyrins, Gegen die Christen, Berlin, , cites passages in Julian that may have been echoed from Porphyry. Talbot, Paris, French ; the complete works so far as then known.

Nevins, Against the Christians, London, Neumann, Leipzig, German; of his text of Against the Galilaea? This, like the Latin tessera, could be of various kinds, but here Julian probably refers to a document, the equivalent of the. If you are inclined to explore the ocean, everything, with the god s help, will be provided for you as you would wish, unless you dread the boorishness of the Gauls and the winter climate.

This, however, will turn out as the god sees fit ; but I swear to you by him who is the giver and preserver of all my good fortune that I desire to live only that I may in some degree be of use to you. When I say "you," I mean the true philosophers, and convinced as I am that you are one of these, how much I have loved and love you you well know, and how I desire to see you. May Divine Providence preserve you in health for many a year, my dearest and best beloved brother! I salute the admirable Hippia and your children.

Eunapius, Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers. He visited Julian in Gaul, was summoned to Constantinople not long after Julian s accession, and went Avith him to Persia. See Introduction , under Priscus. I accept Cumont s bold and ingenious version of this corrupt passage. Buecheler first suggested that Plato s name should be restored out of irAeiova rrjs. Hunt up for me all the writings of Iamblichus to his 1 namesake. Only you can do this, for your sister s son-in-law owns a thoroughly revised version. And, if I am not mistaken, while I was writing this sentence, a marvellous sign 2 was vouchsafed me.

I entreat you not to let Theodoras 3 and his followers deafen you too by their assertions that Iamblichus, that truly godlike man, who ranks next to Pythagoras and Plato, was worldly and self-seeking. But if it be rash to declare my own opinion to you, I may reasonably expect you to excuse me, as one excuses those who are carried away by a divine frenzy. You are yourself an ardent admirer of Iamblichus for his philosophy and of his namesake for his theosophy. And I too think, like Apollodorus, that the rest are not worth mentioning compared with those two.

As for your collection of the works of Aristotle, so much I will say, you have made me style myself your pupil, though I have no right to the title. For while Maximus of Tyre in six books was able to initiate me to some little extent into Plato s logic, you, with one book, have made me, perhaps I may even say, a complete initiate in the philosophy of Aristotle, but at any rate a thyrsus-bearer. More probably the younger Iamblichus is meant. But if your old-time zeal still abides in you and has not been swiftly quenched like a brilliant flame, then I regard you as peculiarly blest.

Four years have already passed, yes and almost three months besides, since we parted from one another. It would give me pleasure to observe how far you have progressed in this period. As for my own progress, if I can still so much as speak Greek it is surprising, such a barbarian have I become because of the places I have lived in.

But you must devote still more attention to serious studies, and let your whole effort be to acquire understanding of the teachings of Aristotle and Plato. Let this be your task, the base, the foundation, the edifice, the roof. For all other studies are by the way, though they are completed by you with greater zeal than some bestow on really important tasks. I call sacred Justice to witness that I give you this advice because 2 Like all the sophists Julian recognises only Greek culture, and for him Latin literature or the culture of Gaul did not exist. This letter exists in only one MS.

Letter to the Athenians Vol. He was at Vienne when Julian wrote this letter. For you were my fellowstudents and my very good friends.

If therefore you follow my advice I shall love you the more, but if I see that you disregard it I shall grieve. And grief, if it lasts, usually results in something that, for the sake of a happier augury, I forbear to mention. But I think that this time, if ever before, you have seen clearly into the future ; for I too this very day saw a vision of the same sort.

I thought that in a certain very spacious room a tall tree had been planted, and that it was leaning down to the ground, while at its root had sprouted another, small and young and very flourishing. Now I was very anxious on behalf of the small tree, lest someone in pulling up the large one should pull it up as well.

And in fact, when I came close I saw that the tall tree was lying at full length on the ground, while the small one was still erect, but hung suspended away from the earth. Now when I saw this I said, in great anxiety, " Alas for this tall tree!

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There is danger that not even its offspring will be preserved. Oribasius had evidently reported to Julian some dream of his which augured well for their hopes. In the dream that follows the tall tree is Constantius, the sapling is Julian. Be olBev et? BrjXwaov ovv r]fuv o,ti av olos re 17?. The epithet is unsuitable to Florentius, though some editors refer it to him. For since the root still remains in the earth, the smaller tree will be uninjured and will be established even more securely than before. God knows what they portend.

So tell me whatever you can about this. But with regard to my behaviour towards him, 2 the gods know that often, when he wronged the provincials, I kept silence, at the expense of my own honour ; to some charges I would not listen, others I would not admit, others again 1 did not believe, while in some cases 1 imputed the blame to his associates. But when he thought fit to make me share in such infamy by sending to me to sign those shameful and wholly abominable reports, 3 what was the right thing for me to do? Was I to remain silent, or to oppose him? The former course was foolish, servile and odious to the gods, the latter was just, manly and liberal, but was not open to me on account of the affairs that engaged me.

What then did I do? In the presence of many persons who I knew would report it to him I said : " Such-a-one will certainly and by all means revise his reports, for they pass A. For his oppression of the province, see Ammianus Julianj Oration 8 ; Oration 4 is dedicated to him. In such a case what was the proper conduct for a man who is a zealous student of the teachings of Plato and Aristotle?

Ought 1 to have looked on while the wretched people were being betrayed to thieves, or to have aided them as far as I could, for they were already singing their swan-song because of the criminal artifices of men of that sort? To me, at least, it seems a disgraceful thing that, while I punish my military tribunes when they desert their post —and indeed they ought to be put to death at once, and not even granted burial — I should myself desert my post which is for the defence of such wretched people ; whereas it is my duty to fight against thieves of his sort, especially when God is fighting on my side, for it was indeed he who posted me here.

And if any harm to myself should result, it is no small consolation to have proceeded with a good conscience. But I pray that the gods may let me keep the excellent Sallust! For it is better to do one s duty for a brief time honestly than for a long time dishonestly. The Peripatetic teachings are not, as some say, less noble than the Stoic.

In my judgement, there is only this difference between them ; the former are always more sanguine and not so much the result of deliberate thought, while the latter have a greater 2 This strains the construction but seems more probable than the rendering " If I should be superseded. D Oeov lBoljjll ae, epbv dyaOov. It was already evening when I read them, and it would be hard for you to tell how my strength began to return when I realised your pure and sincere affection. May I become worthy of it, that I may not shame your love for me!

Your letters I read at once, though I was not very well able to do so, but those of Antonius to Alexander I stored up for the next day. On the seventh day from their receipt I began to write this to you, since my strength is improving reasonably well, thanks to Divine Providence. May the AllSeeing god preserve you, my dearest and best beloved brother.

May I see you, my treasure! Added with his own hand. I swear by your well-being and my own, by the All-Seeing god, that I really feel as I have written. Hertlein with hesitation addressed it to Libanius. So, too, Schwarz, who accordingly gives the date a9 3G2 a. But as assigned to Priscus, it should be connected with the foregoing invitation to that sophist to come to Gaul, and the illness to which Julian refers is almost certainly his semi-asphyxiation in Paris described in Miso-pogon a.

TrpcoroLs ae fjLereKaXeaap,ev. Oration 3. The "cloak of Syloson" became a proverb for the overpayment of a benefit. For already, like doting lovers, I adore your very name. In the first place I think that I have behaved better than he in one point at any rate, I mean that I did not wait to be reminded by another. But after preserving the memory of your friendship so long undimmed, the first moment that the god granted me power I summoned you, not among the second but among the very first.

So much for the past. Now with reference to the future, will you allow me—for I am a prophet 5—to foretell something? I think that it will be far more prosperous than in the case I spoke of, only let not Adrasteia 6 take offence when I say so! For you need no king to help you to conquer a city, 7 while I on the other hand need many to help me to raise up again what has fallen on evil days. Thus does 4 The Persians devastated Samos before Syloson could benefit by the gift.

Misopogon b. Hertlein suggests irpofidrwv rwu aypiuu, " wild sheep. But be of good cheer and come, and may the gods attend you. There is good spoil of deer and hunting of small sheep in the winter quarters. To the Same It happened that when you sent me your map I had just recovered from my illness, but I was none the less glad on that account to receive the chart that you sent. For not only does it contain diagrams better than any hitherto made ; but you have embellished it by adding those iambic verses, not such as " Sing the War of Bupalus," 2 as the poet of Cyrene 3 expresses it, but such as beautiful Sappho is wont to fashion for her songs.

For to blend mildness and moderation with courage and force, and to exercise the former towards the most virtuous, 1 For Bupalus cf. Horace, Epodes 6.

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Trdvra dyadols Oeols, ot Teeo? Oration 1. I pray that you may ever hold fast to these ambitions and may adapt them both solely to what is fair and honourable. May you continue in health and happiness as long as possible, my well-beloved and most dear brother! But let me arrange what I have to tell in chronological order, though not till I have first offered thanks to the all-merciful gods, who at this present have permitted me to write, and will also perhaps permit us to see one another.

Directly after I had been made Emperor—against my will, as the gods know ; and this I made evident then and there in every way possible, —I led the army against the barbarians. His life was written by Eunapius, Lives of the Sophists and Philosophers. Maximus was at Ephesus ; Julian s headquarters were at Naissa, where he had received news of the death of Constantius, November 3rd, Schwa ra dates this letter October or November.

Then I approached Besontio. Near this city there came to meet me a certain man who looked like a Cynic with his long cloak and staff. When I first caught sight of him in the distance, I imagined that he was none other than yourself. And when I came nearer to him I thought that he had surely come from you.

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The man was in fact a friend of mine though he fell short of what I hoped and expected. This then was one vain dream I had! And afterwards I thought that, because you were busied with my affairs, I should certainly find you nowhere outside of Greece. Zeus be my witness and great Helios, mighty Athene and all the gods and goddesses, how on my way down to Illyricum from Gaul 3 I trembled for your safety! Also I kept 1 Cf. Besontio or Vesontio Besancon , the capital of the Sequani, is described in much the same language by Caesar, Gallic War 1.

In XY Papadopoulos a lacuna of about 82 letters follows. Above all, it is right that you should learn how I became all at once conscious of the very presence of the gods, and in what manner I escaped the multitude of those who plotted against me, though I put no man to death, deprived no man of his property, and only imprisoned those whom I caught red-handed. All this, however, I ought perhaps to tell you rather than write it, but 1 think you will be very glad to be informed of it. IS worship the gods openly, and the whole mass of the troops who are returning with me worship the gods.

I have offered to the gods many hecatombs as thank-offerings. The gods command me to restore their worship in its utmost purity, and I obey them, yes, and with a good will. For they promise me great rewards for my labours, if only I am not remiss. Many things occur to my mind, besides what I have written, but I must store up certain matters to tell you when you are with me. Come here, 1 Julian s friends in the East were in danger after his quarrel with Constantius. Letter 25, To Evagrius. Oeovs eXevOepcoOevTe?

Moreover, I have sent two of my most trusted servants, one of whom will escort you as far as my headquarters; the other will inform me that you have set out and will forthwith arrive. Do you yourself tell the youths which of them you wish to undertake which of these tasks.

Why then did I come? Because the gods expressly ordered me,4 and promised me safety if I obeyed them, but if I stayed, what I pray no god may do to me! Furthermore I came because, having been denople early in ; cf. Eunapius, Life of Aedesius, pp. Letter to Nilus, p. The sudden death of Constantius had simplified Julian s course.

TO LEONTIUS clared a public enemy, I meant to frighten him merely, and that our quarrel should result in intercourse on more friendly terms ; but if we should have to decide the issue by battle, I meant to entrust the whole to Fortune and to the gods, and so await whatever their clemency might decide. Your sacrifice will be not for one 5 e r r jf man only, but for the whole body of Hellenes. The sophists of that period called themselves and all students of rhetoric " Hellenes. Julian Oration 1. Moreover I have enrolled you in my household corps. Therefore if you are willing to furnish me with intercourse by means of letters, as a semblance of your own society, write, and do not cease to do so continually.

Or rather come, 6 with heaven s help, and consider that while 2 Cf. Julian, Oration 7. Symmachus, Letter Cumont suggests. O ber? TOm escaped the three-headed hydra! Zeus be my wit- stantiness that I do not mean my brother Constantius 2— n01 le nay, he was what he was—but the wild beasts who surrounded him and cast their baleful eyes on all men ; for they made him even harsher than he was by nature, though on his own account he was by no means of a mild disposition, although he seemed so to many.

But since he is now one of the blessed dead, may the earth lie lightly on him, as the saying is! Nor should I wish, Zeus be my witness, that these others should be punished unjustly ; but since many accusers are rising up against them, I have appointed a court 3 to judge them. Do you, my friend, come hither, and hasten, even if it task your strength. For, by the gods, 1 have long desired to see you, and, now that I have learned to my great joy that you are safe and sound, I bid you come.

Its work is described by Ammianus Among the judges were Mamertinus the rhetorician and Nevitta the Goth, who were the Consuls designate for , and Sallust. See Introduction. For though it becomes sages like you to compose very long and impressive discourses, from me to you even a few words are enough. Moreover you must know that from all quarters at once I am inundated by affairs. As for the causes of my return, 3 if you are going to write an historical account I will make a very precise report for you, and will hand over to you the letters, 4 as written evidence.

But if you have resolved to devote your energies to the last, till old age, 5 to your rhetorical studies and exercises, you will perhaps not reproach me for my silence. J nople 3 i. This letter was probably written after his triumphal entry into Constantinople on December 11th. Ammianus Marcellinus Hertlein, who gives this extract as frag. You will use a public conveyance 2 as far as my headquarters, and one extra horse.

How could I feel otherwise on learning Jf r 3 J? I was filled with serenity and felicity and welcomed the letter as though I beheld in it an image, so to speak, of your noble disposition. To try to answer it point by point would take too long and perhaps I could not avoid excessive garrulity ; but at any rate I shall not hesitate to say what it was that I especially approved. In the first place, the fact that the insolent behaviour to you of the Governor of Greece, if indeed a man of that sort can be called a Governor and not a tyrant, did not provoke your resentment, 1 Julian always scoffed at the disputes of the Arians with the various other sects of the Church.

TTaXaias pLovaLfcf? SinqviKa, not Julianic. I ; rb pXv — irpoa-fjKfi omitted by Papadopoulos Y.

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Then again, that you are willing and eager to aid that city J in which you had spent your time is a clear proof of the philosophic mind ; so that in my opinion the former course is worthy of Socrates, the latter, I should say, of Musonius. For Socrates declared 2 that heaven would not permit a righteous man to be harmed by anyone inferior to him and worthless, while Musonius concerned himself with the welfare of Gyara 3 when Nero decreed his exile.

These two points in your letter I approve, but I am at a loss how to take the third. For you write to urge me to warn you whenever I think that you yourself do or say anything out of tune. For my part I could give you many proofs that I believe myself to be more in need than you are of such advice at the present time, but I will put that off till later.

However the request is perhaps not even suitable for you to make ; for you have abundant leisure, excellent natural gifts, and you love philosophy as much as any man who ever lived. And these three things combined sufficed to make Amphion known as the inventor of ancient music, namely, leisure, divine inspiration 1 We cannot identify this city.

Theodorus may have improved its water supply, which would give point to the allusion to Musonius at Gyara below. For the discovery of water there by Musonius see Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 7. The Nero of Philostratus is an imaginary dialogue with Musonius at Corinth, where he is supposed to have heen set by Nero to dig the Corinthian canal ; Julian praises Musonius in Vol.

The former is more Julianic. After ufivadias Suidas gives eight verses not found in the MSS. Indeed, have we not received the tradition by hearsay that this very Amphion invented not only harmonies, but besides these the lyre itself, by employing either an almost godlike intelligence or some gift 2 of the gods in a sort of extraordinary co-operation with them? And most of the great ones of old seem to have attained to genuine philosophy 3 by setting their hearts on these three things above all, and not to have needed anything else.

Therefore it is you who ought to stand by me and in your letters show your willingness to advise me what I ought to do and what not. For we observe in the case of soldiers that it is not those of them who are at peace who need allies, but, I should say, those who are hard pressed in war, and in the case of pilots those who are not at sea do not call to their aid those who are at sea, but those who are navigating call on those who are at leisure.

Thus it has from the very first seemed right that men who are at leisure should help and stand by those who are occupied with tasks, and should suggest the right course of action, that is whenever they represent the same interests. It is well, then, that you should bear this in mind and act towards me as you think I should act towards you, and, if you like, let us make 1 Possibly an echo of the lost play of Euripides, Amphion frag.

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 7. Julian, Vol. He was a friend and correspondent of TO ZENO this compact, that I am to point out to you what are my views concerning all your affairs, and you in return are to do the same for me concerning my sayings and doings. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more valuable for us than this reciprocity. May divine Providence keep you in good health for long to come, my well-beloved brother! May I see you soon, as I pray to do! Though absent, you are winning to your cause the whole city of Alexandria. So keen a sting, like a bee s, have you left in her.

This is the reason for putting an end to your exile, and with very great distinction for yourself. For if it was owing to George that you were removed Libanius. George had been murdered by the mob on December 24th, The title is lost. There is no evidence that this priest was the Pegasius of Letter 19, as Asmus thinks. Do you, therefore, return in all honour, and in possession of your former dignity.

And let the favour that I bestow be credited to me by both parties in common, since it restores Zeno to the Alexandrians and Alexandria to you. Ought conwe not to show forbearance until we have actually Jjjjjg 1 decided that he is wicked, and only then by excluding him from his official functions show that it was the overhasty bestowal of the title of "priest" that was subject to punishment by obloquy and chastisement and a fine?

If you do not know this you are not likely to have any proper sense at all of what is fitting. What experience can you have of the rights of men in general if you do not know the difference between a priest and a layman? And what sort of self-control can you have when you maltreated one at whose approach you ought to have risen from your seat? For this is the most 3 i. In Vol. There are several close resemblances between these two pastoral letters.

Reiske translated t,vkois "trees," i. Perhaps the bishops and elders of the Galilaeans sit with you, though not in public because of me, yet secretly and in the house; and the priest has actually been beaten by your order, for otherwise your highpriest would not, by Zeus, have come to make this appeal. But since what happened in Homer 1 seems to you merely mythical, listen to the oracular words of the Lord of Didymus, 2 that you may see clearly that, even as in bygone days he nobly exhorted the Hellenes in very deed, so too in later times he admonished the intemperate in these words : u Whosoever with reckless mind works wickedness against the priests of the deathless gods and plots against their honours with plans that fear not the gods, never shall he travel life s path to the end, seeing that he has sinned against the blessed gods whose honour and holy service those priests have in charge.

But a man who strikes a priest has committed sacrilege. Wherefore, since by the laws of our fathers I am supreme pontiff, and moreover have but now received the function of prophecy from the god of Didymus, 3 I forbid you for three revolutions 1 Probably Julian refers to the wrong done to the priest Chryses which was avenged by Apollo in Iliad 1. Time Raiders: The Avenger.

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Leah Cutter. The Choice To Be Free. The Exotic Enchanter. Sprague de Camp. Pegasus King. Ciara Darren. Cauldron Spells. Soldiers of Tyranny. The Stranger's Magic. Max Frei. A Light In The Darkness. Their niche is scavenging food from humans.

They are like ravens and foxes that scavenge food from wolves or humans. Where is that dog food supply? Look for humans, and there it is. Why are dogs nice to people? They are the source of food. Dogs find some food source that arrives daily and they sit there and wait. Of the approximately one billion dogs on the planet, the authors estimate that million of them are village dogs.

No matter where they are found, peaking in the tropics and with a steep gradient toward the poles, they roughly look and weigh the same. The Coppinger's argue that these are not mongrels, nor strays, feral or abandoned dogs but are the naturally selected, i. These breeds could not survive in the wild and their phenotype would quickly disappear in the general gene pool of dogs were they to cross-breed. However, giving the abandon with which dogs engage in sex and the young age at which they become sexual mature months , there is never a short supply of dogs.

A great monograph — proving you can write like a scientist and tell a compelling story to an old-dog lover like me. Dietrich — now a successful novelist — goes out of his way to be faithful to the point-of-view of all participants of this bitter dispute that ended with a series of court decisions in the early s with a post-script added by the author in to bring the story up-to-date.

The book attests to the compelling power that dense virgin, primeval forests with a capital F has over the human psyche. It is the environment in which homo sapiens lived in for much of the past , years. While I love forest as much as the next German-American listening from an early age to stories about the Teutonic forest it is a different matter to be in a tent or sleeping bag deep in a dark and brooding forest, with its incessant nocturnal voices, tyrannized by clouds of mosquitos.

I enjoyed this book while experiencing the majesty of Olympic National Forest during the day and the civilized comfort of an old-time Lodge at night! Well written biography of Leroy Hood, who co-invented the first semi -automated DNA sequencer that, together with three other instruments he helped develop, the DNA synthesizer, and the protein sequencer and synthesizer, powered the Genomics revolution that is at the heart of modern biology, medicine and the biotechnology industry. Lee was the chairman of biology who recruited me to Caltech back in He later founded the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle.

The book well captures the heady days of the human genome project and some of its people; it is no hagiography, as the author, a journalist specializing in the biotech industry, highlights both the many strengths but also the weaknesses of Lee as a scientist, mentor, entrepreneur, fund-raiser, mesmerizing public speaker and manager. In June of , A. Hotchner visited a close friend in the psychiatric ward of St. Mary's Hospital. It would be the last time they spoke - three weeks later, Ernest Hemingway shot himself. During their conversations, Hemingway entrusted the tale of the affair that destroyed his first marriage to Hotchner, his editor — of how he gambled and lost his wife and son.

A wild but well told tale, of two consecutive plane crashes in the African bush, of impotence cured in a house of God, of Parisian nights carousing with Scott Fitzgerald and Josephine Baker, of adventure, conceit, passion and lusting after life. Taunt and dark murder Icelandic mystery, taking place amid the usual chaotic and dysfunctional family milieu of any Nordic thriller, during a ten days spell of never ending rain and gloom in present day Reykjavik in the fall.

The story involves a rare genetic disease that expresses itself fatally at a young age but only in a subset of carrier and whose Icelandic carriers were, illegally, identified by breaking into the genomic database of Decode, famously based in Iceland. To judge by Republican propagandists and Nordic noir crime fiction writers, Scandinavian societies must be in a state of almost complete societal break-down given the amount of rape, murder, incest, divorce in these novels.

Of course, having just returned from Iceland, it is one of the most developed, peaceful, prosperous, efficient and spectacular beautiful countries I know. Bizarre novel by the Icelandic Nobel Laureate, part magical realism, part allegory and satire. Despite a 10 pages enthusiastic introduction by Susan Sontag, the novel is a dud, without much internal logic. He does make a number of trenchant observations. This belief that science would offer us an exemption from our place in this vast panorama of disintegration — of which the rotting armadillos and raccoons, the circling vultures, were only the most immediate manifestations — was a displacement of a fundamentally religious instinct.

I own a sweatshirt that succinctly summarizes what the belief in the upcoming singularity among the smart money in Silicon Valley amounts to — rapture for nerds. His two biggest regrets are the death of his young lover, Antinous, and the very bloody second Roman-Jewish War that ended in the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of most of the Jewish population. Hadrian is an admirable man — disciplined, thoughtful, diplomatic as a default, forceful when necessary, a consummate traveler. During his 19 years reign, the Empire was peaceful and prosperous; the official practice of religion was tolerant towards all the gods of the various people and tribes ruled by Rome, provided they, in turn, accepted the idea of a Pantheon— that Christianity, famously, did not.

To give you a sense of the style, here is the ending. Little soul, gentle and drifting, guest and companion of my body, now you will dwell below in pallid places, stark and bare; there you will abandon your play of yore. But one moment still, let us gaze together on these familiar shores, on these objects which doubtless we shall not see again Let us try, if we can, to enter into death with open eyes The author takes up a version of Whiteheadian pan-experientialism, and defends it against Thomas Nagel and Jaegwon Kim and discusses this in relationship to the ideas of William Seager, Galen Strawson and John Searle.

Beautiful produced gem of a historical novella of the life of Margaret Cavendish, nee Lucas, an English aristocrat, poet, playwright and self-taught philosopher, who lived during the 17th century Civil War and the ensuing Restoration much of her adult life was spent in exile in Paris and Holland. She wrote at a time when few women did and great intellectual ferment was in the air — this is, after all, the period of the European Enlightenment and the birth of modern science — that she herself tried to contribute to.

Hardly a regime conducive to becoming pregnant! Terse, sparse and well observed writing by Dutton. History, by the gifted science journalist, of the neglected English physician Thomas Willis and his turbulent times England during the Civil War and the ensuing Restoration. Willis, together with William Harvey, is a founding figure of modern anatomy, neurology and psychiatry, who turned a field that was utterly dominated by what Aristotle and Galen had though and written 1, years earlier into something more recognizable as modern science.

And the nobler the patients, the worse the treatment - King Charles II, who suffered from kidney disease, was purged, plastered, scalded and drained of quarts of his blood dying in the process. Many millions of patients must have been killed over the two millennia by such quackery. My introduction to urban fantasy, narratives where the fantastic and the mundane interact and interweave at the intersection of a real, city, here London above the modern world and below a medieval London with magic, speaking animals, demons and angles.

I would call this fantasy for adults; sad, poignant, utterly fascinating and hypnotic. And the way the real London, including the Underground, is woven into the texture of the novel is striking. The title Neverwhere itself is very compelling and prompted me to buy the book! A noir crime thriller by a Mexican diplomat translated by Katherine Silver dark, cynical with a classical Chandlerian acerbic, vulgar self-deprecating violent cop with a fast gun.

The book is an admixture of third-person point of view with rambling inner monologue of the protagonist, following all the twists and turns in an attempted assassination of the President of the US while visiting Mexico City, which turns out to be about local political infighting. A sad ending. Unfortunately, we continue to live in a world with about 10, nuclear explosive devices, with more countries acquiring the technology. The explosion of but a single one of these devices in anger will change the world as we know it.

It can sometimes seem astonishing to anyone who seriously considers the continual, indeed rising, level of risk of nuclear war in this second nuclear age to witness the continuing denial, the inexplicable ability of much of the world to ignore a fate hurtling toward us. The same denial process is in place in the refusal to contemplate the existential threat of runaway AI or Superintelligence.

A chilling account. How would we as a nation deal with the uncertainty of identifying the culpable agents, whether to retaliate in kind and how to live in a world where more such attacks might take place. The book is not analytical and not as insightful as I would have hoped for. Well-crafted account of TBI and the toll it takes on civilian society. The child survived with no apparent adverse effect, save for a scar that still remains visible today, more than 70 years later.

Winslade eloquently traces the remarkable medical revolution that enabled s of victims of massive brain injury due to traffic accidents, falls, guns and so on, to ultimately return to a productive life. Until recently, the majority would have either died, remained in coma or been scarred for life. Death of a loved one allows healing to start; while no such mourning process is possible when the patient hovers for years in a clinical limbo, alive, yet a zombie.

More than years into the Enlightenment that this French savant inaugurated and that may well be coming to an end in the tumultuous second decades of the third millennium, the mind-body debate continues to take place on terrain that Descartes first named and explored. Light on descriptions and character development, strong on historical context. The real thing, the classic Gothic novel that defined the modern vampire a la the undead, or Nosferatu.

Highly melodramatic, compelling, and well-paced story, with sweltering psycho-sexual undertones, told in the form of letters, diary entries, telegrams and newspaper cuttings. It is an archetypal, irresistible and romantic story of scientific discovery as is, of course, the grandeur of Machu Picchu and the dramatic conquest of the short-lived Inca empire by Pizarro and his men in Yet each such discovery proved illusory and turned out to be a sunspot, a fixed star or a figment of imagination.

The situation remained unresolved until November Presto — no need for Vulcan! He acquires a reputation as a effective physician and healer but also as a free-thinker, which is dangerous in these times when people are burned at the stake for minor transgression from the faith. Replete with historical and erudite details, Yourcenar gives Zeno great depth, a real Mensch of the late Middle Ages, with a cantankerous and not always sympathetic character.

He could no longer see, but external sounds reached him still. As once before at Saint Cosmus, hurried footsteps echoed along the corridor: it was the turnkey who had just caught sight of the dark pool on the floor. But the anguish was over for him: he was free; this person who was coming to him could be only a friend.

He made, or thought that he made, an effort to rise, without knowing clearly whether someone was coming to help him, or if, on the contrary, he was going to give help.

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The rasping of keys turning and bolts shoved back was now for him only the triumphant sound of an opening door. And this is as far as one can go in the death of Zeno. He retreats to a country house of his own design, travels in his imagination, and turns neurotic. Essentially without plot, the reader is treated to a series of extended meditations on des Esseintes bizarre artistic literary, visual and olfactory experiences in a heavy, imagery-laden but effective language.

To wit,. What literature had treated heretofore was the abundant health of virtues and of vices, the tranquil functioning of commonplace brains, and the practical reality of contemporary ideas, without any ideal of sickly depravation or of any beyond. In short, the discoveries of those analysts had stopped at the speculations of good or evil classified by the Church.

It was the simple investigation, the conventional examination of a botanist minutely observing the anticipated development of normal efflorescence abounding in the natural earth. Baudelaire had gone farther.

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He had descended to the very bowels of the inexhaustible mine, had involved his mind in abandoned and unfamiliar levels, and come to those districts of the soul where monstrous vegetations of thought extend their branches. There, near those confines, the haunt of aberrations and of sickness, of the mystic lockjaw, the warm fever of lust, and the typhoids and vomits of crime, he had found, brooding under the gloomy clock of Ennui, the terrifying spectre of the age of sentiments and ideas.

He had revealed the morbid psychology of the mind which has attained the October of its sensations, recounted the symptoms of souls summoned by grief and licensed by spleen, and shown the increasing decay of impressions while the enthusiasms and beliefs of youth are enfeebled and the only thing remaining is the arid memory of miseries borne, intolerances endured and affronts suffered by intelligences oppressed by a ridiculous destiny.

The tedium of it all! Huysmans has powerful turn of phrases at his command. The author is torn by his desire to defile his earlier Catholic upbringing by references to black masses and pedophilia, and his yearning to belief. For many years, I too shared this desire to believe in the God of my childhood like des Esseintes, I was taught by Jesuits in the face of my scientific and rational instincts who knew better. These won out. The father is portrayed as a violent, difficult character seeking to hide his past but becomes more sympathetic in the telling of his semi-tragic story.

I assume writing the book was cathartic for the daughter, reconnecting to her ever-so-distant dad. Exceedingly well written and insightful. Thoughtful extended argument, born from his own experience as a war journalist shades of Hemingway supported by anthropological-historical analysis, from a mesmerizing writer who re-acquainted us with the ancient notion of adventure as a rite of passage, essential for maturing. Yet during and after catastrophes and calamities - London during the Blitz, Germany cities during WWII bombings, the siege of Sarajevo during the s, NYC after , soldiers in battles throughout the ages — people pull together, experience a deep sense of community the army speaks of high-group cohesion , including large drops in crime rates, suicide and psychiatric diagnoses.

His book is a plea, a cri de Coeur for returning veterans who long in civil life for the for the sense of unity and purpose they had while deployed. In combat, soldiers all but ignore differences of race, religion, and politics within their platoon. People speak with incredible contempt about — depending on their views — the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign-born, the president or the entire U.

Regretably, this accurately reflects the current public discourse in the US, the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Unfortunately, besides giving veterans a public platform to speak about their war experiences, whether horrid, heroic or in between, and a general plea for more civility, Junger offers no solution or therapy to this modern ailment - alienation. I warmly recommend this book to everybody concerned about the future of our liberal societies. His fate remains uncertain but is unlikely to be good. In a sort of coda, the final scene takes us to the same location on the night of the worst bombing attack by Allied planes toward the end of the war, when fascism had almost run its unholy course.

A short, sparse but mesmerizing account of the stark life of a simple man raised at the turn of the Orphaned and abused as a child, with minimal education, disciplined and hardworking he remains poor throughout his life, solitary except for an all too brief time, when he is happily married. Looking back, toward the end of the life, he is content. I read it twice over back-to-back in the Tyrolian Alps by pure coincidence.

Superb; translated from Ein ganzes Leben. The classical Cold War thriller of murder set in a nuclear submarine above and below the artic ice shelf. I re-read it after four decades — it has aged remarkable well, sans extreme violence and sex. Funny and well-crafted, the book epitomizes the frat-boy, high risk, take-no-prisoner Wall Street culture blind to its consequences on the larger economy some of the anecdotes a bit too convenient to be true.

The book makes for depressing reading as it reveals incompetency most traders have little idea of the larger context of their deals and a financial system designed to rewards its own. Such revelations are part and parcel of the political anger and fury fueling the rise of demagogues and proto-fascists. Nine chapters on a diverse range of topics relating to scientific advances and their impact on modern society — how we live, how we die, how we not have babies, about research on stems cells and embryos, about genetic research, pre-screening and testing — from a modern conservative scholar.

His biggest gripe is with the dramatically reduced birth-rate among educated women in advanced liberal democracies and what this implies for our culture. Indeed, a reduced birth-rate is the only non-violent means to address contemporary massive extinction of species and environmental degradation.

Warning — this is not a breezy read but it is well worth the effort. It postulates that elementary particles are not point-like but extended strings either open or closed living in a space-time of more than 4 dimensions requiring an explanation why only 4 are apparent to us.

There exists an enormous number of possible vacuum states, on the order of 10 to the A key difficulty of string theory is that its predictions can only be tested at energies that exceed the energies available to particles colliders such as LHC at CERN by a trillion, making it effectively impossible to test using conventional means, such as particle accelerators. He summarizes three arguments, justifying them with examples drawn from the history and the practice of physics.

It is acknowledged by physicists that there are no viable alternatives to string theory despite the best efforts for close to four decades of many, many theoreticians. This can be applied to either empirical predictions or to the emergency of a more coherent conceptual framework.

Indeed, the belief of physicists in the existence of the Higgs particle was so high that when its discovery was confirmed in , nobody was particularly surprised. These are examples of theories that are held to be correct description of physical phenomena despite the temporary ranging between 20 — years underdetermination of some of their key predictions. Dawid discusses how over the past years of fundamental physics the balance has changed from observation confirming theories e. In the process, the phenomenal e. In other words, over the last two centuries in physics the the conceptual distance between empirical signatures and the fundamental theory has become very large indeed.

In an aside, Dawid comments on the uncertain ontological status of other universes e. They belong to a peculiar class of objects that are epistemically inaccessible to us but that have some conceptually characteristics of observable objects. Will a fundamental theory of consciousness, such as IIT, share some of the characteristics of string theory? Note that conscious minds share some properties with the uncountable universes postulated by eternal inflation i. Geo-transformed to celebrate a dozen different civilizations from nearby star systems, the planet now plays host to various forlorn people who chose to remain behind.

A strong sense of melancholy and doom pervades the novel and animates its flawed heroes and anti-heroes battling each other, as life drains away under the dying of the light. The author, a financial journalist who worked for several years as a bond salesman, keeps the action fast-paced and exciting by following the actions of a few individuals who, ultimately successfully, bet against this market. Wall Street comes out as totally unscrupulous, cynical and incompetent, engaging in socially-non-productive forms of gambling with vast sums that endanger the fabric of modern society.

As acknowledged by the trader themselves, the game is rigged with profit privatized and risk socialized as witnessed by the bail-out of AIG, Goldman-Sachs and others by the US government in late The book and its successful movie adaptation feed the palpable public anger expressed by Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Saunders on the left in the run-up to the election. A powerful and well told story. Fantasy, somewhere on the spectrum between allegory and myth.

A beautiful told story of an elder and very tender couple, Beatrice and Axle, in post-Arthurian England in which Christian and Romanized Britons and the invading pagan Saxons have established an uneasy equilibrium. The land is covered by a mist that makes people forget. Thus, the couple tries to remember what happened to their son and go on a voyage to seek him out for they are sure he awaits them with joy.

The novel has many fantastical elements — a dragon, ogres, knights of the realm — but is really about memories and forgetting and how both forces shape us in ways good and bad — memories of love-making, raising children and harmonious times clashing with memories of rancor, wounds and bitter disappointments. The amnesia that is central to the novel is both collective King Arthur broke the peace treaty and slaughtered innocent Saxons as well between the couple. The ending is ambiguous and, like the rest of the novel, not really satisfying, even though the novel contains passages of great literary power.

A well-done combo of space opera, steam punk and cyberspace novel that plays several hundred years in the future in a distant planetary system in which an alien civilization the Festival brings advanced technology to a th century industrial society modeled on Victorian England, telescoping a millennia of techno-social progress into a single month. The book kept my attention even during an emergency landing due to smoke in the airplane cabin, no mean feat! There are not natural kinds but constructed and contingent terms.

The parallel with religio , then, lies in the fact that we are not used to thinking of both religion and science as systems of beliefs and practices, rather than conceiving of them primarily as personal qualities. And for us today the question of their relationship is largely determined by their respective doctrinal content and the methods through which that content is arrived at. That modern theories of, say, the origin and composition of stars or of the working of the human brain are not just sophisticated games but are superior, in a measurable way, to older theories let alone to non-scientific accounts of these phenomena.

The writing is exceptional well-crafted and contains real nuggets about Climate Change, the modern academic endeavor a hilarious scene when he encounters deconstructionists' rabid take on the so-called scientific narrative and life. This is supposed to be the funniest book in the English language of the An outstanding exposition of Epicurian philosophy, its physics and ethics, by a little known Roman writer living in the first century BCE.

It is worthwhile to re-read this beautiful and evocative poem every few years for its celebration of the vitality of nature the poem starts with evoking the power of Venus, goddess of fecundity and how happiness can be found in the here and now. Human misery derives mainly from the dread of gods, the hereafter and death.


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Calm deliberation shows that the gods are not concerned in any way, shape or form with us why would they? The poem exudes supreme rationality, denial of superstition, and views nature as constantly changing and evolving. Sex is natural and ought to be enjoyed. The universe is infinite, contains nothing but atoms and the void, and is indeterminate grace of the swerve. Even today, such lucidity is only for the few.

As John Locke wrote in his journal at the end of the The first governs a few, the two last share the bulk of mankind and possess them in their turn. But superstition most powerfully produces the greatest mischief. Beautiful crafted and observed psychological vignettes from the life of three women - the English modernist novelist Virginia Woolf, an American housewife in s Los Angeles and a successful editor, living with her lesbian partner in s Greenwich Village. Three common threads running through all stories are unhappiness, Mrs. Dalloway and suicide. Compelling read even though the abulic stance of the three protagonists is a difficult one for me to project myself into.

The Hours was turned into a superb and subtle eponymous movie, very faithful to the original novel, with a haunting score by Philip Glass. Short fictions and disturbances. The short story about Sherlock Holmes keeping bees in a mountain region in Asia is superb and haunting. The remaining ones are passable, but no more. It starts out strong, with an account of the early phase of the horrific, convulsive event known as the 'Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" of , in which millions of Chinese people died, many of them scientists and other intellectuals.

The story involves contact with an alien civilization — Trisolarans - four light years out and the resultant effects on culture, religion and politics, with warring factions within society some that wish to accelerate the coming of these Aliens to Earth. The basic premise makes one really think - the hallmark of a thinking's person novel. Some of the dialogue and the personalities are a bit wooden. At times the writer adopts the point of view of the aliens living in a near-chaotic solar system with three suns that have basically human level motivations.

The story never makes any attempt to explain how the problem of decoding messages from radical alien cultures is solved. His subsequent buildings became defensive and turned inward, away from engagement with nature. The text cites a beautiful poem that expressed the bucolic outlook of the Art and Craft movement. It grows even now I pray that the world remembers my name, not as a monstrous sinner, but as the glorious savior you know I truly am. I pray Mankind will understand the gift I leave behind.

Filled with the usual tropes of such thrillers, this one is smarter, darker and more compelling than most. The entire action takes places in under 24 hours in Florence, Venice and Constantinople. The SF novel that was turned into a blockbuster Ridley Scott movie his only SF flick that isn't dark nor apocalyptic , with Matt Demon in the main role of astronaut Mark Tawney, who is unintentionally left behind when a NASA-sponsored Mars expedition has to rapidly evacuate the planet. Mark survives despite all odds by taking a relentless let's-face-down-the-odds attitude -.

No blubbering, despairing, "why me" lucubrations but an all-American or should I say, all Leibnitzian positive, if rough, attitude to life's persistent challenges such as running out of water or only having enough food for one month on a planet that is completely abiotic that Matt solves with a rational attitude, a lot of mad science and duct tape seriously. Another very prescient SF novel by the crazed Californian who died in near poverty.

The dialogue is wooden; not to be recommended for its literary exposition but for its idea, decades before they become more widespread. The history of the fall of the magnificent Inca empire, the last great civilization living in splendid isolation from the rest of the planet and believed that it encompassed all lands, brought down in a single, terrible year with the arrival of the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro and his men.

The Inca emperor, Atahualpa, had just emerged victorious from a bloody civil war at the head of a million men strong-army; how could a mere handful of men threaten him? The book describes the events leading up to , the various attempts by surviving Inca leaders following the murder of Atahualpa to fight the invaders and the tragic fate of most Indians, Inca or not. I read this book at the occasion of my visit to Lima, the capital of modern Peru, Cusco, the erstwhile capital of the Inca empire, and Machu Picchu.

These events that took place almost half a millennium ago continue to resonate deeply in the history and in the culture of the country. The author, Hemming, is an explorer and anthropologist, emphatic toward the minds of the Indians and Spaniards who lived so long ago. The book is well researched and filled with detailed footnotes. A must-read when visiting Peru. Well-crafted and enjoyable to read, despite the dark theme of the coming war. Many years later, he discovers the why.

Enigmatic and compelling with only the faintest touch of supernatural, ghost-like elements. He calmed himself, shut his eyes, and fell asleep. The rear light of consciousness, like the last express train of the night, began to fade into the distance, gradually speeding up, growing smaller until it was, finally, sucked into the depths of the night, where it disappeared.

All that remained was the sound of the wind slipping through a stand of white birch trees. Very readable account of the search for a universal truth-calculus, the demise of this ancient dream and the consequential computer revolution this search birthed. Grand space opera that takes place in that eponymous year in which may of the planets of our solar system have been terra-formed, asteroids have been turned into habitats and genetic engineering has created a plethora of human life forms.

Today, more than years later, neo -Darwinian arguments suffuse our culture and constitute the bedrock of modern medicine and biology. Unlike his intellectual competitor, Alfred Wallace, Darwin was a close student of domestication, gardening and animal breeding and frequently compared natural selection with artificial selection even if the breeders did not consciously set out to create a new species. Remarkably, the theory was conceived in the absence of any knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying inheritance. When we no longer look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as at something wholly beyond his comprehension; when we regard every production of nature as one which has had a history; when we contemplate every complex structure and instinct as the summing up of many contrivances, each useful to the possessor, nearly in the same way as when we look at any great mechanical invention as the summing up of the labor, the experience, the reason, and even the blunders of numerous workmen; when we thus view each organic being, how far more interesting, I speak from experience, will the study of natural history become!

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. Eminently readable scholarly book. It is a careful reasoned search for causes of the extinction of Neanderthals, who lived in Europe as north as Wales, as south as Israel and as far east as the Caucasus from roughly , to 30, BCE.

Their disappearance overlaps with the emergence of modern humans from Africa between 40, and 32, BCE who settled in the area as Neanderthal. Yet there is no or only scant direct evidence of Neanderthal killings by modern men but genetic evidence for interbreeding and raised the offspring of homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

Shipman is very deliberate, analyzing the climate, comparing diets, caloric needs the Neanderthal had higher ones due to their more muscular frame , studying bone fragments archeological sites. She concludes that homo sapiens was most likely a more efficient hunter as witnessed by Mammoth graveyards due to two factors — firstly, the invention of long-distance projectile weapons, such as lances — secondly, the domestication of wolfs around 40, years ago.

She offers the tantalizing hypothesis that two apex predators, rather than directly competing with each other, learned to cooperate, to the lasting benefits of both. Shipman hypothesizes that the ability of these carnivores to infer the direction of gaze of both con-specifics facilitated by their white iris as well as the gaze of humans enabled them to silently and swiftly communicate when hunting in large packs.

Shipman concludes that Neanderthal, under severe stress due to a climate that became colder and drier, was outcompeted by teams of humans and their wolf-dogs. A great read. The third book I consumed while in Peru on extinction, this one on mass extinction and their scientific discovery by George Cuvier in the first half of the Century in opposition to the gradualism advocated by the geologist Lyell and Darwin. Modern biology and geology is, of course, a combination of imperceptible changes over ten and hundreds of millions of years punctuated by abrupt catastrophes.

This popular account by a journalist focuses on the contemporary human-triggered sixth extinction that will wipe out large swath of species by the end of this century with unknown consequences for the planet and ourselves. Reasonable overview of alcoholism without trying to push any one therapy unlike the vast majority of books in this field. Although it often alludes to AA, it doesn't really discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

Nutt is a professor of neuro-psychopharmacology at Imperial College in London and is famed for being the scientists who was sacked in by the British Home Secretary because he publicly compared the overall harm and mortality of horse-riding comparatively high with taking ecstasy comparatively low. They used various objective measures e. Most notably, there is zero correlation between the legal status of these drugs and their overall harm.

A psychology professor and his daughter consider some classic novels from the point of view of evolutionary psychology. Think of it as "crit lit" in the light of Darwin. What justifies Othello's jealousy in the eponymous play? Why do Mr. Everything else is gravy.

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