Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Romans

An American Satyricon

Our elites would be right at home in Petronius’s world of debauchery and bored melodrama.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Sometime in the mid-first century a.d., an otherwise little known consular official, Gaius Petronius, wrote a brilliant satirical novel about the gross and pretentious new Roman-imperial elite. The Satyricon is an often-cruel parody about how the Roman agrarian republic of old had degenerated into a wealth-obsessed, empty society of wannabe new elites, flush with money, and both obsessed with and bored with sex. Most of the Satyricon is lost. But in its longest surviving chapter — “Dinner with Trimalchio” — Petronius might as well have been describing our own 21st-century nomenklatura.

For the buffoonish libertine guests of the host Trimalchio, food and sex are in such surfeit that they have to be repackaged in bizarre and Read more →

Modern Wisdom from Ancient Minds

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

The Tragic View

Of course we can acquire a sense of man’s predictable fragilities from religion, the Judeo-Christian view in particular, or from the school of hard knocks. Losing a grape crop to rain a day before harvest, or seeing a warehouse full of goods go up in smoke the week before their sale, or being diagnosed with leukemia on the day of a long-awaited promotion convinces even the most naïve optimist that the world sort of works in tragic ways that we must accept, but do not fully understand. Read more →

A Summer With Virgil

by Bruce S. Thornton

Defining Ideas

“To read the Latin & Greek authors in their original,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “is a sublime luxury.” Fortunately, for those who don’t read Greek and Latin, the great works of Classical literature are available in first-rate translations. The following five classics are some of the best works from the astonishing variety and brilliance of Greek and Roman literature. Read more →

More Rubble, Less Trouble

by Victor Davis Hanson

Defining Ideas

Western Warfare, as originated by the Greeks and systematized by the Romans, took various forms over the ensuing two millennia. European militaries put greater emphasis on decisive battles such as Gaugamela or Kursk. They focused on collective discipline, the importance of staying in rank, superior technology, and logistics. Read more →

Diplomatic Supping with Jihadist Devils

by Bruce S. Thornton

FrontPage Magazine

While Western diplomats wring their hands over trivial insults to Islam, a slow-motion genocide of Christians has been unfolding in the Muslim world. Read more →

A Vandalized Valley

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

I am starting to feel as if I am living in a Vandal state, perhaps on the frontier near Carthage around AD 530, or in a beleaguered Rome in 455. Here are some updates from the rural area surrounding my farm, taken from about a 30-mile radius. In this take, I am not so much interested in chronicling the flotsam and jetsam as in fathoming whether there is some ideology that drives it. Read more →

Corrupt Language Breeds Bad History and Bad Policy

by Bruce S. Thornton

Advancing a Free Society

As the history of communism and fascism both illustrate, modern political tyranny has relied on fabricated history to legitimize its claims and actions, and such history in turn relies on the debasement of language. Read more →

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