luni, 21 ianuarie 2013

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (II)

"They acknowledged that the true principles of social life, laws, agriculture, and science, which had been first invented by the wisdom of Athens, were now firmly established by the power of Rome, under whose auspicious influence the fiercest barbarians were united by an equal government and common language. They affirm that, with the improvement of arts, the human species was visibly multiplied. They celebrate the increasing splendour of the cities, the beautiful face of the country, cultivated and adorned like an immense garden; and the long festival of peace, which was enjoyed by so many nations, forgetful of their ancient animosities, and delivered from the apprehension of future danger."

"Of the various forms of government which have prevailed in the world, an hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule. Is it possible to relate without an indignant smile, that, on the father's decease, the property of a nation, like that of a drove of oxen, descends to his infant son, as yet unknown to mankind and to himself, and that the bravest warriors and the wisest statesman, relinquishing their natural right to empire, approach the royal cradle with bended knees and protestations of inviolable fidelity? Satire and declamation may paint these obvious topics in the most dazzling colours, but our more serious thoughts will respect a useful prejudice, that establishes a rule of succession, independent of the passions of mankind; and we shall cheerfully acquiesce in any expedient which deprives the multitude of the dangerous, and indeed the ideal, power of giving themselves a master."

"During the first four ages, the Romans, in the laborious school of poverty, had acquired the virtues of war and government: by the vigorous exertion of those virtues, and by the assistance of fortune, they had obtained, in the course of the three succeeding centuries, an absolute empire over many countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The last three hundred years had been consumed in apparent prosperity and internal decline. The nation of soldiers, magistrates, and legislators, who composed the thirty-five tribes of the Roman people, was dissolved into the common mass of mankind, and confounded with the millions of servile provincials, who had received the name, without adopting the spirit, of Romans."

Irish Folk Furniture

You don't usually go to work to make friends, but you do get lucky from time to time. You do not move to another country to find a home, but if you give it enough time you might end up loving it just as much.

joi, 17 ianuarie 2013

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (I)

"The first exploits of Trajan were against the Dacians, the most warlike of men, who dwelt beyond the Danube, and who, during the reign of Domitian, had insulted with impunity, the majesty of Rome. To the strength and fierceness of barbarians they added a contempt for life, which was derived from a warm persuasion of the immortality and transmigration of the soul. Decebalus, the Dacian king, approved himself a rival not unworthy of Trajan; nor did he despair of his own and the public fortune, till, by the confession of his enemies, he had exhausted every resource both of valour and policy. This memorable war, with a very short suspension of hostilities, lasted five years; and as the emperor could exert, without control, the whole force of the state, it was terminated by the absolute submission of the barbarians."

"The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord."

"So sensible were the Romans of the influence of language over national manners, that it was their most serious care, to extend with the progress of their arms, the use of the Latin tongue. The ancient dialects of Italy, the Sabine, the Etruscan, and the Venetian, sunk into oblivion; but in the provinces, the east was less docile than the west to the voice of its victorious preceptors. The obvious difference marked the two portions of the empire with a distinction of colours, which, though it was to some degree concealed during the meridian splendour of prosperity, became gradually more visible as the shades of night descended upon the Roman world."

Rite of Spring, Stravinsky

miercuri, 16 ianuarie 2013

Galaad, Marilynne Robinson

"Dacă ați vrea să aflați cum este iadul, nu țineți mână deasupra flăcării unei lumânări, ci doar gândiți-vă la cel mai rău și mai părăsit loc din sufletul dumneavoastră."

"Mi s-a părut că Domnul suflă peste sărmanul jar cenușiu al Creațiunii și îi dă strălucire - un moment, un an sau o viață întreagă. Iar apoi se scufundă din nou în sine iar dacă te uiți la el nu-ți dai seamă că ar avea ceva de-a face cu focul sau lumina. Acest lucru l-am spus în predică de Rusalii. Am reflectat la acea predică, și conține un adevăr. Dar Domnul este mai constant și de departe mai extravagant decât se poate înțelege de aici. Oriunde îți rotești privirea, lumea poate străluci ca o transfigurare. Nu trebuie să contribui cu nimic, doar cu puțină bunăvoință de a vedea. Dar cine ar avea curajul să o vadă?"

"Sunt două ocazii când frumusețea sacră a Creațiunii devine orbitor de vizibilă, și ele apar împreună. Una este când simțim insuficiența noastră extremă față de lume și o alta este când simțim insuficiența extremă a lumii față de noi."