Medieval cultural influencers

No one mentions notaries, secretaries and other such public functionaries and thinks of power and influence. It’s true, in countries subject to civil law, a notary is required to authenticate a power of attorney, write up a will or transfer property. But apart from that, notaries are not seen as agents of cultural innovation, butContinue reading “Medieval cultural influencers”

Letters addressed to a ghost

When we think of Renaissance humanism, several things leap to mind: the rediscovery of the classics, the discovery of manuscripts and works previously thought lost, a taste for antiquity, Cicero’s eloquence, classical ideas, imitation of the ancient masters. But we rarely, if ever, think about imaginary friends. And we rarely think about the novelty ofContinue reading “Letters addressed to a ghost”

Classical anti-classicism

For the ancient Romans, the past was dominated by Greece and Greek classicism, just like the Renaissance and most of our modern period were dominated by classical antiquity. In fact, our modern love affair with the classical past and classical authors starts with the Paduan scholar and poet Lovato Lovati (1241–1309). He wrote: ‘Do you despiseContinue reading “Classical anti-classicism”

[review] Roger Scruton’s ‘On Human Nature’: What makes us who we are

Roger Scruton’s latest book ‘On Human Nature’ is a delightful book. It is pithy, incisive, and written in a clear, flowing style. Although the title makes one think of ancient philosophical treatises (such as Aristotle’s or Cicero’s), it resists objectifications of what makes us human. The starting as well as the end point are notContinue reading “[review] Roger Scruton’s ‘On Human Nature’: What makes us who we are”