The Man of Learning

…Children ought to be provided with property and resources of a kind [referring to the tools of philosophic knowledge and learning] that could swim with them even out of a shipwreck. These are indeed the true supports of life, and neither Fortune’s adverse gale, nor political revolution, nor ravages of war can do them any harm. Developing the same idea, Theophrastus, urging men to acquire learning rather than to put their trust in money, states the case thus: “The man of learning is the only person in the world who is neither a stranger when in a foreign land, nor friendless when he has lost his intimates and relatives; on the contrary, he is a citizen of every country, and can fearlessly look down upon the troublesome accidents of fortune. But he who thinks himself entrenched in defenses not of learning but of luck, moves in slippery paths, struggling through life unsteadily and insecurely.”

~Vitruvius, De architectura (The Ten Books on Architecture), book VI. 1st century B.C.

All the gifts which fortune bestows she can easily take away; but education, when combined with intelligence, never fails, but abides steadily on to the very end of life.


Decline of Language?

Electronic communication is supposed to be destroying our ability to use normal language, as we resort to various forms of shorthand – BTW, FWIW, LOL, ROFLOL, etc, etc.

Well maybe.

But if it’s a sign of linguistic decline, it’s not the first time. FF Bruce points out that certain greetings were so common in Roman correspondence that letter-writers use abbreviations. Like SVBEEV for “si vales, bene est; ego valeo” (If you are well, it is good; I am well).

Peter Leithart


Though Sirach is not scripture, it is very interesting, and contains much wisdom (as well as some very humorous sayings!). Here are a few I wrote down during my reading.

“When an intelligent person hear a wise saying, he praises it and adds to it;
when a fool hears it, he laughs at it and throws it behind his back.”
Sirach 21: 15

“Whoever teaches a fool is like one who glues potsherds together, or who rouses
a sleeper from deep slumber. Whoever tells a story to a fool tells it to a
drowsy man; and at the end he will say, ‘What is it?’
Weep for the dead, for he has left the light behind; and weep for the fool, for he has left intelligence behind. Weep less bitterly for the dead, for he is at rest; but the
life of the fool is worse than death. Mourning for the dead lasts seven days,
but for the foolish or the ungodly it lasts all days of their lives.”
-Sirach 22:9-12

“There is no venom worse than a snake’s venom, and no anger worse than a woman’s wrath. I would rather live with a lion and a dragon than live with an evil woman. A woman’s wickedness changes her appearance, and darkens her face like that of a bear.”
Sirach 25:15-17 – he must have known some interesting women…

“Pamper a child, and he will terrorize you; play with him, and he will grieve you.”
Sirach 30:9 hmm…

“A joyful heart is life itself, and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span.”
Sirach 30:22

“Those who are cheerful and merry at the table will benefit from their food.”
Sirach 30:25

“Wine drunk at the proper time and in moderation is rejoicing of heart and gladness of soul.”
Sirach 31: 28

“A seal of emerald in a rich setting of gold is the melody of music with good wine.”
Sirach 32:6

“Do not be overconfident on a smooth road, and give good heed to your paths.”
Sirach 32:21-22

“The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and the sensible will not despise them.”
Sirach 38:4

“A friend or companion is always welcome, but a sensible wife is better than either.”
Sirach 40:23