on being a good man

Remember that scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan? An old James Ryan, having remembered all the hardships and sacrifices that were endured to bring him home, kneels in front of the grave of Captain John Miller, the man who saved his life. It seems Miller’s dying words to him, “earn this,” have stayed with him all his life.

Ryan turns to his wife and says “tell me I’m a good man.”

What if the answer had been “no”? What if Ryan had tried but failed? What if he had never tried at all? Continue reading “on being a good man”

on confidence

The phrase ‘girls like a guy who’s confident’ is something I’ve been hearing a lot recently. I’m sure most of you guys have heard it at some point in your life, either from your dads or older guys.

My gut reaction whenever I hear that phrase is “I’m confident, I make decisions all the time!” But I’m starting to realise that being confident and assertively putting your foot down are two different things (and those of you who know me would probably chuckle at the thought of me putting my foot down). Continue reading “on confidence”

on neglected commanders of the roman world: mithridates VI

Sources Appian, Mithridatic Wars (46-50); Plutarch, Life of Sulla; Cassius Dio (30-37)

His time Mithridates’ world was a time of war, when the Roman Republic was rapidly expanding its power through military conquest and economic strong-arming. The old Greek-speaking kingdoms established by Alexander the Great’s generals, which till now had dominated the known world, were on the wane, fighting a losing battle against Rome. Mithridates ruled the kingdom of Pontus on the southern shore of the Black Sea, yet another Greek-speaking kingdom among many in the region. Though relatively small it was rich, and a perfect target of Rome’s depredations. Continue reading “on neglected commanders of the roman world: mithridates VI”

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