fate pt 1: the happiest of men

[This is a project I’ve been working on and off for several years now, a collection of ancient short stories (mostly adapted from Herodotus and Livy), under the working title The Happiest of Men. These are grouped into four chapters: Fate, Law, Sacrifice, and Love. Every week for the next few months I will be posting a new story until the epilogue and then the afterword. Without further ado, enjoy!]

 King Croesus ruled the land of the Lydians, and he was the richest king of all. His city of Sardis gleamed with shining gold and white marble, and his palaces and temples were the envy of the world. Even the wisemen of Athens, who loved wisdom more than gold, came to see his city.

One day the greatest wiseman of them all, Solon, came to visit King Croesus. Croesus was very flattered, and now he wanted to be praised. So he showed Solon the wonders of his kingdom, and then asked him, “My friend, who do you think is the happiest man you have ever seen?” He was expecting to hear, “You, o King.” Continue reading “fate pt 1: the happiest of men”

on what truth is

On the eve of his execution Jesus is questioned by Pilate about his identity (John 18:33-38). Jesus tells Pilate that he is in fact a King, just as Pilate had been trying to get Jesus to admit all along, but adds “the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of the truth listens to me.”

To which Pilate (you can almost see the sneer on his face) replies “What is truth?”

What is truth? The classicist in me goes first and foremost to the ancient writers: Continue reading “on what truth is”

on friendship and brotherhood

Brotherhood, camaraderie and friendship are important values to me. So today during a business meeting I thought about the different attitudes to friendship and brotherhood I’ve encountered:

Jesus takes a very counter-cultural attitude to friendship – it can be a hindrance to following Jesus (Luke 14:26). Brotherhood is not determined by blood, or shared experience, whether hardship or pleasure; rather is it determined by a shared purpose in doing the will of God (Mat 12:48-50). There is however also something sacred in brotherhood, to love and care for one’s brothers is to do the same for Jesus (Mat 25:40). Jesus defines love as laying down one’s life for friends, while at the same time calling his friends to do the same for each other, and in so doing, become closer to Jesus (John 15:13-15). And finally Jesus insists that his followers should not love only their friends, but should show sacrificial love to enemies as well (Mat 5:43-48). Continue reading “on friendship and brotherhood”

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