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The Plague of Athens

by on April 1, 2020

Written by Katherine Kennedy, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom

Throughout history, civilization has overcome natural and manmade challenges and adversities. Our histories are riddled with accounts of famines, wars, pestilences, and of course, plagues.

One such instance was the Plague of Athens, and now as the Coronavirus sweeps through our cities and countries, it is perhaps timely to remember the lessons of the past and learn from their experiences.

Origins

The epidemic, known as the Plague of Athens, swept through the main city of Athens in the second year of the Peloponnesian War, in about 430 BC. It entered the city after decimating an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 inhabitants who lived in the city and near its port of Piraeus; Athens’ only port for food and supplies. Before the plague, it was believed that the Athenians would win the war. The outbreak shattered that belief.

What Should the Post-Corona World Look Like?

by on March 30, 2020

I think it started with hand sanitizer. All of the sudden, the arbitrary rule of xx ozs of liquids on planes was dropped. Can’t limit that virus killing gel in such a cramped environment, after all. And with that quick policy change, so flippantly acknowledged, the ‘theater of security’ had its curtain pulled up, revealing its props and unnecessary stage devices.
Then came the jail occupants…the victimed incarcerated, whose crimes were born out of bureaucracy and poverty, were turned out into the streets in lieu of crowded cells, leaving the thoughtful to scratch their heads and ask why they were there in the first place?
Now, the world over, hard working employees and students who had been asking to do their tasks from home for years have finally got their wish. Turns out, they ‘can’ do it.
We are at a pivotal moment in history. The Post-Corona world will be very different from what we have previously known. Disruption is happening, but that doesn’t have to mean it’s bad.

Christianity and the Rise of the Hospital in the Ancient World

by on March 27, 2020

Written by Edward Whelan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Most of us are lucky enough to be within driving distance of a major hospital. It is often the case that we take our medical services for granted. In the Classical era, things were very different. Though the Greeks and Romans made many innovations, they failed to provide any public healthcare. The establishment of the first hospitals was a result of Christianity.
Hospitals Before the Coming of Christianity
Before the Roman Empire converted to Christianity, healthcare was left to the individual and the family. There had been some charitable hospitals in existence in Rome in the 1st century BC, and even by the 1st century AD  there were only private hospitals accessible to the rich.

Democracy’s Fatal Flaw: Us

by on March 25, 2020

Written by William Giovinazzo, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
When I was a kid, I was taught by the good sisters of Saint Joseph that democracy is a wonderful thing, something ordained by God. In the United States in the early 1960s, it was seen as God’s gift to man, the bulwark against godless communism.
Kennedy was telling us that we needed to spread democracy throughout the world as a radical idea that would free humanity from the shackles of oppression. We all stood proudly before the American flag, chest out, arms akimbo, defenders of truth, justice, and the American way which was decidedly democratic.
That is what we were taught. As with many things the good sisters told me, reality is a bit more complicated.

Are current policies Draconian? Do we Need them?

by on March 23, 2020

We were ‘outside’ all of five minutes, at best… and I use inverted commas because we still hadn’t left the building.
You see, our comfortable little apartment, while nestled in a beautiful old french building, has only an internal courtyard view. ‘No noisy traffic sounds!’, we had initially rejoiced… but then we noticed we didn’t get any direct sunlight either.
This is not usually a problem, since we live near parks and cafes and often spend time walking between them… ah, those were the days.
And so yesterday I brought my young daughter to the direct light, to get a good dose of vitamin D, when the doorwoman approached.

Man: The Political Animal

by on March 20, 2020

Written by David Hooker, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
The Tragic Road to Tyranny 
Imagine your leader is a brilliant and bold military genius who, through multiple conquests, has expanded the borders of your country by orders of magnitude.  He does it because he and some of your leaders have ambitions of empire, need of new wealth, and access to more slaves (to keep building the domestic economy and staffing the army).   His campaigns are tremendously successful as a result of a crack military.
Your leader also gets his way at home,  manipulates the politicians, is a serial adulterer who sleeps with some of the wives of prominent men of your country, and is generally feared. Having shared power earlier in his career with two other leaders (as a “Triumvirate”), his military successes as Imperator (supreme military commander) fuel his ambition to consolidate his power and rule the country by himself.