In the wake of his high school Latin teacher’s passing, Mark Medish authored an essay for CounterPunch about the importance of reflecting on classic texts in an age where technology is overriding human experience. Medish connects the experiences of Cicero to the political and social unrest we face in our own republic today.
“Cicero – a brilliant but fallible figure – was himself overstretched. He compromised his independence, borrowing heavily from Rome’s richest men such as Crassus and Pompey to improve his household’s living standards. Cicero also overreached in his efforts against rivals, resorting to thuggish tactics he had earlier abhorred. He ultimately lost his fight when an authoritarian triumvirate including the ambitious general Julius Caesar seized power. The republic would not last.
We are not Rome. Yet, despite the manifold differences including dazzling technological sophistication, we can see traces of ourselves – the continuity of human nature – in the mirror of the classics.“