On Rereading “De Senectute”

Nov. 27 1998 3:30 AM

On Rereading “De Senectute”

Cicero's hot investment tips for the declining years.

(Continued from Page 1)

On the final question of how to invest to prepare for the proximity of death in old age, Cicero is not very helpful. (Who is?) He offers his "philosophical" view. Death brings at least an end to those troublesome appetites and may open the way to something better--he doesn't say what. Perhaps one could indoctrinate oneself in that attitude in youth and so prepare for old age. But obviously Cicero did not find that philosophy sufficient. As the introduction to the Loeb edition says, "In February 45 [a year before he wrote "De Senectute"] the death of his adored and only daughter drove him into a frenzy of writing in an effort to forget his grief." He did not accept the fact of his daughter Tullia's death with the thought that she had at least escaped all appetites. His philosophy might have prepared him for his own death; it did not prepare him for the death of one he loved.

42000_42878_981124_age2
Advertisement

Later he wrote an essay titled "Consolatio," which probably dealt with this subject and which I have not read. If he was rescued from his grief, it was apparently time and work, not philosophy, that rescued him.

: Herbert Stein thanks his high-school Latin teacher.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Launching a Serious Run at Apple and Samsung

Television

Slim Pickings at the Network TV Bazaar

Three talented actresses in three terrible shows.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. Now There’s Just One Thing Holding Us Back.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?