Read first: in the second place, and very much in the second place, then write.

I thought for a moment of using the best thing I read today for the motto of the site, but it’s hard to unseat Plato. Especially if you’re an obscure abbot-bishop from Lérins from the fifth century, the son of the incestuous union of the great British warlord Vortigern and his daughter, turned Christian, then monk, then abbot, then bishop.

(Fortunately for him, he didn’t live in the 21st century, when he would have been aborted as a child of rape or incest, but in the barbaric world of the 5th century, in which semi-nude raw-meat-eating warlords were raping and pillaging everything in sight, including their own daughters. Fortunately for the world, he lived to make it a better place.)

The very existence of the phrase “obscure abbot-bishop from Lérins”  testifies to the huge influence of the monastery on the little island off the coast of southern Gaul (France) in late antiquity. It produced a number of saints and bishops and has often been called a “bishop factory” because of its success in training men for pastoral work.

But Faustus’s comment is not necessarily Christian. It is of interest to any of us who seeks the truth.

magis imitanda legas quam legenda conscribas.

“May you do more reading what ought to be imitated

than writing what ought to be read.”

Thanks, dear reader, for sharing with me another example of economy, the difficulty of translation, and our universally common desire.

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About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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