Discover more from Classical Wisdom
Finding the Lost Art to Consolation
Cicero's Letter to himself, following the death of his daughter
In 45 BCE, the Roman statesman Cicero fell to pieces when his beloved daughter, Tullia, died from complications of childbirth. But from the depths of despair, Cicero fought his way back.
In the weeks following Tullia’s death, Cicero read and reread classic philosophical treatises on coping with grief. At Cicero’s time, the greatest guide to bereavement was a treatise by Crantor of Soli (now lost).
After studying these models, Cicero sat down and wrote his Consolation in a just a matter of weeks. He had a first draft by March 11, 45 BCE, and a final draft just two weeks later.
In his effort to cope with his loss, he wrote this consolation speech not for others, as had always been done, but for himself.
And it worked.
Cicero’s Consolation would go on to become one of the great masterpieces of the ancient world, a new standard and source of solace and relief for centuries. It was something new in literature, equal parts philosophy and motivational speech.
Unfortunately this essay was lost in antiquity. At some point during or after the fourth century, it disappeared, leaving us with no more than a dozen quotations by other authors.
In 1583, however, as the Renaissance was coming to an end in Italy, a new book quietly appears in the shops of Venice… a newly rediscovered and published edition of Consolations.
What is real? Was it a fake? And what was inside this hidden treasure?
Join us this October 27th at noon EDT, to discuss the revelations of Cicero’s Consolation and how they relate to both the ancient philosophy of Stoicism and modern behavioral cognitive therapy...
…all with the aim of finding a better understanding on how to grieve.
Featuring eminent professors and authors, including:
Cornell Classics Professor Michael Fontaine, author and translator of many books, such as: How to tell a Joke, The Pig War, How to Drink: A classical Guide to Imbibing, and most recently, How to Grieve: An Ancient Guide to the Lost Art of Consolation
CUNY Professor Massimo Pigliucci, author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life... and most recently, How to Be Good: What Socrates Can Teach Us About the Art of Living Well
Cognitive Behaviour therapist, Donald Robertson, author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor and founder of both the Plato’s Academy Centre and Modern Stoicism
Hosted by yours truly!
This Panel Discussion will take place on Thursday October 27th at NOON EDT.
***Register in advance and you can win a copy of Michael’s new book, How to Grieve: An Ancient Guide to the Lost Art of Consolation***
*Can't Make it Live? If you register in advance, we will send you the recording.*
About the Speakers:
Michael Fontaine is Professor in the Department of Classics at Cornell University, New York and author of many books and articles. His work has been reviewed in countless publications including Forbes, The Spectator, The Daily Beast, The Times Literary Supplement, The Daily Mail, and The Wine Spectator. He is the author of several publications including: How to tell a Joke, The Pig War, How to Drink: A classical Guide to Imbibing, and most recently, How to Grieve: An Ancient Guide to the Lost Art of Consolation.
Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York and author of many books, including How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life... and most recently, How to Be Good: What Socrates Can Teach Us About the Art of Living Well. Pigliucci has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Philosophy and his research interests include the philosophy of science and the practical application of ancient philosophies.
Donald Robertson is a writer, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist and trainer, specializing in teaching evidence-based psychological skills and is the president of Plato’s Academy Center. He is known as an expert on the relationship between modern psychotherapy (CBT) and classical Greek and Roman philosophy. Donald is the author of several books and many articles on philosophy, psychotherapy, and psychological skills training, including How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, and his most recent project, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, a graphic novel has just been released.
Anya Leonard is the Founder and Director of Classical Wisdom, a site dedicated to bringing ancient wisdom to modern minds. Co-founded in 2013 with Bill Bonner, in conjunction with Les Belles Lettres, the French publishing house. Since inception, Classical Wisdom has grown into one of the largest online independent publishers dedicated to the ancient world. Anya studied philosophy and comparative literature at St. John’s College in Annapolis, a Great Books program, and received her MA in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. She has recently published a children’s book, Sappho: The Lost Poetess, dedicated to the life, works and remarkable recent discovery of a poem written by the 7th century Poetess, Sappho.
I hope you can join us! It will make for a truly important and thought-provoking conversation.
Founder and Director