CMP Review 2023-09-14

CMP Review 2023-09-14

September 14, 2023

Our youngest child is starting Form 5 this week. I have mixed feelings as I return North’s Plutarch’s Lives to the bookshelf. This will be perhaps the first time in almost fifteen years that no one in this house is reading Plutarch.

We ended last term with Cicero, and it was a fitting end. Over the years, we had read about the plot against Caesar and its aftermath from many vantage points, including Plutarch’s lives of Julius Caesar and Brutus, and Shakespeare plays including Antony and Cleopatra. It was fascinating to watch the events of Cicero’s life unfold on a historical stage that we knew so well.

As I look back, many of the lives we read were indeed noble. But the treachery surrounding Cicero was sobering. Plutarch himself noted that it “showed that no brute or savage beast is so cruel as man, if with his licentiousness he have liberty to execute his will.”

Yes, I will remember and forever be inspired by anecdotes involving Alexander, Aristides, and Coriolanus. But for me personally, perhaps this note at the end of Cicero is the most valuable lesson of all. Man does indeed need a savior: to save him from wrath, from sin, and from himself.