11 May 2012

The Good Life

Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History 12.13.02, from C. H. Oldfather's 1946 translation for the Loeb Classical Library:
What man, indeed, could compose a worthy laudation of the knowledge of letters? For it is by such knowledge alone that the dead are carried in the memory of the living and that men widely separated in space hold converse through written communication with those who are at the furthest distance from them, as if they were at their side; and in the case of covenants in time of war between states or kings the firmest guarantee that such agreements will abide is provided by the unmistakable character of writing. Indeed, speaking generally, it is writing alone which preserves the cleverest sayings of men of wisdom and the oracles of the gods, as well as philosophy and all knowledge, and is constantly handing them down to succeeding generations for the ages to come. Consequently, while it is true that nature is the cause of life, the cause of the good life is the education which is based upon reading and writing.