Ancient World Now: Timoleon, Part II

Click here for direct link to audio podcast Episode #51.

Click here for previous episodes.

Setting: Ancient Syracuse in Sicily. Sacked and desolate. Deserted of Greek colonists. Streets overrun with deer and wild boar.

Enter: Timoleon, ready to restore the Greek colonies of Sicily to their former glory, sans tyrants.

And even more amazing than his many successes was that by the end of his long life he had managed to avoid “the insatiable pursuit of glory and power which has wrecked so many great men.” Plutarch, like so many thinkers before him and since, tried to identify the qualities that make a great leader. Plato, Aristotle, Homer, and the epics Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and the Persian Shahnameh, all address the question of how to deal with the incompetent, malevolent, or unworthy leader. In today’s world, it sometimes seems to be an old-fashioned expectation: ethical, just, and informed leadership with a focus on the long-term. We are living in revolutionary times, and we can only hope that our world leaders have read and learned from history. Where are those leaders of old? It’s time they step out of the shadows and give us all something to hope for.

Find out how Timoleon stacks up in today’s podcast reading from Plutarch’s Lives for Boys & Girls, retold by W.H. Weston, and illustrated by W. Rainey, published in London & Edinburgh in the early 1900′s. Enjoy!

Ancient World Now: Timoleon, Part I

Click here for direct link to audio podcast Episode #50.

Click here for previous episodes.

Friends, Romans, countrymen! This podcast marks our 50th episode! To celebrate, I’ll send a copy of my book to the first person who writes me at: gwen@gwenminor.com! Good luck! And thanks for making me love this!

Fratricide, intrigue, privation, and assassins. Timoleon and Dionysius II face off in today’s podcast.

Sicily has such an interesting history, and the court of Dionysius II was especially so. The story of the sword of Damocles comes from this court, and Plato hung out there a lot! Dionysius II was fascinated with Plato’s idea of the philosopher-king, and so invited Plato to Sicily to try to make him the ideal ruler. Amazing! And what happened after that was even more astounding. It didn’t work so well and Plato ended up wishing he hadn’t got involved in all the drama. He gives his account of his Sicilian adventures in his Seventh Letter. But I digress! As usual, the bad guys get more attention than the good guys. As Mark Antony said in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:”The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

What was Plutarch trying to teach us about Timoleon, the hero responsible for the revival of Greek Sicily? Find out in today’s podcast reading from Plutarch’s Lives for Boys & Girls, retold by W.H. Weston, and illustrated by W. Rainey, published in London & Edinburgh in the early 1900′s. Enjoy!

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