Steve Forbes and John Prevas have just published a book entitled, Power Ambition Glory: The Stunning Parallels between Great Leaders of the Ancient World and Today...and the Lessons You Can Learn. And (surprise, surprise!) there's a feature section on the book at Forbes.com, including some excerpts (on Alexander, Caesar, and Augustus), and also little mini-questionnaires answered by various people, on the issue of how study of the Classics has impacted their lives. Definitely worth checking out...Here, for example, is Garrison Keillor:
Forbes: Tell us about a time when lessons learned from the ancients contributed to your success.
Keillor: The ancients were dubious of success. They knew the gods were fickle, and if a mortal climbed too high up the cliff, the gods would stomp on his fingers and throw him into the sea. And, actually, the sea was the place to be. You could set sail and go see new worlds and meet mysterious women. "To travel hopefully is better than to arrive"--that is ancient wisdom. Start every day in a spirit of adventure and you're as successful as you can be.
If you could invite one classical figure to dinner, who would it be and why?
The Roman poet Horace, whose "Ode to Pyrrha" (What slender young man doused with cologne is courting you with roses in the garden shade? / Beautiful lady, for whom do you comb your fair hair?) I tried to translate as a kid in Maggie Forbes' Latin class at the University of Minnesota. Ovid was a greater poet, but Horace would be a better dinner guest. Not so oracular, more confidential, even gossipy.
Greeks or Romans?
The Greeks. Because they were funnier, they told fantastic stories (trips to the moon, slaves flying to heaven on the back of a giant dung beetle, women ending war with a sex strike), they loved games and sort of believed in democracy. The Romans were terrific engineers and bureaucrats, were good at water management and highway construction, but you've got to prefer the Greeks. Most Romans did, too.
Ok, who doesn't like Garrison Keillor, but...Ovid a better poet than Horace!? Really, now...Well, de gustibus and all that...
Tim O'Reilly, who was also interviewed, posted an unabridged version of the interview with him at his own website.
[Thanks to JMY on CLASSICS-L]