Archive for April, 2007

Death of Julian- Funeral Oration …

Posted on April 30, 2007. Filed under: Books, Eloquence, Great Writing, Personalities |

What follows is from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire –

The surgeons, who examined Julian’s wound, discovered the symptoms of approaching death. He employed the awful moments with the firm temper of a hero and a sage; the philosophers who had accompanied him in this fatal expedition compared the tent of Julian with the prison of Socrates; and the spectators, whom duty, or friendship, or curiosity, had assembled round his couch, listened with respectful grief to the funeral oration of their dying emperor.

“Friends and fellow-soldiers, the seasonable period of my departure is now arrived, and I discharge, with the cheerfulness of a ready debtor, the demands of nature.
I have learned from philosophy how much the soul is more excellent than the body; and that the separation of the nobler substance should be the subject of joy, rather than of affliction’.

“I have learned from religion that an early death has often been the reward of piety;and I accept, as a favour of the gods, the mortal stroke that secures me from the danger of disgracing a character which has hitherto been supported by virtue and fortitude’.

“I die without remorse, as I have lived without guilt. I am pleased to reflect on the innocence of my private life; and I can affirm with confidence that the supreme authority, that emanation of the Divine Power, has been preserved in my hands pure and immaculate’.

“Detesting the corrupt and destructive maxims of despotism, I have considered the happiness of the people as the end of government. Submitting my actions to the laws of prudence, of justice, and of moderation, I have trusted the event to the care of Providence’.

“Peace was the object of my counsels, as long as peace was consistent with the public welfare; but when the imperious voice of my country summoned me to arms, I exposed my person to the dangers of war, with the clear foreknowledge that I was destined to fall by the sword.’I now offer my tribute of gratitude to the Eternal Being, who has not suffered me to perish by the cruelty of a tyrant, by the secret dagger of conspiracy, or by the slow tortures of lingering disease’.

“He has given me, in the midst of an honorable career, a splendid and glorious departure from this world; and I hold it equally absurd, equally base, to solicit, or to decline, the stroke of fate – Thus much I have attempted to say; but my strength fails me, and I feel the approach of death’.

“I shall cautiously refrain from any word that may tend to influence your suffrages in the election of an emperor. My choice might be imprudent or injudicious; and if it should not be ratified by the consent of the army, it might be fatal to the person whom I should recommend. I shall only, as a good citizen, express my hopes that the Romans may be blessed with the government of a virtuous sovereign.”

After this discourse, Julian entered into a metaphysical argument with the philosophers Priscus and Maximus on the nature of the soul. The efforts which he made, of mind as well as body, most probably hastened his death.

His wound began to bleed with fresh violence: his respiration was embarrassed by the swelling of the veins: he called for a draught of cold water, and, as soon as he had drunk it, expired without pain, about the hour of midnight.

Such was the end of that extraordinary man, in the thirty-second year of his age, after a reign of one year and about eight months from the death of Constantius.

In his last moments he displayed, perhaps with some ostentation, the love of virtue and of fame, which had been the ruling passions of his life.

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Posted on April 28, 2007. Filed under: Books, Personalities |

The generality of princes, if they were stripped of their purple and cast naked into the world, would immediately sink to the lowest rank of society, without a hope of emerging from their obscurity.
But the personal merit of Julian was, in some measure, independent of his fortune. Whatever had been his choice of life, by the force of intrepid courage, lively wit, and intense application, he would have obtained, or at least he would have deserved, the highest honours of his profession, and Julian might have raised himself to the rank of minister or general of the state in which he was born a private citizen.

If the jealous caprice of power had disappointed his expectations; if he had prudently declined the paths of greatness, the employment of the same talents in studious solitude would have placed beyond the reach of kings his present happiness and his immortal fame.

When we inspect with minute, or perhaps malevolent, attention the portrait of Julian, something seems wanting to the grace and perfection of the whole figure.

His genius was less powerful and sublime than that of Caesar, nor did he possess the consummate prudence of Augustus.
The virtues of Trajan appear more steady and natural, and the philosophy of Marcus is more simple and consistent.
Yet Julian sustained adversity with firmness, and prosperity with moderation.

After an interval of one hundred and twenty years the Romans beheld an emperor who made no distinction between his duties and his pleasures, who laboured to relieve the distress and to revive the spirit of his subjects, and who endeavoured always to connect authority with merit, and happiness with virtue.

Even faction, and religious faction, was constrained to acknowledge the superiority of his genius in peace as well as in war, and to confess, with a sigh, that the apostate Julian was a lover of his country, and that he deserved the empire of the world”.

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Here was a Caesar! … Whence comes such Another? …

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Eloquence, Great Writing |


Gaius Julius Caesar … “Obey the Law at all times – except when you want to grab Power!”

As a young man he was captured by Pirates whom he befriended and told them that by the ransom they were demanding, they were insulting him since the sum was paltry.  He promised them that he would return and hang each one of them. And he did just that!

Gaius Julius Caesar, popularized by the Shakespearean, “Et tu Brute?”, remains one of History’s  Super Men. He  conquered Gaul and extended the Roman world to the Atlantic Ocean. He invaded Britain and defeated his arch rival, Pompey.

Much of his life is known from his own Commentaries plus contemporary letters and speeches of his political rival Cicero, among others. 

He for ever remains among the greatest recorders and chronicler of his own campaigns and victories. His language seats you beside him as he analyses his opponents and their likely actions. All this and more with greater hostility  than support from his own Senate. 

Centuries later ‘Suleiman the Magnificent’ catalogued the surviving editions of the Commentaries, and had them translated them into the Turkish language

Here is an extract from his Commentaries, which, fall in the category of Great Military Writing and show his language as well as style as a leader of men. He writes in the third person.

“During the short part of summer which remained, Caesar resolved to proceed to Britain, because he discovered that in almost all the wars with the Gauls, succor had been furnished to the enemy from that country. Even if the time of year should be insufficient for carrying out the war, yet he thought it could be of great service to him if he only entered the island, saw the character of the people and got knowledge of their localities, harbors, landing places, all of which were for the most part unknown to the Gauls. He sends before him Caius Valusenius with a ship of war to acquire a knowledge of their particulars before he in person should make a descent  into the island”.

His Commentaries, chronicle his nine year war in Gaul  (present day France). One of the most notable parts of this work details the Battle of Alesia, where Caesar chased 80,000 Gauls, led by Vercingetorix, to Alesia, a fortified town on a hill. Caesar, realizing that Alesia’s defenses were too strong to overcome, decided to starve out the fort, ordering his legions to completely encircle the town, building walls, towers, and trenches.

Now, despite the best efforts of 60,000 men attempting to construct this wall, Caesar’s forces came under attack by Gallic cavalry attempting to relieve their brethren. They were prevented from breaking through the lines to bring aid to Vercingetorix’s forces, but escaped to call for reinforcements.

Caesar was in a bad position. His army was spread thin and would surely be outnumbered by any relief force the Gauls sent against him.

His solution? Build ANOTHER wall around the first one to protect against his Gallic army. 

So, Caesar and his troops are now in a large, dough-nut shaped fort besieging the town of Alesia, with a gigantic force of around 100,000 Gauls bearing down on him.

By now, Vercingetorix and his troops are beginning to starve, and the Gauls urgently sought to break the siege.

Amazingly, despite how thin his troops were – along with several weak points in the wall – Caesar’s legions held firm, in part due to his own generalship and his riding amongst his Legionaires to inspire them.

His army was forced to fight against Gauls attacking from within and outside his siege walls. And yet, they managed to stand firm.

Vercingetorix surrendered to Caesar, leading directly to the subjugation of the Gauls by the Romans.

The world acknowledges that Caesar will remain a legend as long as the world endures. Other Emperors and conquerors have ruled longer and won more famous victories and conquered more space but there is something about this most well rounded man that fascinates and endures.

Quintilian’s Institutes of Oratory, a vast guide to oratory written almost a century after Caesar’s death, is filled with echoes and anecdotes of his oratorical power.  

Quintilian reminds us that the conqueror and statesman, the Superman, could have been quite as supreme in the Courts if he had so willed. He writes, “As for Gaius Caesar, if he had had the leisure to devote himself to the Courts, he could have been the one orator who could have been considered a serious rival to Cicero. Such are his force, his penetration and his energy that we realize that he was as vigorous in his speech as he was in  his conduct of war. And yet all these qualities are enhanced by a marvelous elegance of language, of which he was an exceptionally zealous student.”

Here he is in the Senate House, much before he grabbed power and we see him as a bold yet delicate politician. He seems sensibility  personified as he speaks in his gentle and reasonable voice.

“Most of those who have spoken before me have in a pompous and affecting manner, lamented  the calamities of war and the many distresses of the conquered; virgins and youths violated, children torn from the embraces of their parents, matrons forced to bear the insults of victorious soldiers, temples and private houses plundered ; all places filled with flames and slaughter, finally nothing but arms, carcasses, blood and lamentations.

But for the sake of the immortal Gods, to what purpose were such affecting strains? ..  It is the duty of all men, conscript fathers, in their deliberations on subjects of difficult determination, to divest themselves of hatred and affection, of revenge and pity. The mind when clouded by such passions cannot easily discern the truth; nor has any man ever gratified his own headstrong inclination and at the same time answered any worthy purpose.

When we exercise our judgment only, it  has sufficient force, but when passions possess us, they bear sovereign sway and reason is of no avail.We should take care that while we gratify our resentment, we should not forfeit our reputation. Take care, conscript fathers, how your present decrees may affect posterity”.

Highly intelligent and well rounded, Caesar was always a man of action and it is for this that he is most remembered. His talents were varied and exceptional – ranging from his skill as leader to a seducer of beautiful women!

Caesar did not die in the Senate House as is made famous by Shakespeare. He was attacked as he came out of a bathroom in Pompey’s Garden and he fell near the latter’s statue! He was cremated a few days later in the lower area of the Capitol.

By Asterisk – who has read a lot on Caesar … including ‘Caesar: Life of a Colossus’ (Adrian Goldsworthy)

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Public Speaking – And How!!!

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Public Speaking |

First prepare the Speech and Yourself –
then follow these Rules.

1. You should make NO unintended movement – great or small.

2. In speaking, greater the feeling, less the body should express it.

3. You should study your audience minute by minute.

4. You should go with and not beyond his audience.

5. What you see clearly, in your own mind, will be photographed on the tone of your voice.

6. Any person, who possess accumulated magnetism and who sees in his own mind a clearly defined picture of the thought he is uttering, will in every case inevitably impress it upon his hearers.

7. To destroy a lapse, pass into realms of Peace and Intensity.

8. The true orator speaks from the subconscious faculty.

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Peter Drucker – God of Management …

Posted on April 24, 2007. Filed under: American Thinkers, Business, Personalities, Quotes |

Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005) is perhaps the best-known, most influential thinkers and writers on management theory and practice. His writings have predicted major developments of the late twentieth century. These include privatization, decentralization, importance of marketing and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learning. Here are some of his observations.

My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.  The most important thing in communication is hearing what is not said.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level. People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year and people who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.

Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed. Business? That’s easily defined. It’s other people’s money. The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.

The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity. Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.

Management and Efficiency is doing things right. Leadership and Effectiveness is doing the right things.

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; it is defined by results not attributes. Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done. Rank does not confer privilege or give power.

Management by objective works – if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t.  The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes. We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.

Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement. The computer is a moron. Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.

What’s absolutely unforgivable is the financial benefit top management people get for laying off people. There is no excuse for it. No justification. This is morally and socially unforgivable, and we will pay a heavy price for it.

An employer has no business with a man’s personality. Employment is a specific contract calling for a specific performance. Any attempt to go beyond that is usurpation. It is immoral as well as an illegal intrusion of privacy. It is abuse of power. An employee owes no ‘loyalty,’He owes no ‘love’ and no ‘attitudes’ — he owes performance and nothing else. You have to accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer.

Few top executives can even imagine the hatred, contempt and fury that has been created — not primarily among blue-collar workers who never had an exalted opinion of the ‘bosses’ — but among their middle management and professional people.

That people even in well paid jobs choose ever earlier retirement is a severe indictment of our organizations — not just business, but government service, the universities. These people don’t find their jobs interesting.

We suffer from over-choice: 67 varieties of toothpaste, 487 styles of shoes, 186 brands of cell phones with 137 telephone companies. We demand more variety than we could possibly need or want; and as a result, we get lost in options, opportunities, and choices. There are 87 varieties of lawyers, and 75 specialties inside medicine. The world of work can be a confusing landscape.

When you are the chief executive, you’re the prisoner of your organisation. The moment you’re in the office, everybody comes to you and wants something, and it is useless to lock the door. They’ll break in. So, you have to get outside the office. But still, that isn’t travelling. That’s being at home or having a secret office elsewhere. When you’re alone, in your secret office, ask the question, ‘What needs to be done?’

Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, “What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?’ They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly.

I tell all my clients that it is absolutely imperative that they spend a few weeks each year outside their own business – actively working in the marketplace, or in a university or lab in the case of technical people. The best way is for the chief executive officer to take the place of a salesman twice a year for two weeks.

I’ve seen a great many people who are exceedingly good at execution, but exceedingly poor at picking the important things.   Meetings are a symptom of bad organisation. The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said .

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

One cannot buy, rent or hire more time. The supply of time is totally inelastic. No matter how high the demand, the supply will not go up. There is no price for it. It is totally perishable and cannot be stored.. It is always in short supply. It has no substitute . Everything requires time. All work takes place in and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable and vital resource.

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RFK – a Tribute

Posted on April 24, 2007. Filed under: American Thinkers, Great Writing, Personalities |

(A letter written just after Robert Kennedy was assassinated).

RFK is dead and our life is diminished.
We are all going to die – some very soon; most , perhaps, not soon.

We adjust to death; it is a condition of nature. But accomodation is hard when death is unexpected and the victim is young; when we are personally affected by the loss and when we believe that the dead deserved much more than we gave’.

Thus, we will think of the Senator, as we think of the President, more often and differently from our thinking previous to Jun 5th 1968 and Nov 22nd 1963″.


RFK qouting WS at the 1964 Democratic Convention, in a tribute to his brother.

Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968). Younger brother of US President John F. Kennedy and United States Attorney General from 1961 to 1964 and US Senator from New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. President Kennedy’s most trusted advisors who worked closely with the president during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His contribution to the African-American Civil Rights Movement is sometimes considered his greatest legacy.

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Moods and Feelings – I

Posted on April 23, 2007. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Magnetism, Personalities |

The two faculties of life are mental and emotional.
Thinking, planning, reasoning is mental.
Feeling, hoping, wishing, loving, hating, existing in harmony – are all controlled by moods and feelings.

A powerful person is always sensitive, susceptible, impressionable and easily affected by moods and conditions.
To remain powerful you have to maintain mastery over the moods.

In this world, the art of living well and successfully, is the art of adjusting to the ever changing tide of circumstance.

Successful people seem cold in nature and lacking in sympathy for the misfortunes of others, while possessing an attractive personal power.

Observe that –

Facts bring no happiness of themselves, in what we feel must be found the secret of true living.

A person is what he thinks. Thinking makes the self. Self is the living, thinking, acting self. It is transitory.

Moods and feelings come and go. They make us what we are.

Every person is at all times, sleeping or waking, in one or more of the moods.

Man is the daily creation of his mind and life is the accumulation of his days.

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Moods and Feelings – II

Posted on April 23, 2007. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Magnetism |

You live in the feelings that possess you and in the moods that are the off springs of the thoughts and experiences that influence you.

Out of the ever present activities and thoughts, character is created and becomes permanent.

Strong inclinations bring strong feelings. To remain powerful, you have to maintain mastery over the moods.

Indeed all humanity is swayed by moods and feelings. Language of moods and feelings is universal. Moods and feelings are all there is of human life.

Moods and feelings manifest themselves in waves of influence. Intensity increases the power of these waves.

When a mood or feeling is intense in weak persons or uncontrolled, it is followed by a reaction in the opposite direction; excessive levity may result in maudlinism.

Self is slave or self is master, depending on whether moods and feelings are cultivated powers or running as habits.

A person, who controls all moods and feelings is in POISE. Moods and feelings become his slaves and he their master.

As all humanity is swayed in practically all matters by moods and feelings, it follows that mastery of these moods and feelings is equal to the mastery of the individuals themselves.

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Moods and Feelings – III

Posted on April 23, 2007. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personal Magnetism, Personalities |

Every great personage, in every era of the World’s history,
has been a consummate actor –
one who knows every phase of human nature
and one, who can step, at once, in to the mood of another.
This is the art of supreme control of other human beings.

Know all the moods. Memorize a quote for each.
Recognize the approach of each mood
and rise above it and make it fall at your feet.

Knowing the mood of another makes one keener.
Flatter the flatterer, threaten the threatener.

Slavery to a mood is the most exacting form of slavery.

The King Moods are FLATTERY and SELFISHNESS.

Most practical of the hard moods is DECEIT.

SYMPATHY, is the mood that connects, control in every form.

Personal Control should begin in simple affinities.

For the highest success, you have to eliminate the dark passions.

These emotions are usually free from the control of either Mind or Body.
They control the physical and are rarely subdued by the Mental.

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Meet — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe …

Posted on April 20, 2007. Filed under: Guide Posts, Personalities, Quotes, The Germans |

George Eliot called Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. “Germany’s greatest man of letters and the last true polymath (one who knows many arts and sciences) to walk the earth.”

Goethe’s works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism, and science. Goethe’s magnum opus, lauded as one of the peaks of world literature, is the dramatic poem Faust.

It was a meeting of two titans when Napoleon summoned Goethe and deviously asked him to chronicle his life. Equally circumspectly, Goethe demurred and emerged the victor in the duel of personalities.

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.

Man is made by his belief; as he believes, so he is.

To the person with a firm purpose all men and things are servants.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.

Nature knows no pause in progress and development and attaches her curse on all inaction.

Who is the most sensible person? The one who finds what is to his advantage in all that happens to him.

In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm, in the real world all rests on perseverance.

Correction does much, encouragement does more.


He who does not think much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines.


A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait..


People place themselves on a level with the ones they praise.


One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.


A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself; it is a child of solitude.


All intelligent thoughts have already been thought; what is necessary is only to try to think them again.

Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it. And others do just the same with their time.

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind.

All things are only transitory.

Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest. If I love you, what does that matter to you!

Girls we love for what they are; young men for what they promise to be.

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