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Cumque plurimas et maximas commoditates amicitia contineat, tum illa nimirum præstat omnibus, quod bonam spem prælucet in posterum, nec debilitari animos aut cadere patitur. Verum etiam amicum qui intuctur, tamquam exemplar aliquod intuetur sui. Quocirca et absentes adsunt et egentes abundant et imbecilli valent et, quod difficilius dictu est, mortui vivunt; tantus eos honos memoria desiderium prosequitur amicorum, ex quo illorum beata mors videtur, horum vita laudabilis.
Even while understanding that friendship includes a great number of important advantages, it must be said that it excels all other things in this respect: that it projects a bright ray of hope into the future, and upholds the spirit which otherwise might falter or grow faint. He who looks upon a true friend, looks, as it were, upon a better image of himself. For this is what we mean by friends: even when they are absent, yet they are with us; even when they lack some things, still they have an abundance of others; even when they are weak, in truth they are strong; and hardest of all to say, but also most deeply felt: even when they are dead, in truth they are alive with us, for so great is the esteem of a true friend, the tender recollection and the deep longing that still abide with them.
–Marcus Tullius Cicero, De amicitia, lib. vii (ca. 45 BCE) in the Loeb edition of the works of Cicero, vol. 20, p. 132 (S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Hours per day that a death-row inmate in China wears hand and ankle restraints:
A multidisciplinary team detected cardiac arrhythmia in the works of Beethoven.
There was a run on cases of 5.56mm M855 green-tip rifle bullets, after the White House moved to ban their manufacture and sale because they can pierce police armor.
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”