Mike Fontaine: Reintroducing Cicero's Lost Art of Consolation
October 29, 2022, 12pm EDT
In 45 BCE, the Roman statesman Cicero fell to pieces when his beloved daughter, Tullia, died from complications of childbirth. She was only 32. But from the depths of despair, Cicero found his way back. In an effort to cope with his loss, he wrote a consolation speech—not for others, as had always been done, but for himself. And it worked. Drawing on the full range of Greek philosophy and Roman history, Cicero convinced himself that death and loss are part of life, and that if others have survived them, we can, too. What’s more, he found new confidence that his daughter was happy, safe, and waiting for him in heaven.
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