What can we learn from the Ancients:
Publius Cornelius Tacitus
The Roman historian Tacitus continues to fascinate. Writing at a time considered by Gibbon to be the most happy and prosperous, pessimism nevertheless pervades the consular historian’s works. He has been an understanding companion for all who observe the folly and sundry hypocrisies of men. The totalitarian experience of the 20th century reaffirmed Tacitus’ analysis of the corrupting influence of power and the evil of which men are capable. It repays to re-read again and again this Roman historian who “can more properly serve a sickly troubled nation like our own is at present: you could often believe that we were the subject of his narrating and berating.” (Montaigne, Essais III.8).
Hosted by the Hayek Institut, The European Conservative, and the Vienna Symposium, this Tacitus seminar will feature a series of lectures and presentations, with discussions on each. These lectures shall touch on themes ranging from Tacitus’ life and works; Tiberius and his reign; civilization vs. barbarism; the nature of power; and Roman philosophy under the principate. In these discussions we hope we can derive wisdom from “an historian who knew the worst, discovered few reasons for ease or hope or confidence, and none the less believed in human dignity and freedom of speech.” (Syme, Tacitus I, vi).
Matthew Edwards is an independent analyst and consultant, based in Vienna, who focuses on security affairs and political risk. Prior to the private sector, he previously worked in the UK Civil Service. He has authored numerous articles, reports, and papers for government, business, and public audiences, including on themes such as resource politics, counter terrorism, and state and policy development, and has presented at conferences, workshops, and seminars. In addition to his Master of Arts (with distinction) in War Studies from King’s College, London, he has a B.A.(Hons.) in History from the University of York and is currently undertaking an MLitt in Viking Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Renáta Nelson is a political scientist and social cohesion expert who has been working in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue since 2013. Nelson’s work includes research on dialogue as a tool for conflict prevention and reconciliation, international projects on engaging religious actors in sustainable development and towards preventing incitement to violence.
Dr. Calum T. M. Nicholson holds degrees from Cambridge and Oxford. He is a Fellow at the Danube Institute (BLA), in Budapest. He is currently finishing a book on the impact of social media.
Titus Techera is a student of political science specializing in Xenophon (MA, BA University of Bucharest & Universite Libre de Bruxelles) & liberal arts (Bard College Berlin), he has been a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute in California. He has written on subjects in political philosophy for Modern Age, American Mind, & other journals. He is also the film critic of Law & Liberty, & he is Executive Director of the American Cinema Foundation in Hollywood, in which capacity he lectures in American colleges on a Tocquevillian understanding of democratic poetry & an Aristotelian understanding of aristocratic poetry.
Wolfgang Wein has a doctor’s degree in both philosophy and medicine. He is author of several scientific publications and books. His last book, Visual Turn, 2nd ed., published in 2019, takes a fresh look at Neo-Kantianism and up-to-date science. Wein worked in the pharma industry in the UK, Japan, and Germany, and was Executive Vice President and member of the board of the Pharma-Division of MERCK. In 2019 he received the Austrian Honorary Cross 1st Class for Arts and Science from the Austrian President.
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